The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dandiya fervour dying out

Dandiyas in 2004: Not less than 25

Dandiyas in 2007: Not more than seven

It’s survival of the fittest for dandiya organisers. The number of nine-day song-and-dance shows in town has dwindled considerably over the past three years. The ones to fizzle out are the small organisers, who rode on the wave of dandiya popularity three years back.

“A lot of people started organising dandiyas in the past few years but many opted out this year because of the fast-losing popularity of the show. The ones that are going ahead are those who have been in the business for many years,” says DJ Ravi, who is organising Dandiya Dhamaal and Dandyotsav at Swabhumi and Nicco Park from October 16 to 21.

According to the organisers, a primary reason for the downslide in the number of dandiyas is the money that has to be shelled out to Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) and Indian Performing Rights Society of India (IPRS) for organising the shows. Various music labels have come together to form these two organisations, which issue licences to those who play music in public events and collect royalties on behalf of the members.

“Considering the amount of money that has to be paid to PPL and IPRS, which runs into lakhs,we can organise nothing more than a small dandiya,” says an organiser.

“The success of dandiya depends on the family crowd. As no alcohol is sold at the venue, sponsorship and entry fees are the main revenue-generating options,” says DJ Akash, who will be at the turntable at Netaji Indoor Stadium this Navratri.

“The problem at smaller dandiyas is that they are not very strict with security, so people can often sneak in without valid entry permits. Moreover, they do not guarantee good music and celebrities,” he added.

“It makes no sense to go for the smaller dandiyas. The music is bad and the show is over even before you start enjoying yourself, as they do not have permission to carry on throughout the night. Besides, there is also a lack of security,” says Payal Mehta, a dandiya regular.

Bigger players, on the other hand, are leaving nothing to chance to make their events successful. From tinsel town celebrities to talent hunt participants, they are trying every trick to lure in the crowd.

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