Friday, September 18, 2009 features Dhonuk.

“An Indian and the Arts”
“With the most primitive means the artist creates something which the most ingenious and efficient technology will never be able to create” says Kasimir Malevich and our Young Entreprenur seems to fully comprehend the implication of the words.

Our young patron of the arts has taken it upon himself to provide a new haven to the Indian genre. The rich history, variation and tradition behind Indian music, Art and Design are all set to receive an infusion of fresh ideas from Shamit Bagchi, who is the founder of DHONUK (INDIAN ART ECOSYSTEM).

The Young Entrepreneur outlined his vision for the arts saying “A social network based online Indian Art/Music /Design Ecosystem with a 3 point model whose constituents include, Source of arts, music as Individuals , Institution/Galleries, Content generation from our end, Consumers - Buyers – bring in revenue and Participants in the community.”

His venture is one of a kind and soon expanding into other areas. He speaks of his offerings saying “A plethora of art specific focus on India Art, music and design related aspects, for both knowledge function and the showcasing and access to art forms, folk, semi-classical music by young and budding talents. We help connecting the buying, access aspects for art enthusiasts with the content from artists.”

“It is a unique amalgamation of Indian Art formats, artists, designers and musicians, to transact online as well as share knowledge and showcase their talent online, as such a social network dedicated for these purposes does not exist.”

“Traditional Indian artists are known for their colorful, intricate and vivid art formats such as the varied miniature formats including Terracotta, Rajasthani, Pahari, Tanjore, Patachitra, Kalighat, and several other forms. The lack of awareness in the popular media and the social milieu of these dwindling art forms have brought us to a juncture where extinction of these formats due to unpopularity is very much in the realm of possibility. The objective of this project is to popularize some of these art formats as well as help create an ecosystem for the like minded artists to explore.”

His plans for the next step include roping in participants in his vision. He says “Yes, to include artisans, artists and galleries as the sources and feeding the data into content creation.”

“Another area to look at would be the proliferation aspects of certain art formats specifically Manga/Anime styles (Japanese origin), which are finding a great level of popularity worldwide and this ensures their growth, proliferation and subsequent experimentation with techniques and the art’s evolution. Such a movement, exposure for the Indian techniques to the public eye through caterings or offerings has not been happening. The need is to work with animation houses and conglomerates such as Reliance group’s BIG Animation or Amar Chitra Katha etc to actually tap this vast unexplored field of Indian Art formats that can see a win-win scenario – once the community gains sufficient strength in terms of numbers, it can connected to these established players may see value in this social network.”

His need to pursue and develop an online forum for Indian Arts has been because of “The Passion for Indian Art forms and making them popular through animation, graphic novels, games etc.”

“Getting the team to agree on the vision and start the market sizing” has been a pretty strenuous task for Shamit but he has put together a team that has a lot of promise.

He introduces his team with obvious pride reveling in “The gathering of a very competent team of IIM Bangalore students and graphical designer with vast prior experience and knowledge, socio-, technology entrepreneurial experience.”

The team behind DHONUK is:-
  • Vikram Rai from BITS Pilani who runs a social consulting firm Sattva and a theatre group VODO.
  • Anshuman Majumdar ( BFA - Advertising Art -Chitrakala Parishath ) is a digital artist & a painter and runs a Graphic design firm - SCOSSA.
  • Shantanu Gudihal - currently a student of IIMB runs a knowledge mangement software startup company Meshlabs with other senior members.
  • Parashar Shah currently a student of IIMB is working with Alcatel Lucent and a winner of the Intel Ultimate Geek Contest
  • Naufal Kukkady - currently a student of IIMB is an allrounder - the most active participant in organizing events @ IIMB and works with Ittiam Technologies.
  • Karthik Naig - currently a student of IIMB and editor of in-house magazine Xpressions at Honeywell and himself a very creative individual, has joined us and is planning to be part of the media initiative and marketing.
  • Amit Bhalotia - currently a student of IIMB and also an IITian who had started up in the US earlier and with vast prior experience, part of a couple of startups - Students committee secretary and Active member of the IIM Bangalore events and students committees.
  • Somnath Sinha Mahapatra - currently a student of IIMB and an alumnus of BHU & most active leader of students association and cultural committee also.
DHONUK is at present looking for a boost to get to a flying start. Shamit says “We are planning for self, friends, family and maybe an incubation opportunity from NSRCEL or pitching it with a VC. We have the support of the local artist community and the IIM Bangalore faculty support.”

All Entrepreneurs are driven to realize their dreams and Shamit is no different he acknowledge his driving factors as “The passion and drive to see the vision of an Indian Art ecosystem which is on par with European or western styles as well as animation using the Indian Art forms which are so vibrant.”

