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Around 15 teenage girls with sketch books in hand and colour pencils on their laps sit quietly in Lolita Dutta’s Saket home.

Talent isn’t enough,coaching institutes help aspiring artists to crack the competitive exams

Around 15 teenage girls with sketch books in hand and colour pencils on their laps sit quietly in Lolita Dutta’s Saket home. Some fiddle with a plastic T-shaped object,wondering how to get inspired by it while others make straight,pointy and zigzag lines to depict various moods. No,it’s not one of the usual summer hobby classes. This class is for students who are still in school and are preparing for entrances exams after Class XII to various art,design and architecture colleges in the country. And you thought coaching classes were for medical,engineering,MBA and civil services aspirants only.

A number of teachers and several institutes in the city specialise in preparing students for entrance exams to eminent institutes of the country like National Institute of Design (NID),National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT),Delhi College of Art,Pearl Institute of Fashion,Srishti School of Art,Design and Technology,and School of Planning and Architecture (SPA). And this is the time of the year when aspiring artists sharpen their charcoal at coaching classes. Apart from Dutta’s classes,students head for institutes like Academy of Fashion Studies,in Greater Kailash-II and West Punjabi Bagh,and “Bhardwaj Sir’s” classes in Mayur Vihar.

An NID alumna,Dutta heads the Communication Design department at National Institute of Advertising in Noida. She began teaching by sheer accident: “Years ago I helped two girls prepare for design entrances and they made it to NID. Soon after,I got into guiding students,” she says. “There is no criterion for accepting students in my class but I prefer those with a reference,” says Dutta,as parents of a young boy wait for her in the living room. Flicking gray strands of hair,Dutta doesn’t believe in the “coaching philosophy” and that’s why she applies the informal method of teaching. “The atmosphere is very relaxed. It’s not like a tuition class and that’s why we like it,” says student Veralika Singh.

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Dutta promises individual attention to each student as she teaches them the basics of art and design. Some are working on lines,others on colours,while some admire their social campaign posters. For “object drawing”,students have to pick everyday items like safety pins,bowls and compact mirrors to replicate. Her classes begin from March and continue through the year in her living room. “Students are expected to finish 45 hours in the session. I charge around Rs 20,000 for the course and I have never felt the need to advertise as there are enough students each year,” she says.

Artist Jagmohan Bhardwaj has been guiding students for art and design entrances since 1989. Fondly known as “Bhardwaj Sir” he is popular among those who want to pursue design,art and architecture. Kavya Singh,a former student,is presently at Srishti School of Art,Design and Architecture in Bangalore. “We had study sessions where we worked on our Math,English and Logic. We also had the ‘crit-classes’ where we discussed design and our own work,“ says Singh. Bharadwaj has also roped in his son,Nikhil,a former student from NID,to take design classes. “The next batch starts from July 4. Classes take place on weekends and holidays and they are usually two to four hours long,” says Nikhil. Adds Sapna Kapadia,who graduated from Apeejay Institute of Design,“I attended the course for four to five months and paid around Rs 30,000. These classes helped,” she says.

Teaching has its own reward as Dutta flashes an invitation card to attend Naresh Kukreja’s fashion show. “He was my student a few years ago. I had to convince his father to let him pursue design — he chose NIFT. When he debuted at the Wills Fashion Week in Mumbai,he insisted that I attend the show but I couldn’t make it,” gushes Dutta.

First published on: 21-06-2010 at 06:27:56 am
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