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Grace Entertainment Presents Irshad, A New-Age Style of Marathi Poetry

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Irshad New-Age poets are Sandeep Khare (left) and Vaibhav Joshi.

By Amita Dabir

HOUSTON: Houstonians had an exhilarating experience of appreciating a new-age style of Marathi poetry on Sunday, April 16 from two young and widely popular Marathi poets, Sandeep Khare and Vaibhav Joshi.

Representing Generation Next of the Marathi poetry world, the two poets are on a US tour with their unique program titled “Irshaad”. The tour has been receiving high acclaim and is now captivating the hearts and minds of Marathi audiences across the country.

Poets tend to have a certain aura around them- one that stems from their outlandish looks, excessive usage of heavy vocabulary, and a persistence on having their freshly minted verses heard. This aura has created a vacuum between the social-media savvy, modern youth and the ever-evolving realm of Marathi poetry.

‘Irshaad’ is on a mission to eliminate this vacuum by building a bond of friendship with young minds through poems that address relevant issues and showcase a fresh new approach to the world. ‘Irshaad’ has no fixed format, no defined set of poems or sequence. Rather, it is a natural flow of thoughts and feelings from one poet to another while tapping the mood of the audience which makes the experience a brand-new one each time.

Sandeep and Vaibhav took the audience through a different journey – sometimes widening and sometimes deepening their experiences. Only a few poems into the program and the perceived notion of poets began to falter and “cool” bonding began.

It was a free flow of ideas and conversation as if the poets could read our minds and effortlessly tap on that hidden “self” within each of us to provide a truly heart-warming experience. There was that poetic romance with rain, the personification of it as ‘Paoos rao’ (Mr. Rain), the magic of love, and a commentary on this reality called life. The reality factor led to all-encompassing realm of Whatsapp, Facebook, DP, slangs, and resonated many chords within the audience.

The modern age and media madness led to the dreamy and struggling youth and even to that unspoken topic of homosexuality. Shades of friendship, shades of memories, shades of relationship with parents – the experiences kept growing more insightful.

Both poets have an affable style of connecting with audience of all ages by using words of simple spoken Marathi interspersed with common English words that make light of every experience life has to offer.

Manasi Joshi-Bedekar, a local Houston artist and an old friend of Sandeep Khare, shared the stage with the poets during first half of the program and asked them a few insightful off-the-cuff questions about their poetry.

True to the casual format of the program, Sandeep and Vaibhav invited local Marathi poets to present their poems in Irshaad. It was heartening to listen to from Houstonian Marathi poets viz. Samir Karandikar, Varsha Halbe, Arun Athavale, Vasant Phansalkar and Amita Dabir. Shreyas Bedekar and Shruti Joglekar presented two of Sandeep’s famous compositions during the event and won everyone’s heart with their melodious voice.

The response Irshaad has been receiving deepens our belief in the power of poetry, the magic of Marathi literature, and most importantly, the fact that Marathi poems can continue to make an impact even within the global Marathi community. Kudos to the duo and lots of wishes to the success of Irshaad. The event in Houston was organized by Grace Entertainment, a group of enthusiastic young artists that strives to present the best of contemporary Indian cultural glimpses to Houston. Along with promoting local Indian artists, Grace Entertainment has been inviting leading artists from India and helping to cultivate love of Indian music, literature and other art forms in Houston. The event would not have been possible without special support from Sucheta and Samir Karandikar.

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