Friday, August 22, 2008

'state' of bangalore- 23rd Aug 2200hrs & 24th Aug 1230 hrs

We have bomb blasts and bad infrastructure, but the government is busy banning dancing and music at nightspots. What’s going on?

The first blow to Bangalore’s afterhours scene was the 11.30 pm deadline which, police say, was due to safety concerns. Then came the second blow — singing and dancing was disallowed at places that serve alcohol. Finally, any place of public entertainment playing ‘loud’ music was asked to shut shop.
Bangalore now finds itself held to ransom by the banned live band association, which wants to be allowed to function in the city. Its stand is bolstered by a law that equates dance bars and prostitution to clubs, restaurants and practically any place playing music, serving alcohol and where people shake a leg. Ergo, no live bands, no nightclubs either. That’s the stand the authorities have chosen to take.
A lot has been said about the Karnataka Police Act 2005 and the application of the law that terms clubs and pubs illegal. The law describes three forms of entertainment:
• Live band: A place of public entertainment where music — live or recorded — is played, with or without people singing or dancing or the existence of ‘cabaret’ or both.
• Cabaret: A form of dance performed in a place of public entertainment by dancers or artistes or any other person as part of musical entertainment.
• Discotheque: A facility provided at a place of public entertainment to customers or persons singing or dancing of whatever form or both.
Going by these clauses, any form of singing or dancing at places of ‘public entertainment’ — from theatres, restaurants to fast food joints — can termed illegal. No wonder the police are going berserk shutting down any place that offers entertainment of any sort.
“Just like you can’t equate a pickpocket to a murderer and the IPC has various sections for different crimes, you can’t treat restaurants and clubs the same way you treat dance bars,” says Ashish Kothare, joint managing director of a city nightclub. “The government must reconsider the law and rephrase it to suit every vertical,” he says,
adding, “We’re also against dance bars and rave parties.”
The police commissioner has retorted, saying that any joint can operate after obtaining a licence. But club owners counter that — since the law was made to put curbs on live bands, obtaining a licence is near impossible. “With over 20 NOCs from various government departments and rules like leaving 10x10 ft for parking and fire exits and noise levels left to the interpretation of the cops — all framed with the intention of stopping live bands from starting business — we can’t get permission to operate. Even if you have a licence, the police can still raid your establishment,” says Ashish.
Says Amardipta Biswas, who owns a lounge bar in Goa, “In other cities — Mumbai, Delhi or Chennai — the rules are strict and clear. You can serve liquor 24/7 if you obtain the right licence. You can dance if you don’t play loud music outdoors
and disturb the neighbours. In some foreign cities, nightlife is concentrated in one area, which is constantly under police surveillance. In the day, it functions like any other business street.”
Enough is enough, the people of Bangalore have said and protested the absurd rules. In reaction to this protest and reports of police harassment, commissioner Shankar Bidari said, “The government isn’t run for the businesses of a few persons, it’s for the welfare of society.” So, BT asked Bangaloreans — not the “few business persons” but a crosssection — what issues they would like the government to focus on. The findings show that regulating nightlife isn’t a public concern (see box).
The police say they’re following and enforcing the Karnataka Excise Act of 1965 and another city-specific order brought out in 2005 to clamp down on places of public entertainment by insisting on licences. The fact is, they are also invoking the Karnataka Police Act, which allows them to raid any establishment that remains open after 11.30 pm, citing law and order.
But here is what former policemen have to say:
Youngsters easily outnumber older people in this city. While the police must enforce the existing rules, they should also consider suitable amendments, keeping in mind the lack of entertainment options for youth. They need some relaxation at the end of a working day.
BN Garudachar, former director general and inspector
general of police
The police act applies to all businesses and if an establishment has to stay open beyond 11.30 pm, it has to get the licence from the police. But the stand some police officers have taken on this issue is not right as they are trying to curb the nightlife of the city. In such a situation, the crime rate will only rise — contrary to their perception.
SN Borkar, former state DGP

No licence to chill
The police has asked clubs and discos to apply for a fresh licence in order to function. But it’s so wrapped in red tape, there’s no hope of dancing and music being restored

POLICE commissioner Shankar Bidari has submitted a set of guidelines to the high court on issuing licences to entertainment units that want to run live bands and discotheques. The affidavit is said to contain 12 requirements nightspots must fulfil. These include submitting a layout plan approved by the BBMP, BDA and other civic agencies (read: running around babus all your life); a copy of the partnership deed for partner firms; title deeds; a certificate from the electrical contractor and the fire department (more babus); and of course, a demand draft of Rs 20,000 as licence fee (officially, that is).

