How Artist Struggle For Their Life: Munwar Chao

By: Farooq Rajper

Munwar Chao is a Karachi based classical dancer and artist. He has been performing classical dance since 25 years in Pakistan and abroad. He also teaches dance and works in theater.

Q:  How you chose this field?
A: I was passionate for music and dance since my childhood and interested in dance because it was different art.When my family came to know about my dancing, they were very angry. SO much so that I was beaten up but didn't leave my passion. One day my younger brother came to a programs, where I was performing and he was impressed from my performance and that was the day I got permission from my family to peruse my career in dance and theatre. I performed dance many times and worked very hard. I performed in school function and then at my relative's marriage and got positive comments.

Q:  Which form of dance you are doing and what's it value in Pakistan?
A: I perform Bhartanatyam it is a form of classical dance. It is one of the oldest dances like odyssey. It is a temple dance In Hindu mythology, they use to do in temple and performed by Devis.  In last few years I saw that people get interested in this form and more in Kathak because it is called as “Muslim dance”. Except Sheema Kirmani no one does odyssey and Bhartanatyam dancers only two who can professionally perform me and Sheema.

Q:  Who inspired you in the classical dance?
A: Sheema karmani inspired me a lot, she was teaching dance at that time so I started to go there as her pupil.  

Q: How much money dancers make in our society?
A: It depends on locality and variety programs if they are performing in big program they make good money but that doesn't happens usuallyand it also depends on organizers  and situation and the performance which artist do usually public don't know about that because this is not filmy or hip hop music dance its Bhartanatyam and Kathak.

Q: What are your future plans, and any plan to promote dance in Pakistan?
A:   Recently I did a program named DANCE DEMOCRACY and bring dancers who have talent but couldn't perform on big platforms because of financial and other problems I want to make our culture alive and want to establish academy where our different forms of dance will be taught. Most of people don't know about Sachal Sarmast, Bulleh shah, Haq Bahu and I want to promote dance by performing on their poetry. like Dhamaal performed at Sachal Sarmast shrine during URs.  I want to introduce dance in different cities of Sindh like Hyderabad Mirpurkhas Larkana Sukkur.

Q: What are common misconceptions people have about what you do?
A: People take it wrong because here in Pakistani society artists are always facing problems especially dancers and theatre artists because public don't know much about it. And if they see male dancer they taunt him and his family, spread fake rumors about him. You know that here only khuwaja Siras use to dance and they should dance because it's their profession.