QUEEN'S ROAD: North meets South this Ganesha season with professional dholak players (Dhol Tashas) from many cities lending their beats to the festivities in Bengaluru.
Twenty-three-year-old Deepak, who has come down from Delhi with his 10-member team, said this is the second time they have been invited by various city associations to perform during Ganesha processions. “We will be here for a month and have taken up a small room near J C Road. Idol dealers have given us space in front of their pandals to set up camp and take bookings. As of now, we have got around five to six bookings. We expect more to come,” he said.
Deepak and his team handle the association members who come to buy Ganesha idols. They make Rs 200 to Rs 300 for playing dhol as the members carry the idol they have purchased to their respective areas. “We mostly perform during immersion and procession, or can play according to the association’s convenience. We charge around Rs 30,000 for a four-hour performance by all 10 of us. We charge by the hour on the basis of the number of performers. The association members usually pick up and drop us,” he said.
Sri Sai Ram Trust of Kammagondanahalli, Jalahalli West, has hired Vanambadi group from Tamil Nadu to perform for Rs 35,000 for 5-6 hours. The troupe has 20 to 30 members. Trust member Harish said, “The troupe was booked by many people two months ago. They are so much in demand that it was difficult to get them. We were a little late but managed to get them on board. They can perform for us only in the morning.”
Harish said the dhol players will add to the crowd spirit and encourage people to dance. “The local dholak bands take breaks of 5-10 minutes after each song. But a pro group will play for 30 or 45 minutes on end. We might get tired of dancing but they will not stop!” he said.
Dholak players who come down from North India are not much in demand in their hometowns this time of year. “We also perform at weddings, but don’t get a lot of bookings in September. We make a living by performing at various events in other cities,” Deepak said.