Woman With Substance
Marriages, it is said, are made in heaven. Whether it is a love marriage or the arranged, it has its own merits and demerits. But for Shobha Deepak Singh, love marriage has given her all she had aspired for. With the support of his husband and family, she is discharging the responsibility of Director and Vice Chairperson of Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra with full uprightness integrity. “When I joined my father’s company, my husband was my boss. We both worked for my father. And in the process, we fell in love”, points out a blushing Mrs Singh.
Sixty-seven-year-old Mrs Singh joined Bharatiya Kala Kendra in 1968 and served as the first Manager of Kamani Auditorium. She subsequently became involved in the performing side of the Kendra’s activities and went on to specialise in costumes and ornaments design—a field in which she soon became a pioneer. Later on, she took over the task of script-writing and directing the Kendra’s ballets. During the past two decades she has produced, directed and designed costumes for outstanding ballets and dance dramas of the institute. “The journey, which is 40 years long, was not a cake walk,” says Mrs Singh.
Two years later, after the newness of marriage started wearing off, the creative itch took over once again. “I have never been a woman nun of leisure,” explains Mrs Singh, adding that she learnt Kathak, danced till she was 40, and then took to playing the sarod. She started directing plays almost two decades back and remained in the news with projects like Meera, where the holy woman was shown with a novel perception.
Apart from this, Mrs Singh has a natural flair for photography and her photographs drew admiration from a large crowd that attended her exhibition. Creative people generally have a deeply held belief that most problems can be solved. No challenge is too big to be overcome and no problem cannot be solved. “I am passionate about my work which makes me perfectionist and confident, and impels me to take risk in life,” she says. She is enterprising enough to make ripples by picking up the gauntlet of traditions, explore old attics or odd museums and collections like her 100-year-old saris collection— traditional drapes from old havelis (royal family homes) of Rajasthan, the Kutch region and other regions of Gujarat, Varanasi and adjoining towns in Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. “Sari being recognised as formal dress globally, more and more women are choosing it over western-style evening dresses, so I thought to collect saris,” she reveals. Mrs Singh was awarded the Padmashree in 1999 for her services to the performing arts in India.
Usually people who are tough are soft inside like Mrs Singh. “Though I am a tough administrator, I cannot stop my tears from rolling down my cheeks when I get upset,” she says and adds: “Whatever I do is philanthropy, but while managing such a big organisation, many times there are situation when we get dissatisfied with work. But I believe that we can only improve when we take criticism in a healthy way.”
At present she is busy in annual summer ballet festival. “Festival is a journey through the powerful presentation of mythological icons, namely Karna, Meera, Abhimanyu and Parikrama. Bringing alive endearing characters from rich mythological stories infuses resonance in every heart at one level or another,” says proud Mrs Singh.
By Vaishali Tanwar