The process of issuing the licence also involves the DCP (administration) checking the documents, then getting the premises inspected and submitting reports, etc. Of course, submitting reports at this point only seems like a distant dream for club owners.

“The police says from the day we apply for the licence, the process will
take 36 days. But there’s no guarantee that we’ll get a licence after all this time,” says one restaurant owner. “I’ve been running around the commissioner’s office for four days and I can’t get an application form, forget a licence,” he rues.
The so-called guidelines are absurd, restaurateurs say. For example, the owners are supposed to submit an occupancy certificate from the BDA, a certificate that is non-existent for 99 per cent of the buildings in the city. And then there are the NOCs, which only mean the process is nothing but a maze of corruption and exploitation.

For every such issue raised by club owners, the police and home ministry respond with a, “We’ll discuss it or submit a representation.” “With every changing commissioner and government, we’ve discussed
and submitted memoranda, nothing has happened,” says a club owner.
“We won’t go through this process of getting a licence. The rules treat us like dance bars. We’re not them,” says another restaurateur. “The police has framed rules that put dance bars, discos and restaurants in one category. We want to be treated separately, which is what happens in other cities. There’s a clear demarca
tion for different forms of entertainment and the process of getting a licence to run your business,” she says.
Discotheque and club owners stress that they are now fighting to change the law. “If the law is implemented as it is today, we’ll never get a licence. Simply because if they grant us a licence, they have to grant it to the live band operators as well. And it’s against state policy to allow live bands to function,” says the owner of a discotheque. Which means the only way Bangalore’s nightlife can get buzzing again is if the government allows live bands
to function or changes the law.
“If a customer who comes to my club is not allowed to dance, he assumes that I’ve not got my licence or I’m running my place illegally, which isn’t true. Read between the lines. This is an attempt to kill the hospitality industry in the city, its tourism, and its image. Where will it stop? First you ban dancing, then music, drinking, smoking, behaviour, dressing, dance schools, weddings... all of which existed even before this government came into power. Does a government that comes into power for four years have the right to change the face of a city this way?” asks a club owner.

‘Bangalore is becoming regressive’
Dino Morea, Bollywood actor, Bangalore boy
THIS situation is ridiculous. With all the multinationals setting up base in the city, what kind of impression are the authorities trying to create? It’s like they are running a nursery school. Bangalore is supposed to be a progressive city, but I think it’s getting more and more regressive. People need to be able to go out and have some fun. Some recreational facilities, nightclubs and pubs don’t harm people or society in any way. There are bigger issues for the authorities to deal with other than shutting down discotheques.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday, January 07, 2008

same old resolutions

nothing has changed in the last 2 and half years.. click on image to enlarge

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Bangalore: Modern metropolis or medieval village?

Bangalore , Thursday, August 04, 2005 : Bangalore City is going through an identity crisis. On the one hand, Bangalore’s goal is to become another Singapore or Shanghai; on the other, the authorities are imposing the most retrograde restrictions and constraints on the human right to honest, clean enjoyment of life.

Bangaloreans who after a hard day’s work look forward to an evening of relaxation in a restaurant or bar today realize it’s often futile to drive all the way into town only to be told to go back home as all drinking and eating places have been ordered to close down. The citizens of Bangalore have the right to debate and explain to the government that their order is NOT in the interests of the society or the city.

Singapore, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur and all emerging global cities that attract big-ticket investments that help create wealth have the following in common:

· Multiple forms of entertainment for all sections of society
· Sensible rules in regard to the operation of bars, restaurants, discotheques etc
· Licensing systems that clearly differentiate between bars, restaurants, discotheques and other forms of entertainment outlets;

By contrast, under the cover of crime reduction, the Bangalore police have postulated a set of new rules that have little or nothing to do with whatever problems they profess to be addressing. They have donned the garb of ‘moral police’, a phenomenon that is often an alibi for inability to cope with crime reduction itself and almost invariably deplored by contemporary society as a curb on constitutional rights. In today’s Bangalore:

· Restaurants, bars and other such outlets have been ordered to close at 11.30 pm, and Citizens ordered to go home whether or not they have finished their dinners, or had enough entertainment for the evening.
· Citizens may not drink and dance at the same place.
· They may not drink and listen to live music at the same place.
· They may not drink and have a DJ play music for them at the same place.

