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Rommel Rodrigues aims to revive 'Lavani' via his film 'Gurukul'

Aiming to revive Maharashtra's folk heritage 'Lavani' which is losing its fervour while being projected as a sleazy dance, director Rommel Rodrigues has tried to promote the traditional song and dance style in his upcoming film "Gurukul".

Rommel Rodrigues
Rommel Rodrigues. Pic/Bipin Kokate

"In my opinion, Lavani has largely been ignored by its very own state while other states have promoted their folk dances like 'Bhangra' of Punjab, 'Kathakali' and 'Mohiniyattam' of Kerala, 'Kuchipudi' of Andhra Pradesh, Bharat Natyam of Tamil Nadu, Manipuri or Odissi of the North East India or be it any other traditional folk dance art forms," Rodrigues told PTI.

The film, presented by Anil Kabra of India E-Commerce and produced by Nuts N Bolts Production, revolves around six ex-students of a college Gurukul. It has a scene where Lavani is being performed during its cultural day, with prominent politicians in the audience.

The highlight of the scene is its backdrop, where some of the hostel inmates of Gurukul sneak out in the night to watch Lavani in the town presuming it to be some sort of item dance. However, they are caught by police in a raid and bought back. But rather than punishing them, the college principal organises a Lavani dance as a part of the cultural day programme of the institution.

"I am born and bought up in Mumbai, and I have seen Lavani being likened to cabaret or other sleazy forms of dance. My film highlights that there is no ignominy in performing a dance like Lavani in an educational institute premises before gen-next. How will students become aware of our culture and ancient dance forms?" Rodrigues asked.

"The (film) character urges politicians, teachers and youth to restore the pride and prestige of Lavani dancers and this dance form," he said.

The Lavani 'Mi Natarangi' in "Gurukul" has been sung by legendary singer Asha Bhosle and the lyrics penned by lyricist Prashant Ingole, who has written songs for "Mary Kom", "Race 2" and Sanjay Leela Bhansali's forthcoming film "Bajirao Mastani".

Rodrigues, who is also an award-winning author, was earlier assigned by director Ram Gopal Varma to write the script of his film based on the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

"Gurukul", which deals with politicisation of education, releases on August 7.

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