One concert, 29 permissions

29 December,2010 07:09 AM IST |   |  Rinkita Gurav and Urvashi Seth

That's just one of the many hurdles that organisers have to cross in preparation for a cultural show in the city

That*s just one of the many hurdles that organisers have to cross in preparation for a cultural show in the city

In the second of a three-part series, MiD DAY brings you the problems that plague cultural shows in the city, and the reasons behind the fading of cultural festivals from the city.

Right from noise pollution to space crunch, high entertainment tax to a plethora of permissions, resident complaints to security concerns, a host of factors have proved to be hurdles in organising a cultural extravaganza. And soon these concerts and shows will move out of the city in search of greener pastures.

The concerts and evergreen tamashas at Rang Bhavan ended due to the noise restriction in 2003. The celebrated Kala Ghoda Festival got canned in October 2010, owing to a lack of permit over noise restriction.
While the Banganga and Elephanta festivals are on hold since the past two years due to restoration and security measures at the venues respectively, Mumbai Police Band*s activities have gone down as well, leaving practically nothing for the tourist to attend as part of the city*s cultural festivals.

Here is what the organisers had to share with us.

Organisers speak

Rohinton Poonawala, National Head of E18, said, "The scenario is changing drastically now with the revenue one earns from these concerts or outdoor shows and the money we have to pay for all the permissions to organise a show.

We have to depend on our marketing strategies to attract sponsors and also pay the entertainment tax, which is higher in Mumbai as compared to other cities."

Poonawala was also co-organising the Independence Day Rock Concert at Rang Bhavan along with Farhad Wadia for almost 18 years before the courts silenced it in 2003.

Poonawala said, "Currently, the ID Rock Concert takes place at Andheri, but it was synonymous to Rang Bhavan as it came alive there.

The crowd the latter attracted was also larger as the concert was held during Malhar, a college fest. The crowd from the college would attend the concert. It*s not the same numbers that turn up at Andheri."

He further added that government considered rock music as noise and non-cultural, but has nothing to say about the music played during Holi and Ganpati festivals.

"In the bargain, the government has lost on a place to showcase the ethnic lavanis and tamashas which are Maharashtrian cultural activities," added Poonawala.

Fading away

Another organiser, Pallavi Sahney of Kala Ghoda Festival, said, "It is a pity that the city has so little to offer to the public on a free basis and even that is not allowed by the government. It will be a loss for the city as the Kala Ghoda festival is marked on the international calendar as well."

She further added that the government should have a rational approach. "If the festival is shifted elsewhere, the significance of the name and its identity would be lost. And should the trend continue, one after the other, all festivals will die out," said Sahney.

Also recently, the Maharashtra State government introduced a new entertainment tax, which has made many musicians jobless in the last few months.

MiD DAY had reported that owing to the high entertainment tax most five-star hotels in the city have cast out live musicians and pianists, and many hotels and pubs were in a fix over whether to hire live performers for New Year gigs at all (*No high notes this New Year*, November 23).

Joe Alwaris, a Jazz musician, agreed that the cultural events in the city are quickly vanishing. "All the popular venues like Rang Bhavan have disappeared from a city once famous for its culture. These places were an asset for Mumbaikars. Unfortunately, they are handled by people who have no knowledge of or liking for the culture," said Alwaris.

He feels the recent entertainment tax issued by the government has further added to their woes. As a matter of fact entertainment tax on live concerts too is comparatively higher to other metropolitan cities.

Suresh Wadkar, playback singer, said, "Nowadays, people do not want to attend events where they need to pay for entry passes.

Though there is an increase in small cultural festivals but the turnout at these events has reduced. When people can enjoy Sheila ki Jawani, they can also hear bhajans, but unfortunately that culture is fast fading away."

Band and bandobast

Band Marshall S V Singh of the Mumbai Police Band said, "The work load has increased tremendously over a period of time.

Not only do we play in the band but also have office work." The police band now is focussing on the on going competitions in the country, "We have to participate in band competitions, owing to which we cannot conduct public performances as we did before."

A police official, on condition of anonymity, said, "Now, we have to pay maintenance charges for the venue where we play, which is difficult for us."

MTDC Speaks
Avinash Dhakne, joint managing director, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, feels, "Events had to be stopped for a while due to terror attacks in the city. People still visit the cultural events and they will continue to do so."

Entertainment Tax
25% on tickets or sponsorships (Maharashtra)
10% on tickets and 10% on sponsorships (Karnataka)
15% on tickets and 15% on sponsorships (Delhi)

Bombay Entertainment Duty, 2010

Rs 2 Lakh

Monthly charges for pubs in 5-star hotels

Rs 50,000

Charges for permit rooms, beer bars with orchestra

Rs 1 Lakh

Monthly charges for pubs other than those in 5-star hotels

Required Licenses & Permissions

Permissions from commissioner of police -theatre branchu00a0
Fire brigade
> Pest Control dept.
> P W D - for Generator
> Garbage
> Public Health deptu00a0
> Local police station
u00a0u00a0 *Loudspeaker N O C
u00a0u00a0 *Manpower & Bandobast
> Asst. Commissioner
> Deputy Commissioner
> Commissioner of Police
u00a0u00a0 *Premises license
* Public performance license
* Loudspeaker N O C
> Rangshala rangbhoomi mandal - Mantralaya N O C licenseu00a0
> Traffic N O C
> Traffic manpower/bandobast
Excise licenses (if alcohol is being served)
Fire Brigade -N O C
> Arrangement of fire-engines and fire extinguishers
> Fire marshal
Emergency Services
> Private Security with metal detectors
> Ambulances with Doctor and medical suppliesu00a0
For Foreign Artist

> Indian Business Visa from country of Domicile
> NOC from Home Ministryu00a0
Collector*s Office

> NOC for Non private Open Air Venues / government venues
> NOC post payment of Entertainment Tax
> NOC post payment for non ticketed sponsored show
> NOC post payment for non ticketed non sponsored show

cultural show entertainment tax Kala Ghoda Rang Bhavan
Related Stories