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Music: A rock band for kids

Chikaraks, India’s first Rock band for kids is set for their debut gig in the city, this weekend

A four-member band called Chikaraks, that includes Chin2 Bhosle, Manav Dhanda, Pratichee Mohapatra and Fiona D’Souza, entertains kids with nursery rhymes and original music styled in a Rock concert format. When we ask Bhosle, who was also a part of popular pop group, A Band Of Boys, what a Rock concert for kids would entail, he flips the question right back at us, "What’s a rock concert for adults? People enjoy music, scream, shout and sing along. It’s the same for kids minus the alcohol and the head banging."

The band members with kids at a private gathering
The band members with kids at a private gathering

Baby steps
Bhosle tells us that the idea for the band emerged when his daughter turned three (she is nine now) and he was looking for content for kids, online. He was appalled by the Indian rhymes that were floating around. "If I didn’t have kids, I would have laughed at them and had a drink, but because I was a parent, I was disappointed at the kind of music that was being produced for kids," he shares.

Fiona D’Souza, Chint2 Bhosle, Manav Dhanda and (seated) Pratichee Mohapatra make up the Chikaraks
Fiona D’Souza, Chint2 Bhosle, Manav Dhanda and (seated) Pratichee Mohapatra make up the Chikaraks

Initially, Bhosle created rhymes for kids with his daughter, using the web. The idea of the band emerged when he connected with former colleague Dhanda, who was setting up a television channel for kids. "Manav is a parent too. We wanted to create quality content for children, which is a highly neglected sector in India. The idea was to put together a band with people who genuinely love kids and enjoy being around them," Bhosle tells us, adding that D’Souza is a grandmother, who had earlier worked with him for different plays, while Mohapatra, who was popular as a part of the all-girl pop band, Viva, doesn’t have kids but is very popular among them. "Little girls are enchanted by her warmth and her well turned out, diva-ish appearance," he says.

Why Chikaraks?
When we tell him that the band’s name is unusual and ask what it means, he laughs, "Chikaraks means whatever you want it to mean. It’s a noun, an adjective or a verb and most importantly, it’s that happy space you can go to whenever you want. For example, when you’re running out of luck, try doing the Chikarak. We wanted the name to be language and region agnostic. The Chikaraks could be Punjabi, Tamil, Bengali, Telugu, Hindi, Chinese, Spanish or French. The name lends itself across languages and yet cannot be claimed by any culture or people. We belong to little kids all over the world, and
from different backgrounds," he explains.

Simply for the kids
The band uses nursery rhymes that kids are familiar with, as well as original compositions to give out messages ranging from valuing the service of the policeman on the road, to putting your hand on your mouth when you sneeze.

Chikaraks has performed at many private gatherings, schools and events like the Bandra Fest. "Some songs have a message while the others are just mad, dance numbers for the kids to enjoy," he says. The hour-long music concert will also include games and DIY activities for kids. "The biggest challenge is to keep it simple," admits Bhosle. "As adults, we don’t keep things simple anymore. We try so hard to make it cooler and hipper, but sometimes, kids enjoy even gibberish," he adds, explaining that children like repetition and enjoy knowing the words and what’s coming next after they listen to the same rhyme or watch the same cartoon again and again, unlike adults.

"In the West, the concept of bands for kids is very popular. Front row tickets will cost you as much as a Justin Bieber gig. Here, we are trying to create a market that doesn’t exist. Apart from pre-schoolers, we hope to engage parents too, because they are the ones who have to take a call on the quality of entertainment that their kids receive," reiterates Bhosle.

On: February 6 and 7, 3 pm
At: Canvas Laugh Club, Palladium Mall, High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel.
Cost: Rs 750

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