Different Dialogues : Mr. Jogiraj Sikidar

In conversation with Mr. Jogiraj Sikidar – Senior Creative Producer.
Professional Background: Television Media Professional with more than 16 years of experience as Senior Producer spanning television news channels (Zee News, TVI – India’s first 24x7 English news channel); non-news channels (National Geographic Channel India, History Channel, India) DTH platform (Showtime, Dubai, U.A.E). Presently, Senior Creative Producer with MBC Group, Dubai, U.A.E.

I remember that late afternoon a couple of months back, when I invited Jogiraj Sikidar for the interview at my home in Dubai. The source of his narration composed the matter of his achievements. Now that I am writing about the interview, may be he is already in hot pursuit of research to begin another soul-thrilling production of theatre. We’ll find out!

Jogiraj Sikidar is a philosopher at heart. He interprets the theory of ‘karma’, without any ambiguities. He interprets the world as a family and states that the subject of ‘karma’ becomes real for us if we act out this conception in concurrence with compassion. He sees the world as a single great community in which all of us are related to each other – by the way of our creative reasons, divine reasons, personal reasons. Money and power are not his favourite aims. How it all came to him is attributed through his great-middle-class values. Jogiraj Sikidar’s father was a prominent social worker in Silchar, Assam (India), who found alternative ways of earnings for the poor so effectively that the grand old man became United Nations Award winner for his staunch efforts. Among other ‘sparks’ from whom Jogiraj Sikidar derived inspiration – he names Vinod Dua, a veteran Indian journalist and Padamshree Rita Ganguli who accepted Jogiraj Sikidar as her disciple to train him as a vocalist in Indian classical music. Under the expert guidance of Rita Ganguli, he learnt the legendary style of Thumri of the late ‘Thumri Queens’ – Siddeswari Devi and Begum Akhtar. Quite honestly, Jogiraj Sikidar’s odyssey in music began at the age of four in Silchar. He went on to train in guru-parampara (mentor-disciple) tradition of Kirana Gharana under stalwarts like Pandit Mani Prashad and Shikha Ganguli.

38 year old Jogiraj Sikidar – Creative Producer, director, documentary-maker, song-writer, vocalist, choir-conductor, researcher – winner of several media awards – he is all of these and more. He is also the Founder/Director of Malhaar (Dubai) – a drama organization born in 2009. He confirms that the philosophy behind Malhaar is to showcase history, and put the talent of good people together to nurture on stage. In case the reader is wondering about any more credentials of Jogiraj Sikidar, let me say the young man is conscience-bound to provide continuity in whatever he sets out to achieve.

Jogiraj Sikidar’s contribution to the development of Indian theatre in Dubai and to the cultural scene in general can be seen as concrete. To look back from the present, Rooh-e-Isq and Jashn-e-Awadh are the outstanding examples of Jogiraj’s recent creative efforts in Dubai (U.A.E). And why not? After all, he was selected in Delhi, by National Training Institute of India (NSD) – where the likes of actors such as Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher trained. Rooh-e-Isq is a musical tribute to four Sufi masters across India, Pakistan and Persia. Jashn-e-Awadh, a musical, again, is the journey that takes the audience to the kingdom of Wajid Ali. I asked Jogiraj how he handled the stories of his success. His response to my query was, ‘Receiving the love of the audience gave me goose pimples and tears. And the credit of all the success I give to my team of performers and those who assist me’.

As our interview progressed, Jogiraj Sikidar weighed his ideas in balance and said to me, ‘You know, in my life a woman was always conducive in pushing me forward. In my earlier years, it was my elder sister, Shrabani. Now hats off to my wife – Mily.’ Undoubtedly, it is an engaging thought, he has provided for me. The spirit of his accomplishments stamps the truth behind his remarks.

As this goes online, I learnt from Jogiraj Sikidar that Malhaar is preparing a musical production, for Dubai, next month (October 2011) by the title – O Ganga: Echoes from the river of life. O Ganga, is not a mythological drama, not a religious convocation and definitely not an environmental show; it is a journey along the entire course of the river in search of musical notes and the lyrical rhythm that have emerged over time from its rich banks. Assuming the theme, I am already, on a high peak among the clouds!

Q 1. What has been the turning point of your life?
A. I think every single day is a turning point in my life. I explore and learn from my experiences and my surroundings.

Q 2. If you could go back in time, what would you want to do?
A. Be a traveler so that I could travel as much as possible.

Q 3. What are your future dreams?
A. Set up an institute where music, art, film and food will come together under one roof.

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Geeta Chhabra

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