Kolkata has always successfully contributed its part in the art and culture of the nation. Culture lies in the blood of this faceless city where it manages to camouflage its identity with the changing nature of its cultural paradigm. Amidst many changes in the past few years, musical performances have been significantly accepted and cherished by the youth of the city.
It has been observed that the generation is quite inclined to new genres of music and art and is a pro in experimentation. However, the commercial outlook that demands validation of such alternative and experimental genres of culture overtakes the value and spotlight of such practices.
Cultural stagnation of Kolkata
Taking a close look at the existing circumstances that create the decline of such musical and cultural practice and restricts the growth of the musical ecosystem in the musical circuit of the city of joy, we see the lack of the availability of proper venues and lack of equipped necessary instruments and technical tools that lead to the stagnation.
TopCat, a new initiative of gig promoter Nishit Arora and his friend Meghdut Roy Choudhury, has been launched within Offbeat CCU as an answer to the existing lack of gig venues in the city. Offbeat in Topsia can be termed as a one-stop hub for all enthusiastic youth. However, it is quite difficult to categorise Offbeat for its varied range of services. It includes certification courses, top-rated restaurants, co-working places, music studio, fitness programmes, a film room, a gym, and a world-class backpacker hostel. The uproar of TopCat is pretty loud and the music enthusiasts of the city are now in a mood of “Can’t keep calm!”
TopCat and its approach
This live music venue has an undaunted appeal which adds up to the advantage of attracting people who enjoy music and are more keen to experience the live sessions and varied range of musical fruition such as jamming and beatboxing performances. Nishit confirms that one of the prime concerns and challenges for him was to attract the masses by conducting gigs in a city like Kolkata where commercialisation has often taken over the art itself.
He understood in the preliminary stage that it was feasible for him to invite bands which were guaranteed to attract a certain number of people. However, Nishit along with his partner, Meghdut ensured that TopCat being a game changer will have the approach where the venue and the programmes are equipped and arranged in such a way that it focuses in the art and not the bar sales.
Perks of the endeavour
Prioritising the art itself than the commercialisation of the musical gig is itself a significant approach and strategies to aware people about the venue. TopCat is referred to be the only single venue in Kolkata which has the capacity to conduct any international touring act and bigger Indian programmes such as the Kraken and BlackStrat says Aditya Ghosh from Indian Music Diaries.
The availability of music and recording studio in Offbeat makes TopCat more authentic and appealing in its nature. The focus of the organizers remains to create an all-around vibe where the audience and the participants remain updated about the progress and existing situation of the venue and its programmes.
Paving a path for innovation
With young and innovative mind, the owners, both Nishit and Meghdut wants to be flexible in their initial stage to understand what goes right and what not and hence, the venue is still in the making which will help it to be sustainable in the long run. Encouraging music enthusiast with creative minds and talents, the best response can be such an endeavor by these two. Kolkata being the city of joy needs to buckle up to experience such a change in aspect to its cultural paradigm for sure!