Shamit recounts the knowledge that has stood him in good stead on his entrepreneurial journey and advises “Believe in what you want to do, and with equal parts Passion, Imagination and the Verve, pitch the idea in the right way to the right people…this will ultimately lead to total success. Clarification of ideas and evolution of ideas is natural.”

In parallel a project is planned to be running under Professor Balasubramaniam Shekar (Profile: who teaches a very unique eclectic course called Creativity in Arts and Sciences at Indian Institute of Management Bangalore. This course indirectly gave life to and inspired the implementation of an earlier conceived idea as a framework working toward Cultural Entrepreneurship.

Dhonuk has tied up with AIM (Artists Introspective Movement) and has become the online partner for the ongoing Bengaluru International Arts Festival 2009.

YourStory wishes the young and upcoming entrepreneur Shamit Bagchi success and luck in spearheading the “Avant Garde” of Indian Art

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Titled: 'Despair' - Sketched and edited in P'Shop.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Dharma of being Good.

Learnings from the lecture by Gurcharan Das.

Gurcharan Das is a seasoned speaker and has his own mesmerizing way of speaking. It was midway during his spell (spiel?)  - no, actually a lecture at the IIM Bangalore auditorium on his latest book “The Difficulty of being Good” he did just that – left me and many more folks spell-bound! In his own words he had studied the Mahabharata for a period of more than six years to draw lessons from it with an eye on capitalism. He speaks of the many conditions of being human for example that of envy, revenge, the want for status that can muddle up worldly affairs.  
To start off, speaking on envy he dwelled upon Duryodhana’s envy of the fact that he could not accept someone else’s coronation – this ultimately leads to the war of Kurukshetra . Sometimes we have this tendency to writhe in envy at others’success although he/she may rightfully have achieved it and that can be the root cause for a lot of evil in society. The way he explained it was quite intriguing even saying that envy is the sin of socialism (just as greed is the sin of capitalism). The envy and the resulting resentment can blind us and make us reach monstrous proportions. In the 1930s the Jews were the most prosperous with control of over 70% of the economy in Germany and that is why Hitler was able to whip up envy among the Germans and this led to the aftermath of the extermination of Jews.
Then he went on to the need for status and cited Karna, when he is humiliated as the Sutputra - the illegitimate child, and not given the Kshatriya (warrior) title all througout. The humiliation is even more for Karna when Draupadi taunts him that way. At Draupadi’s swayamvar – choosing the husband ceremony, he is able to lift the bow and succeed in every ritual and yet Draupadi refuses to marry him calling him a Sutputra. Throughout the rest of the epic the undercurrent of sexual desire for Draupadi eats into Karna and it is apparently he who had asked Dushashana to initiate the stripping of Draupadi. The plight of dalits and OBCs was a very relevant point brought in here. This need to rise from being nobody to being a somebody – ie social status is some thing we all crave. Every person has this need for social status and as he spoke on this by this point Gurcharan Das had captivated the crowd as the whole auditorium sat in rapt silence.
On revenge he talked of the Ashwathama (Drona’s son) burning down an army of sleeping soldiers, Das even cited his open letter to Narendra Modi stating sometimes revenge’s counter is forgiveness – he suggested to Modi that he should appeal to the Muslims to forgive him and automatically the Muslims will ask for forgiveness for Godhra, but this never happened. He talks of forgiveness to replace revenge although I dont fully agree here, as justice is not to be denied that’s why you have the ‘outsourced’ revenge (law and judiciary).
Although he terms Mahabharata as morally ambiguous he makes an important statement saying that it gives the individual reading it, in his view, some leeway and autonomy of thought and decisions in a morally challenging situation unlike Islamic or Catholic-Judaic  texts which sermonize and set the commandments and edicts. That way Ramayana is more of the perfect and righteous text to be followed in his view and gives a more positive feel yet is very unrealistic!
He states that reading Mahabharata has made him morally aware. In one description he is talking of compassion, when Yudishthira goes to heaven a dog follows him – however Lord Indra does not allow the dog to enter heaven, reacting to this Yudhisthira says a person who has come for refuge should never be refused and he actually himself does not enter heaven to be with the dog – perhaps an extreme form of compassion yet a parable which drives home the point.
In the end he talked of the unevenness of resources, wealth etc or disparity as the major issue in the world and to reduce this we need some form of restraint and not go into excesses in the throes of capitalism.

Am sure this book will be a good read.