This is a deplorable example of arbitrary (and probably illegal) encroachment of a citizen’s rights. That apart, Nightlife is an integral part of a metropolitan city. The police and the authorities in the government need to understand that entertainment infrastructure is as important as regular infrastructure when it comes to providing a contemporary lifestyle for the citizens of Bangalore, or for attracting tourists and investments.

To allow citizens any of the above pleasures, a place of public entertainment has to acquire a license. Under the Licensing & Controlling of Public Entertainment (Bangalore City) Order, 2005, here are the definitions of what such a place must choose to be: -

Cabaret: means a form of dance performed in a place of public entertainment by dancers or artists or any other person as part of a musical entertainment.

Discotheque: means a facility provided at a place of entertainment to customers and patrons for singing or dancing of whatever form or both.

Live Band: means music provided at a place of entertainment by artists whether or not accompanied by dancing.

All of the above can and most often are run as clean, honest, decent, contemporary fun places.
But as is true of any business sector under the sun, there are some who will and do stray into areas of sleaze. It is these transgressors who should be targeted and dealt with appropriately. To tar all the establishments in the industry with the same sleazy brush instead is an admission of lazy incompetent policing.

But that’s what we have in Bangalore today - definitions so vague that they not only fail to clarify, they further confuse the distinction between a sleazy girlie-bar and a world-class, well-reputed restaurant and lounge-bar (your favourite night-spot).

Under the rules that prevail today, a citizen who chooses to dance to his favourite music in a restaurant, even in a 5-star hotel, could be arrested. DJs have been prevented from playing music at nightspots as they “incite people to dance”! Nightclubs have been told to play classical music, so people do not dance. Never mind that Amitabh Bacchan and Sharukh Khan and Aishwarya Ray and a host of other Indian icons make a stratospheric living encouraging us to live precisely to that lifestyle. The police has attributed to itself the right to decide that it’s immoral for the rest of us.

What is the legitimate restaurateur and night club operator to do? Licenses have been applied for but there is no time frame specified within which they will be issued. Indeed, there’s no indication when the police are even required to revert with an answer. Maybe tomorrow…maybe a month…maybe never. “The appropriate authority will revert to you at the appropriate time” is the answer one gets to the question of time!

And so back to that identity crisis. Modern metropolis or medieval village? And that other identity crisis: Is the Policeman on the street the guardian of my safety or my Daddy? And the one that your favourite lounge bar and hip nightclub is itself facing, from being clubbed under the unfair classification that treats stylish restaurants, bars and restaurants as one with girlie bars.
It’s time the authorities of the city woke up and gave a separate classification for these entertainment outlets, and return to the citizens of this city the right they have lost to spend an evening of music and dancing with their parents, their spouses and their friends at stylish, sophisticated, dignified places – as every other modern society does all over the world.


"Agents of change are always so caught up in their intellectual processes, they develop few defenses against the hoodlums, moral pygmies and mental deficients who set themselves up as the arbiters of all that's good and right.
It's been that way since God was a little boy. Galileo, Socrates, Joan of Arc, Gandhi, Mandela ... the list of agents of change who suffered the indignity of rejection by intellectual charlatans is endless. And so it is today in Bangalore.
The scum who run our much-touted City of Tomorrow are incapable of looking beyond yesterday to address the needs of today. "

