For the LOVE OF ART
SATINDER SATTI, CHAIRPERSON OF THE PUNJAB ARTS COUNCIL ON THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST HER APPOINTMENT
Poet and anchor Satinder Satti, who took over as chairperson of the Punjab Arts Council in October 2015 has managed to convince the Punjab government to pass an order that makes it mandatory for multiplex owners in Chandigarh and Punjab to screen at least one show of Punjabi films in a day. “This will be instrumental in giving a boost to young filmmakers who are not backed by powerful producers. The younger generation of Punjabi filmmakers have been pleading for a long time for dedicated shows in multiplexes,” she says.
However, for this 39-year-old poet and anchor, originally from Batala in Punjab, who has represented the state in different international artistic forums, taking over as chairperson of the Punjab Arts Council in Chandigarh was marked by much criticism. “Many so-called established Punjabi artists complained that I was too young for this post. They insisted that I would not be able to do justice to the position. All this, even before I entered the office. I just don’t understand how can talent and intelligence be directly proportionate to age? Hasn’t this organisation seen several so-called experienced people who have failed to do anything for the artists? I was deeply hurt. Everybody just brushed aside my 16 years of contribution. Where is it written that only those who have crossed their prime are equipped to handle a responsible position?”
Stressing that her aim is to make the Punjab Arts Council a bridge between artists and the state government, Satti says that
“Many so-called established Punjabi artists complained that I was too young for this post.They insisted that I would not be able to do justice to the position. SATINDER SATTI, CHAIRPERSON, PUNJAB ARTS COUNCIL
as soon as she came in, her priority was to get a system in place. “Staff members were reintroduced to their responsibilities and a team of experts from different fields was put into place. For example, theatre director Kewal Dhaliwalwas was made president of the Theatre and Folklore Department, and photographer Diwan Manna president of the Punjab Lalit Kala Akademi. Also, when I came in, the Council didn’t have enough funds. In just a few months, I ascertained that our annual grant was released.”
Planning to introduce fellowships for budding artists and providing space for free workshops, Satti is all set to build a computer room and meeting room for artists at the premises. Talk to her about the lack of cultural policy in the state, and she is quick to say, “I have been exhorting the government for quite some time for this.” The poet and anchor says that the same will help in clearly defining the government’s role and responsibilities towards art and culture and its practitioners. “We will soon have a panel from different fields—theatre, film, dying arts, budding and experienced artists and experts in translation, who will come forward with their suggestions.”