Friday, September 11, 2009


The second day turned out to be better and much more enjoyable than the first at the Bengaluru International Arts Festival 09. It started with the recital by Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt (Grammy Award winner) and Suma Sudhindra on the Veena along with the members of the troupe Laya Taranga. Vishwa Mohan Bhat reached epic proportions with his Mohan Veena (an improvisation of the guitar with many additional strings) on one piece of music. Sheer joy and at such times the mind explodes and goes numb. The ending was in typical Laya Taranga style with jugalbandi - the relay among the percussionists (Mridangam, Kanjeera, Ghatam, Tabla and drums) finally merging into an amalgamated interplay by all the percussionists and the Veenas.
Next was Padma Vibhushan Sonal Mansingh the master dansuese and one of the foremeost proponents of Odissi dance. She did the Krishna Leela - 8 rasas which she portrayed with aplomb and amazing vigour even at this age. The different rasas included Ananda, Bhaya, Ashcharya, Haasya, etc the Haasya act in which she portrayed Krishna taking away the Gopi's clothes when they go to bathe in the Yamuna (Gopi Vastra Harana) was extremely expressive and hilariously portrayed. She made a very pertinent remark where she said she had rejected the notion that the classical styles are on the high pedestal and the folk arts are of a lower stature. Art, music etc in her view has no such hierarchy. She included Hindi bollywood songs into each of the eight performances, interspersed with her insightful commentry in impeccable English.
The final recital was a combination of Bharatanatyam, Kathak and Tap Dance. The first number was a Bharatanatyam recital by Anuradha Vikranth - near divine performance and amazing grace of the dansuese enthralled (in the true sense of the word) the audience! She essentially portrayed the penance of Raavana for Mahadeva Atmalinga while playing the Rudra Veena and the conquest of the river Ganga into Mahadeva's locks (Jataa). It was followed by a kathak + tap dance and a lyrical flamenco + kathak performance back to back by 2 other artists (one male and one female). The final piece was a fusion of Tap dance, Kathak and Bharatanatyam when all three dancers performed in synchrony. It was a veritable blast of the arts for the true art lovers and a 'not to be missed' opportunity like never before. Kudos to the organizers and the artistes themselves for having given such brilliant performances.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

THE DHONUK DIARIES: Bengaluru International Arts Festival '09 - DAY 1

Attended the first day of the Bengaluru International Arts Festival'09 yesterday at The Sheesh Mahal, Palace Grounds. The violin recital seemed insipid at first perhaps because I had just gone into the BIAF zone after office and its tensions. And then the violin jugalbandi entered a high frequency stage with L Subramaniam and his son - it reached a crescendo of sorts with short bursts and mesmerizing strains. A befitting ending worth all the cheer.

This was followed by the energetic and full throated Raghu Dixit of the Raghu Dixit Project fame. He started with a Kannada folk song and then went on to the 'Hey Bhagwaan' number. Apparently he got frustrated that the folks were all seated and not standing, cheering and dancing - he threatened to not continue in his jovial-furious manner and guess what the people just stood up and that's when the 'Mysore Se Aayi' track was belted out by the members of the Raghu Dixit Project. The violinist, two guitarists and the drummer... Amazing flow of energy and the high pitch at which Raghu sings just enthralled the whole audience as they jeered and cheered to no end. Then he played a lilting Kannada number and ended it with a track from a not yet released Kannada film. Fans were disappointed that he didnt sing more. The most charged up phase of the day!

The next item was absolutely breathtaking in my view as I haven't seen anything like it before - a Kathak dance recital with diverse improvisations. Thai dance formats + background music, chanting etc fused into a performance led by Nirupama and Rajendra duo. 4-5 separate dances with a group of 20 young artistes and themes ranging from The Bhagavad Gita to The Passion and confidence of an Artist (Vir Bhaav) with the underlying theme of harmony were the highlights. The duo switched their dresses often from Bright Red to Colourful blue/green/yellow peacock combo to serene white in the end; all throughout the svelte duo performed with great verve and dedication accompanied by their group whose members ended up giving a splendid performance.

After the event I was speaking with Suma Sudhindra (she also leads the Chowdiah Memorial) and Veena Murthy Vijay who heads the Artists’ Introspective Movement (AIM), a federation of artists with a progressive look towards arts, who have organized BIAF 09. DHONUK we decided will be associated with this Festival as online partner.

Also I think Atul Chitinis was sitting a few seats away from me although I decided not to disturb him!

Thursday, September 03, 2009 is born - 01 SEP 09

On 1st September, 2009 was born the INDIAN ART ECOSYSTEM - is carrying a story as an entry for their Most Popular Entreprenur Contest '09.