Stanley Pinto
advertising guru, musical genius

"being Bangalored"
by Harish Bijoor

"1) I believe the closing of pubs in Bangalore city at 11.30pm is pretty retrograde a move. The point is simple. If the belief is that a better law and order situation will prevail if the pubs, discotheques and entertainment hubs such as these close early, I believe it is a myopic viewpoint.Law and order is most certainly the responsibility of the Government and its police establishment. Only if you are able to maintain good law and order in an open environment does it mean that there is an efficient law and order enforcement in the city. By clamping down shut-down timings, nothing positive is achieved.It is quite like Kolkata claiming that its Power situation is healthy and surplus............after 60 per cent of its manufacturing units shut shop in the wake of a terrible labour and power situation at hand!
2) Bangalore is today an International city. I do a fair bit of work with Internaitonal partners who come to Bangalore often. Many ask me for the watering hole in the city, particularly as the city has a reputation of hosting a large number of pubs, and all I can point at is a do-not-drink and a do-not -dance regime which is at play in this International city of ours.We travel often and find that a Pune is open till 4am in the morning, a Mumbai literally never shuts, but a Bangalore has to close at 11.30, the witching hour!
3) This city hosts a large population of e-workers who work with the IT and the ITES sector. The closure of Bangalore at 11.30 means the clsoure of entertainment options young people seem to seek after a long day at work.
4) I spent six days in Shanghai recently. The entertainment hubs out there don't close before 4am! I spent a day in Kochi after that. The most popular discotheque out there closes at 3 am! I think Bangalroe is making a negative statement of its International status.In the old days, the phrase "Being Bangalored" meant losign jobs from a London or a Bopston to a bangalroe, due ot the outsourcing revolution. Today, "being Bangalored" means being left high and dry at the end of a long working day with no place to go........
5) I personally party once a week. We work hard. I work pretty obscene hours. My work normally closes at around 9pm on a decent weekend evening. I am able to get to a restaurant or a pub only by 10.30 after the mandatory freshening up. This gives all of a princely hour to enjoy the ambience of a Bangalore pub! Not fair!
6) Bangalore is an International city. If it truly is, it must not ape a Teheran. Instead, let it ape a Dubai or a Singapore or a Chicago in its model for the city's entertainment hubs."

Harish BijoorCEO
Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.

Band on the Run in Ban Galore
by Ajit Saldanha

Thanks to George Bush and the War on Terror, the Taliban have fled Afghanistan and sought political asylum in Bangalore where they were welcomed with open arms by the powers-that-be in the police force and administration. The Taliban have commenced a "War on Enjoyment" as exemplified by live music, dancing and anything else that comes under the category of "yenjaayment." "Bangalore is perhaps the only city in thew world where they still adhere to the rules and regulations laid down in 1856 and this will be our new spiritual home," said Mullah Omar. "Where else is there a ban on live bands, dancing and other such morally pernicious practices? I love this city," he gushed. In a speech eerily reminiscent of his nemesis Bush's "Axis of Evil" discourses, Omar went on to clarify that discotheques are even more evil than live bands saying, "In these live joints, women dance while men watch but in discos, men and women dance... sometimes together! This cannot be allowed to continue."
I must confess to a sneaking admiration for the Roman emperor Nero, who fiddled while Rome burned. Historians have condemned him for what they term a "callous indifference to the city's plight" but I think they were being unreasonable. I have it on the best authority that old Nero was playing "Fire and Rain" in the hope that the rain gods would come to the rescue of his beleagured city, if you catch my drift. Namma Bengalooru is in flames: the roads are crumbling, the traffic sucks, the power situation is abysmal and we're not even allowed to dance, let alone fiddle. Or sing, dance and indulge in any form of pleasurable activity. This is very short-sighted behaviour on the part of our CM. During the "good old days" when there were taverns in the town, we were aimlessly occupied with wine, women and song. Now, given the clamp-down on such "illegal activity" we have no option but to make more productive use of our discretionary time and before you can say "Jayakumar Robinson" there will be more citizens committees, greater accountability and political upheaval.
The Bangalore Music Group (of which I am proud to be a member) feels that its days are numbered. "The day is not far off when even bathroom singing will be banned," Vijayan Menon muttered darkly. Monthly soirees are held in secret and members communicate with passwords. Laila Alvares resorted to an innovative strategy during the staging of her latest musical, "The Sound of Music", by literally restricting her "live band" to the sound. The band played offstage but bravely courted arrest by coming out to take a bow at curtain call.
Meanwhile on Brigade Road, a band of musicians conducting a funeral that was to culminate in the burial of their musical instruments at Hosur Road Cemetery were arrested by a man claiming to be the reincarnation of Emperor Aurangzeb. Sources said the group were soundly thrashed and made to listen to fourteen hours of the recorded speeches of Dharam Singh and Deve Gowda as an exemplary lesson to would be offenders who are tempted to break the law.

