5 Feb 2024

Madhya Pradesh: An informal chat with eminent exponent of Malwa's Maach art Padmashri Om Prakash Sharma

Bhopal: Malwa region, the crucible of India 's cultural activities represents India's art culture. A form of folk performance popular in the region of Malwa in Madhya Pradesh, Maach incorporates song, dance and theatrical performances derived from mythological, religious and historical themes. Eminent exponent of this art form Om Prakash Sharma and been named for the prestigious Padma Shri award.

Omprakash Sharma got acquainted with Maach when he was 10 years. He has worked hard to enrich and preserve this art form. His dedication deserves respect. He attributes his being Maach exponent to his gurus father Late Shri Shaligram and grandfather Late Shri Kaluramji. While practicing the folk theater Maach, Shri Omprakash Sharma himself became proficient in playing various musical instruments. Here are excerpts from the conversation with him:

Early education of Maach art 

I have been performing Maach art since the age of 10-12. My gurus were my father Late Shri Shaligram and my grandfather Late Shri Kaluramji.

On characteristics of Art form

In this art, my father and grandfather taught me knowledge of Swar, classical music, Sugam Sangeet, folk music and especially the genre of Maach. At least 10-12 male and female artists participate in it. Dholak, Harmonium and Sarangi are the main instruments. Earlier, sarangi, dholak and tota (distorted forms of shehnai) were played.

About young generation 

Young artists like Pramita Charegaonkar, Vineeta Mahorkar, Pooja Chauhan, Gajendra Singh, Suryaprakash Vajpayee, Shani Nagar have adopted the art form. My sons Bhupendra and Vijendra Sharma are also practicing.

On performances

So far, more than 200 performances have taken place. Performed Maach Art in Bharat Rang Utsav, and many events at capital places Chennai, Lucknow, Mumbai.

On thematic subjects

I myself write. There are conventional subjects. Ramayana and Radha-Krishna life and some historical subjects.

On special honours

Got regonized in art of making new harmoniums, acquired expertise in playing harmonium, guitar, mandolin, violin, tabla, dholak. Got Shikhar Samman in the year 2001, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award by former President of India Shri APJ Abdul Kalam in 2007, National Tulsi Samman in 2014 and now Padmashri Award.

Expectations from govt

Many thanks to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Dr. Mohan Yadav. They take care of the honour, respect and dignity of the artists. We want Maach to prosper well with the support of the government. With the support of the government, more and more people can adopt Maach.

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