Nehha Bhatnagar has been a force for change in Performing Arts in India. A renowned Bharatanatyam exponent, Nehha performs in festivals in India and abroad. She is the youngest Arts Impresario in India, and runs her foundation, Sarvam Foundation. It organizes unique classical arts festivals and collaborations including international exhibitions, international calendars, residencies and other endeavours. It also runs free classes for the underprivileged girls in Delhi, who then perform frequently in India and abroad.
Nehha is also a frequent speaker in the TEDx circuit and is the Licensee and Curator of one of India’s largest TEDx events – TEDx TughlaqRd. She is a mentor for arts and a speaker on creativity and entrepreneurship.
We got a chance to interact with her recently and she happily answered a few questions for us.
Here’s a snippet of our conversation:
Q1. With Sarvam Foundation, you scout for talent at the grassroot level in the slums of Delhi and your main focus is the underprivileged girl child. What significant change do you see in the lives of these girls who are associated with you?
Ans. Changes – where do I even begin!!! From their overall health improving to their confidence levels, their self empowerment to empower their siblings, the respect for the girl child by the male members in their community; it has been one amazing journey of ripple effects. They are not just learning a skill, but an entire personality development course- leadership and empowerment course.
Q2. These days we can see kinds more inclined towards western dance forms and music. Not many kids are taking up Indian dance forms or music as an extra-curricular activity. Why do you think this is happening and what can be done to engage more people towards Indian performing arts?
Ans. The influx of cable TV in every household and the massive money spent on Cinema songs dances and reality TV- basically everything to do with instant gratification. Classical takes years of learning patiently before even a single show is showcased. How will it withstand the onslaught of mass consumption? However, the West is generating a huge interest in our ancient arts and practices and so the demand for artistes abroad has grown. Our Indian expatriates abroad as well are bolstering the interest in their roots for their children to be connected to their culture. People who are sort of tired of materialistic bombardment also are increasingly finding solace in the traditional and the spiritual and all of this will lead to the growth of these forms. We can never compete with quicker to learn forms or even Bollywood dancing- but yes we need to keep up with the relative pace of growth. Governments and corporates need to step up their game to help this aspiration–because our true wealth is our ‘soft power.’ India will always be way ahead in that wealth!
Q3. How has your experience been being associated with the #DoWhatYouLove Movement?
Ans. Brilliant!! So inspiring to meet the youth with such passion – I have learnt a lot from the Movement myself.
Q4. What was your first thought when you heard about #DoWhatYouLove?
Ans. What a great line – why would u do anything you don’t love right?
Q5. What inspires you to be a part of #DoWhatYouLove?
Ans. The feeling that “Hey I too can help people do what they love” – even if not full time then as a part time hobby or passion. Because truly when you do what you love to do – life will not lead you astray. It will give you such fulfilment!