ajit saldanha
writer, actor, singer, food critic, and really funny man

I had a friend ….
By anushka manchanda

Ding dong! The moral police are calling!! Fools educated enough to be in political positions, qualified enough to make decisions and illiterate enough not to know the difference between a night club and a dance bar.
Help mommy! I don’t wanna grow up in a city where its wrong to go out and have clean fun with friends…listen to live music and dance a little..where people my grandaddy’s daddy’s age decide that I should go to bed at 1130! It doesn’t matter that im 21..or 35..or 56. obviously being an adult and making decisions about how early or late I go to bed after a hard day’s work make no difference.
I had a friend, a really wonderful friend. Her name was Banglore. She was someone I could trust with great judgement about talent….musicians, singers, dancers. She was a great audience, and an even greater entertainer. She loved going out dancing! She used to make sure that all the hard working guys in the IT industry, the call centers, the enterprenuers and the college going students from other cities had a good time after work. She loved listening to jazz and hip hop and classical rock and pop and Hindustani! Really..she was something, and each time I’d meet her, I’d learn so much about music!
Was, was, was.
Banglore is not dead. She is in a coma. The only people who can save her are you and me.
Somebody needs to wake up and realize that drunken driving, brawls and eve teasing are illegal and immoral acts, and singing at a karaoke place or dancing to some r n b at a night club are not.
This comes from someone who doesn’t belong here..but has found a home in this beautiful city.

anushka manchanda
channel V popstar, vj, viva girl, model , actor, singer, friend, bombshell

Friday, July 08, 2005


the eternal opus mantra : we will, we will, rock u
the new cops mantra : we will, we will, #$%* u
for the past year opus, bangalore, has supported live acts ... from music to dance to theatre ... from classical to opera to jazz to rock to country to hiphop and rnb to heavy mental (grammy nominee jana stanfield), with performers both desi and firang gushing about the space, the hospitality and the vibe.
It's really baffling how a place like this could be clubbed in the same bracket as places that provide 'live entertainment' / dance bars ... and would require the same license. I am not even going to get into how ridiculous the 11.30 lights-out rule is. But equating all live entertainment is simply bizarre .
oh ... and thats not all ... getting up and shaking a leg too, is a criminal offence ... or one that needs another additional set of permissions. I'm sure they have overseen the need to procure licenses to have matresses and candlelight.. cos surely that abets immoral conduct ... or ban chocolates, for being an aphrodisiac
why can't people live and let 'live' ?? The colour in the green garden city certainly must mean envy, cos there is really no other explanation.
really sorry to all those who wondered why Dee didnt perform last week... we asked her and the band not to ... we couldnt risk rocking, white skinned, scantily clad foreigner, in front of 200 drooling men (and women) sing 'private dancer', now, could we??
we hope sense and sanity will be restored soon and the monsoon winds blow this over to Gulbarga (even they dont deserve this) in the next couple of days/weeks. till then (and till they can find laws to curb these other simple pleasures) we will make do with the food, booze, music (yes, yes, recorded... for the record), play some games (though stuff like 'taboo' is really asking for trouble)
one more big thank you for the music and supporting the live music movement in bangalore!!
That's just too bad, Carlton. Gina and you have done such a great job of building a fun place for young people that was clean and respectable. What's happening in Bangalore is nothing short of a disgrace. Wish they'd spend their time and energies on what really matters. That, they're letting go to the dogs, the feckless bastards.
I share your frustration over this mess called Bangalore. I never hesitate to say that those who think this is the centre of all the Happening places on earth (or India, anyway), specially the Page 3 media who describe everything in this village as world-class, are either ignorant or frauds - probably both.
We've just returned from several weeks away - hence the delayed response to your Notice. Of course we'll drop in one of these days.
Best -
Stanley Pinto
(stanley pinto is an advertising guru and musical genius)

