In one of Ahmedabad’s garba grounds for Navratri, item girls are replacing more spiritual performers. The men folk cheered and leered as Mumbai girl Priyanka dressed in appropriately improper clothes gyrated to ‘Bring it on, bring it on, forever sanam’ at the Maninagar na Maniyara garba ground.
The spiritual index of this garba ground seems to have gone for a sixer ever since Navratri organizers resorted to roping in item girls for the glamour factor. This seems to be the done thing now to lure and keep the crowds long enough to set the cash registers ringing.
After Chief Minister Narendra Modi praised the traditional sheri-garba songs that were being played at the ‘Maninagar na Maniyara’ venue, which falls in his constituency and then left, things fell apart. Spiritual calm was broken as the traditional garba sangeet of ‘Aaj maa no garbo ramto jaye...’gave way to the hip-n-hep ‘Crazy kiya re’.
There are also reports of similar raunchy numbers being performed as item songs in Jetalpur and Daskroi areas by Mumbai-based girl dancers. Likewise, organizers rope in dancers to dish out raunchy Bollywood performances in Jetalsar and Surendranagar.
Yet these organizers are not without reasons. They say the concept of staging item numbers during garba breaks has been introduced to keep the crowds coming.
"Entrepreneurs who have taken up space on hire at the rate of Rs 15,000-20,000 for selling food and refreshments at the venue should get enough returns justify their investment in our garba. We introduced this concept of item songs to help these people do brisk business," organizer of Maninagar na Maniyara Kaushik Koshti, defends himself from any culture vultures.