BANGALORE: The first successful flash mob happened at Manhattan, U S, in June 2003. Since then, it has caught the public imagination all over the world. It took a while to come to India but one flash mob went viral online last year — The flash mob at Chathrapathi Shivaji Terminus (CST) in Mumbai. But, not without criticism with some detractors feeling that it was too rehearsed.
Bangalore too has witnessed its fare share of flash mobs since last year. Unfortunately, it has been limited to garner publicity either for a product/brand or for a social cause.
Madhuri Upadhya, who runs Nritarutya dance school, opines, “Flash mob is only evolving in India. It is not always necessary to have a social cause attached to a flash mob, though personally I think it is good to have one.” Madhuri and her sister Mayuri had orchestrated a flash mob for a private radio channel simultaneously at four malls here in December 2011. Their idea was to celebrate music and dance.
Another flash mob was presented as a teaser for Slut Walk last year. Co-founder of I’m still Thinking Events that organised the event Shonali Chenzira said, “What we did was a freeze mob. The idea was not to drive home a message but to give the crowd a glimpse into the cause behind slut walk.” She added that a flash mob is a great idea for publicity but it ends there as the concept cannot be used as a weapon to drive in any particular message. Several dancers did protest against the use of the word flash mob as it looked more like a stage performance.
A recent flash mob that took the audience by surprise was by Yuvaraj Singh’s fans for their beloved cricket star. “I don’t understand the motive behind this act. What moral support is a five-minute dance going to give to him,” questioned an audience member. On earlier occasions too, the flash mob had failed to connect with the audience. Especially, when the flash mob was attempting to spread a message.
Recently, at another flash, audience walked away after failing to understand the connection between the presentation and meditation (the product they were trying to sell). “A flash mob is largely associated with dance in India. Due to lack of coordination and proper choreography, what is supposed to enthral onlookers, mostly turns into a disorganised group dance,” says Pruthvi Raj, who runs a dance school in the city. He said that people here do not understand this medium yet.
Dancers and performers say that the Flash Mob at CST has given event managers an idea to combine dance and cause, and call it Flash Mob. Only with time will the form evolve.