Well said Carlton !!
We need to talk to the CM and the Governor about this, but then its been done before and the noose just gets tighter.
The problem is the interpretation of the term --- "live band " Throughout the world, a group of musicians playing LIVE, is termed as a live band, but this is sadly become a bad word to describe us musicians (Note that live and Band are four letter words, by the way !!).
Back in the bad old days, Bangalore had oodles of Cabaret joints where strippers gyrated to music played live by bands. They had quite a clientele, !! Brigade Road, Residency Road and South Parade (M.G.Road) resounded to the music of the senses applauding the deadliest of combinations -. Wine , Women and Song !!!!!
Drunken brawls, even murder were the order of the day,, so our lawmen swung into action and closed all such Cabaret joints. Justifiable .........YES, but as in all legal cases, the loop holes showed and the same joints boasted of live bands sans the strippers !! The strippers were now lady "singers ". Who cared if they didnt know their arse from their elbows as far as singing was concerned ? The good old clientele yodelled for more and the "Wah Wahs" rented the air.The brawls and the murders made the print again.
Our lawmen tightened the clamp......they said NO LIVE BANDS !!! To them, pimping,solicitation, debauchery, prostitution meant a live band and it was described as such too, by the brothel managers !!! We even have live band owners now !!
Albert Einstein once said "If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music."
It is indeed sad that our lawmen live their wet dreams in music .
What we need to do is to coin a new name to describe our vocation and we need to put our heads together to adopt such an adjective that cannot be misinterpreted to denote anything else, ever. It would be interesting to get some thoughts from all our friends. We can then form an association or forum and legalise the entity by registration. With such a back bone, we can then talk to the Ivory Towers, get their rubber stamps and play our music till the milk man comes home.
Cheers to the Opus !! You guys breathe music.
Lots of love to all of you
Shyam of the West Wind
(legendary bangalore voice)

Hi Gina & Carlton,
Its a pity that we live in a screwball society with the law that doesn't make any sense to a common man/woman. Opus has been an inspiration to many who can sing and some who can't!!!Still i must say that people do come just for the service and for people like you two.We will be there nevertheless, from time to time to be apart of the opus clan. For a better future and a bloody good time.
Nathaniel Philip & Karen.

You'll still see my black behind in there whenever i have the time. Music can't be choked down, its way beyond that.and plus "GOD GAVE ROCKN'ROLL TO YA....PUT IT IN THE SOUL OF EVERYONE"
This moronic rule and time will pass
Mark Swaroop
(music lover and graphic designer)

Brilliant letter & poster - I strongly suggest you get it printed in both the Deccan & TOI. The new laws are ridiculous -
thank god I grew up in the 80's before the moral police were enlightened!

Lisa Pinto

Dear Gina & Carlton,
Bangalore is dead, it is very true. Our own govt is killing it and they want to call it a metro. Are you
kidding me!!!!!!!!!!!I think we got to beat the system, the common man, should stand up for his rights, its a democracy for crying out loud, if i want to dance, i wanna dance and how can any brown uniformed furball stop me. People need to start writting to the media, tell them this is not acceptable. The problem is that we dont do anything about it and expect things to blow over. the more we sit by and watch this the more the cops are gonna send bend over please!!!!!!!! Also carlton, think about what we discussed, a new day begins at 12.00 AM. there is no law when a place can open during the day. they only shay it should shut at 11.30PM on a day. so half an hour is OK ;)
Cheers, i really hope things settle fast, I may not come to opus that often these days, but its always good to know there is place that feels just like home still open in the wee hrs of the morning.
Viren Goyal

nice mail. sorry to hear about this is truly ridiculous.
i'm sure you guys will find other innovative ways to make it happen till this blows over.
take care
(Neeraj Halalka)

SHIT!!!!! I truly bleed for you guys.
We guys complain about this shit only because it craps of night live and ruins or ‘chill-out’ plans but the stupidity takes on humongous propositions for you because it affects you so directly.
I wish there was something I can do…….and in fact, there just might be. I’m doing a little bit on this on Radio City later next month and I promise to bring this up with the Comm when I meet him.
Till then…….YUMMY ;))))
Darius Sunawalla
(Darius is a radio jockey)

I hope everything gets sorted out soon.
Marianne de Nazareth
(Marianne writes for the Deccan Herald)

Why do we just sit on our &$^% asses and grumble about the way this country is going to the dogs. Why cant we as people, unite and fight this together. I am sure if we all want we can do something and bring back the term DEMOCRACY to this country.Think about it. This fight is ours together.

