I was one among the general visitors who were a part of the crowd at Konark Natya Mandap on the concluding day of Konark Festival 2011. And I was also, probably, one among the few art lovers and common spectators who were annoyed with the constant disturbances caused by the giant jimmy jib that was deployed for some television production. I do not know while allowing (or encouraging or sponsoring) the production whether the authorities were well aware about the visual-strain the said equipment was like to cause on the local ambience and aesthetics! To my guess, it might not be impossible that they were fully unaware of the said consequences. Whatever could be the reason, the serious viewers of such an art event would never excuse them!
A jimmy-jib is a modern and sophisticated crane with a very long arm that is used to give flexibility to the unmanned camera attached to it. Through this the producer captures candid moments and expressions of the artists from top angle and from various angles while moving the equipment, on air, from one side to the other, and from top to bottom, within its coverage area. There is no doubt that Jimmy Jib has become a boon for today’s film and television productions due its flexibility to result a range and variety of angles and movements in the unmanned camera. It thus offers a dynamic mode and a lot of flexibility and creativity to any producer. But having been in to television production, for many years, and being fully aware about the benefits any jimmy jib offers, I want to put the straight question to the authorities that how come such a nuisance got into the creative and brilliant ambience and art atmosphere of Konark Natya Mandap?
Many visitors, who have been to Konark Festival 2011, might have reacted in the line I do. Some have shared it with me while moving out of the mandap at the end of the event. To make it clear let me talk a little about the ground situation. In fact, the jimmy jib was installed at the north side of the natya mandap and its arm was reaching up to the centre of the stage from the front. With any action on the stage the modern camera-crane was moving from here and there cutting the frame of the spectator’s eye. Any sensible person and art lover would never allow such disturbances in a rich cultural programme like Konark Festival whose paramount aim is to demonstrate the art and aesthetics of Indian classical dance forms, especially on the backdrop of Konark, the pride of Odissan art and architecture and Odissi-Culture.
At Konark Natya Mandap , the authorities have perfectly created a special space or zone for the lensmen to operate within. Professional photographers and photo journalists of local print media normally use that space. But, being an audio-visual format any television production shall demand specific or strategic positions across the auditorium. In fact, understanding the same the authorities have been providing space to TV cameras at different places in the open air auditorium. Those camera locations or placements are fine for any multi-camera production (and of production of any length). But, I am surprised, how come the authorities allowed a jimmy jib to be a part of any such production! To my understanding, any such heavy and moving equipment can not only annoy the local-spectators and the art lovers, but also seriously disturbs the artists and their accompanists! So why a serious spectator will bother about the appeal of the event when the main organizers forget to take care of the locale ambience and aesthetics?
In today’s context jimmy jib is deployed in any mega television production, especially events, talk shows and reality shows, to bring creativity and elegance in the production. But the same is perceived from the point of view of a television producer where he is concerned about the final output meant for the small screen. Here, the producer is fully aware about the discomfort the equipment may cause to the locale audience in the event site or the auditorium. But whether we allow deploying such a large and constantly-moving object within the frame of the locale audience, especially in a graceful ambience like Konark Festival, is a big question.
Konark Festival was aimed to showcase the rich tradition and texture of Indian classical dance forms and efforts have been made to take the event to an international level. Having said that, we have to take utmost care to offer some visual-comfort and create a good ambience for the audience that is attracted from hundreds and thousands kilometers from Konark. Otherwise, the footfall to Konark Festival, in terms of number, may increase every year. But fulfilling the eyes and imagination of serious art lovers and shall remain as a day dream!