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Features |  07 Nov 2008 16:29 |  By Priyanka_Blah

'Silenced' Bangalore reverts to sleepy town image

Bangalore seems to be doing immense justice to its reputation of sleepy town.

For many months now, the city has witnessed not just a curb in the population's night life but also the complete downfall of live music and the loss of the musician's means of livelihood. Pub shows have been discontinued altogether as places that serve alcohol are prohibited from hosting live music events and now bands have nowhere to play, except at open air shows in venues like Palace Grounds. Such large-scale events only take place once in a while and bands and musicians have begun to feel a sort of resentment towards the law-makers for depriving them of the regular platform they used to have to perform earlier.

Club owners have felt the pinch, especially owners of places like Opus which used to host live gigs every week. It's ridiculous, regressive and an infringement on human rights,... says Opus owner Carlton Braganza. Audiences have complained about the lack of freedom and entertainment in the city. There's a certain level of discomfort among people seeking recreation on weekends and club owners are filled with apprehension and fear.

It's quite sad that dancing is also illegal in a city that calls itself a metropolitan city and the hub for technology and development,... says Asavari Rao, a law student and an active club-hopper. Apart from the business of club and pub owners, musicians form a large majority of the affected lot. Now, the only hope is for bands to be invited to play in other parts of the country which in itself is never very easy. According to Karma 6 guitarist Tony Das, anyone who heard that live music was banned somewhere he/she was about to visit would instinctively think that the place was governed by some sort of talibanistic regime "since no right-minded individual would consider the possibility of such a ridiculous rule being framed by the government unless it were too lazy to draw lines". He adds, As a musician, it limits my sources of income, halts my progress as a live entertainer and stunts my musical growth, simply because I have fewer opportunities to perform."

Tony is one of the many full-time musicians in the city and he and the others have been flying out of the city very often lately, given the current lack of opportunities in Bangalore. Arfaaz K, former drummer of Galeej Gurus and Zebediah Plush feels the same way but is also of the opinion that people in the city are taking it all lying down.

What is worse is the apathetic nature of people to take this all lying down and giving in to it as though it were all destiny.... It's a shame..., he says. Kabir Ahmed, one of the few who spearheaded the Bangalore Protest Unit is equally disappointed with the attitude. At the last protest, there were only a handful of people, and a handful can only do that much. I fear for this city because Bangalore citizens don't have a sense of ownership towards the city. The worst is yet to come and I wish everybody took this problem personally..., says a disappointed Kabir. The frustration is reaching its peak but the law makers seem unwilling to budge. One can only wonder how much longer this prohibition of freedom will continue in a city that calls itself a Dream City. If things continue at this rate, it does seem as though progress and development will only remain a dream for Bangalore.