Abs,agree,Carlton,these guys in the name of law and order are not even aware of what constitues decent clean live entertainment.hope better sense prevails or we need to start a movement/signature campaign and with the help of media ,invite public support.
sarat sidhan
(sarat is a bass player for classic rock band mid-range)
hey carlos,
I can imagine how frustrating it must be for you guys - all the people who are actually doing corrupt business are going scot free and here we are - a place that is trying to involve people in creative thinking is being victimised.
Well my advise to you is to lay low and ride out the storm - as we always do at sea - time to anchor and wait for a good tide !
best Regards
Malcolm Shipp said...
As an outsider looking in I find all this a little hard to get to grips with and fail to understand the logic behind this or much of what the authorities seem to term as normal practice in Bangalore.
Having stumbled on Opus after 5 months of a 6 month stay last year, that last month was my most enjoyable and this is due to the overall atmosphere of what remains one of my favourite clubs in the world. It is a place I can go to relax, a place to romance, a place to feel safe and comfortable away from trouble makers and boozed up nutcases.
During a long 6 months back at home in UK with nowhere to go I yearned to come back to Bangalore and blast my harmonica along with a great bunch of musicians and folk not afraid to express themselves in a fun and enthusiastic way.
Opus just does that, it brings the life and soul out of the most quiet and reserved people and has to be applauded for that.
When I read the daily papers here and just generally go about the city I wonder at the frustrating mentality of all the city's services and laws. For a city that is so say up and coming and trying to win much needed respect and finance from western nations, it falls way short and it is only getting worse.
The roads are disastrous here, traffic rules are non existent, people are electrocuted each time it rains, people are being robbed and killed seemingly on an hourly basis. These should be issues that swallow up the limited resources of the police and government, it is purely common sense.
It appears to me that if in the miraculous event something does actually work here in Bangalore and works well, then the authorities have to put a stop to it.
Do they thrive on disaster and severely pissing off normal law abiding human beings and depriving people of their few hours of fun in what is becoming a very unfun place to be.The newspapers talk about millions of rupees worth of corruption and bribes like it is a normal and accepted thing, how can this be possible? I just don't get it.
I accept there has to be rules to control clubs, licences and alcohol but when something ain't broke, why try to fix it, there are bigger more important issues surely.
I applaud Carlton & Gina or should that be Gina and Carlton (we all know who does the hard work really don't we?) for creating such an entertaining and exciting venue such as Opus a place where strangers become friends and I pray that common sense will prevail, although I'll believe it when I see it!
Much love and respect
A seriously frustrated harmonica afficionado!!

