“If you want to make it, make your way out of here” is how it usually works in Kolkata. Kolkata over a period has seen budding talent move to different soil in order to grow. The lack of opportunity for showcasing their talent has made most students shift base after school. There is a thriving urban youth culture, but there isn’t anyone to look beyond the mainstream. After having spent a year in college, and networking with kids of his age from all over the city, it had become clear to Soumyajit Majumdar that someone had to start salvaging that wasted talent. He saw the murky escapism which had spread among the youth, because of all the creative craziness that they had to subdue. That’s when LOK came about. He along with a few friends decided they were going to “fight for their right to be crazy”.On January 3rd, 2010, LOK was formed by artistically and creatively inclined students mostly from St.Xaviers college, Jadavpur university, Presidency college, Loreto college and some other premiere schools and colleges of Kolkata. It involves young minds engaged in photography, filmmaking, music, theatre, dance, creative writing, fine arts etc. There were drawbacks to not being main stream and not having high flying celebrity names attached to their events. “We were always faced with a lack of sponsors, but we decided we had come too far to give up,” says Soumyajit.
LOK went on to conceptualize ‘PROJECT YUVA-dream young’, a one-of-its-kind national youth movement focused on creative arts. Its aim is to connect the Indian youth on a common platform and facilitate interaction and exchange among them. What seemed like a youth creative arts movement in Kolkata is now taking shape into a national youth movement with the popularity of Lok already spreading to Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Bangalore and other cities within a year of its inception. LOK is now the only youth-led and youth-based national creative arts group.Soumyajit believes that Tagore while writing his songs never said that it should be sung in a particular way, or accompanied only by the tabla and harmonium. If a youngster wants to appreciate Tagore’s writings with an electric guitar, then why not! LOK has helped youngsters to stage their raw talent. LOK has also helped facilitate the upcoming of art in its most pristine form, stripped of all its commercialized glory. ”We have never meant to overtake, we merely want to co-exist with mainstream media, and be recognized,” Soumyajit says. He also hopes for a beautiful fusion of the two streams someday, believing, that would be culture thriving in its true form.
Recently Kolkata was buzzing with the IYCA and LOK’s walk for arts and change, which saw youth showcasing their creativity. They took their respective talents to the streets. This walk also had open rickshaw vans moving along with the crowd which was open for any display of art and photography. Their message was ‘Bring your thoughts, bring your art or just bring yourself, support the movement ,spread the word, bring your friends & be a part of the carnival. Walk along, don’t walk across.’
“Changes start with ideas. There are times when we must take a few extra chances and create our own realities,” says Soumyajit. LOK is currently traveling the world and making its mark wherever they go. They are doing a great job in helping the younger generation make their own mark as well. LOK also has plans to own their own support studio and art research laboratory in the future.
LOK could be performing in your city next, stay updated with all activities and achievements by checking out LOK's Facebook group.
Author credit: Anna Dias