The folk dance, Lavani, has a captivating influence in the audience's eyes. Once on stage, the artists have the power to enchant the beholder's eyes with their exquisitely charming moves and expressions. Lavani, a folk dance whose origin can be traced to the 1560s in the western Maharashtra which later flourished under the Peshwa rule during the 18th Century as the earliest Lavani artistes performed Lavani on the subjects of of society, religions and politics for affluent men, soldiers and kings.
Its rich history but the preconceived notions surrounding the artists, especially women, inspired Swapnali Gaikwad, a classical singer and student of Shri Adinath Mangeshkar, to come out with her new Lavani number 'Potasathi', which roughly translates to 'for the stomach' in English. The new Lavani number, written and composed by Rajan Sarvade, sung by Swapnali Gaikwad, resonates the reality of Lavani artistes, as to how the audience perceives the folk art, and the gaze women Lavani artistes are looked upon.
With the ever-changing dynamics of cinema and films and the representation of Lavani in the movies, which often used as 'dance number' or 'item song', the latter has left impressions on minds of the audience. Swapnali, who hails from a rural area of Marathwada's Latur, has up close and personally seen the artistes and their living conditions and hence, wants to enlighten the general audience about the same.
She herself being a trained classical dancer, believes and wants to promote folk art from her state. Swapnali said that she doesn't know whether people are going to love it or hate it, as it does not pertain to the current social media trends, but she hopes and wishes that the people of Maharashtra and outside at least listen to the stories of these folk artistes. She also demands that the state government provide assistance to the Lavani artistes who have otherwise been out of work due to the pandemic.
Swapnali's vision is simple and that is to showcase the artist's vision and why she chooses to perform Lavani even with stereotypes associated with it. She said, "Instead of taking pride in the art form, we have turned a blind eye towards the art and artistes". This vision can be seen in her upcoming track 'Potasathi'.