I can't agree with you more. Your efforts to promote music as whole in Bangalore have been remarkable and commendable. The most difficult part about getting legislation changed will begetting people to come together and show the government that old definitions cannot apply to today's culture. It's not just Opus, but all venues that are affected. If all pub/club/coffee-house/lounge owners got together, we can change legislation. If all publications and periodicals as well as event managers got together, we can change the absurd rules. It may sound like a big dream, but with so many people in Karnataka, I think we can get a few hundred thousand to express their discontent at these inconsistent and unfair policies by the police and government.
As an NRI, I have come to appreciate the incredible musical talent and artistic viewpoints of today's Bangaloreans. Having traveled quite a bit, I am starting to realize that apathy is the biggest disease in Indian Society (I am not just talking about India). Many venues, as well as corporate executives neglect the fact that although they may be making profit by "paying-off" the police to keep their places open, everyone will be making profit if all venues were ridden of such backward-thinking bribery.
We at RAVE came up with Support The Music after three years of seeing how unfair, under-exposed, not to mention how exploited the music and art "industries" are treated. Of course, we aren't taking a communist stance at promoting music; rather we are pushing for a collective effort to support music and art. At this point, I see too much futile individualistic promotion. People pay a great deal of money for the luxury of listening to music, whether it be at a pub, concert, or at home with a CD; however, it is rare that these well-paying consumers get much for their money. This equation also plays a major role in the good-evil battle of Intellectual Property Piracy. On a whole, consumers just don’t feel they are being treated with importance or respect.
With Opus and other venues closing at 11.30pm, this cuts a major chunk out of our music listening options. It makes it difficult for new artists to express and promote themselves.
Much of what I hope STM accomplishes would be to push for legislation to re-define the licensing process. This is absolutely possible, if we work together as a single entity to fight these inequities. I feel that Support The Music is the perfect platform to voice all our concerns about the entertainment industry.
I propose we have a meeting to discuss our thoughts and strategies.
In support,
Alok Tandon
COO, RAVE Magazine
Support The Music
Surreal. That was my first reaction when Gina told me the story. ‘Ulta’, I believe, is the Hindi word I am looking for; we seem to get everything backwards.
My last fume was on the way the Mayor blithely, unilaterally, cancelled paid-parking in this town. Every major Metropolis in the world uses paid-parking to accommodate and regulate traffic. We know better. The ostentatious reason given by Hizzoner was a claim that the city was saving money for the car-owners. He couldn’t have come-up with a more asinine reason if he had put the entire BMP staff to work on it for a year. The one segment of the community that does NOT need the Mayors help in saving five rupees are [definitionally] affluent car-owners. So, Honourable Mayor, thank you for saving me a ton of money by not being able to park and shop and waste money on the needy retailers of Brigade Road.
Now that that is off my chest, I move on to this new violation, more comical and insidious at the same time. Really. How inane can you get? On second thoughts, I take that back. I have vowed never to underestimate the authorities here.
There is nothing like the heartache of reading a smug NRI vent his wrath on the poor delicate sensibilities of the natives. I, a newly native NRI, will therefore proceed with abject insensitivity.
On my first few months of return, the newspapers had one story. It used to run something like this: ‘Veerappan Escapes: AGAIN!!!’ I’d read the story about how the entire border police forces of two [or was it three?] states had been set on this poor devil for years on end. And in spite of this thundering Brahmasana leveled at him this irreverent crook kept getting away. @#%%!&#@. Didn’t he know the fearsome reputation of the surrounding forces? A minimal attitude change on his part was called-for….
The second thing of interest I noticed on my return, in stark contrast to the above humiliation, was the extraordinary efficiency of the Bangalore Hoysala. Crackerjack cops, everyone of them. Strolling innocently by a park near Opus on a warm summer evening after sunset, enjoying the cool, my reverie was forcefully interrupted by a set of high-beams glaring down at a car parked near me. Hallelujah!! The cops had done it again! They had nabbed, red-handed…er, lipped, a young couple kissing in the privacy of their car. The couple was shocked, incinerated in the attention of four burly cops staring down at them. But I couldn’t care less. I was hugely relieved. The city had been made safe once more from such perverted kinks. As for Veerappan, we’ll get him as soon as he surrenders.
So now I am on to my third challenge. How does one respond with a minimal decorum to a fearlessly stupid decision to ban Live Music and Dancing in the city. How does one secretly, rhythmically move one’s feet at the risk of being nabbed and arrested by an alert and nimble cop? How does one play Footsie and simultaneously avoid jail?
Gina and Carlton can be trusted to show the necessary resourcefulness demanded by the abject inanity of this order. I will wait for their lead before wiggling my toe. Until then, I will limit my evening entertainment to necking in parked cars since the Hoysala are fully occupied listening for the sound of dancing feet.

Ravi Aiyer

I am gutted. Your venue is the best in Bangalore to have fun, make friends, eat good food and have good clean fun (okay, maybe 'Under the Sea' was a little close to the mark, but you didn't write the lyrics!). Considering the good stuff that comes from Opus, i.e. the GBP. 1000.00 you helped raise from my gig for underpriviledged children, and the harmless entertainment that
goes on, someone somewhere must have to rethink policies.
When I'm in India, it's really hard to go out somewhere that stays open when I leave the office. Call centre staff (desi or not) need to chill out too, and spend Rupees. If places close so early, there is nowhere but the 5 star hotels to do it. Shouldn't others get the benefit of our spending too?
I'm a guest in India - and I absolutely love it! I'd never put the place down - ask any of my friends, I'm an ardant fan. Some policies just don't make sense though.. this is one.
Please pass my very best regards to everyone at Opus - if anyone's still there!! I miss you guys. Hope to be over for a few days around 17 August.
Hey, maybe they'll see a little sense by then.
Take care sugar and give Gina a big kiss for me.
(dee kahn trains people at a call centre in bangalore, in addition to being a kick-ass musician)