Washington's Kennedy Center showcasing India's top talent
PRESTIGIOUS KENNEDY Center in Washington DC is hosting a three-week long ‘Maximum India’ festival ending March 20, showcasing India focused events involving dance, music, theater, literature, film, exhibitions, and cuisine, and can cost up to 100 dollar each for a single event.
Prominent festival participants include Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Dilip Basu, Shyam Benegal, Nandita Das, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Hariharan, Zakir Hussain, Girish Karnad, Shankar Mahadevan, Deepa Mehta, Ketan Mehta, Rajan and Sajan Misra, Ashis Nandy, DJ Rekha, Salman Rushdie, Nayantara Sahgal, and Sharmila Tagore, etc.
Special menus are being prepared by 12 master chefs brought from the four corners of India for the entire period of the festival. One session with chef Hemant Oberoi, executive grand chef of Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, costs 100 dollar.
It is also offering a Bhangra class with DJ Rekha, celebratory dance of the snake charmers, brass band music and sari exhibition. About India, the Center's announcement says: It colours life in more hues than there are in a rainbow; offers 300 ways to cook a potato; every few miles, India presents itself differently.
Applauding the Kennedy Center for the India focused festival, distinguished Indo-American statesman Rajan Zed said that performing arts had a long and rich tradition in India.
Rajan Zed, who is Chairperson of Indo-American Leadership Confederation, in a statement in Nevada (United States of America), urged other major performing arts centers of the world to frequently organise India focused festivals, thus sharing India’s rich heritage in performing arts with the rest of the world. Zed urged Kennedy Center to make India festival an annual event.
Various events/performances at the festival include: Odissi, Bharatanatyam, Abhinaya, Chhau, Kuchipudi, Bhangra, Bollywood, Kathakali, etc, dances; mandolin, Rajasthani folk, tabla, carnatic, violin, ghazal, Sufi, thumri, geet, Indo-jazz fusion, sitar, piano, dhol, bhangra-hiphop fusion, etc, music; nati, comedy, plays, puppets, etc, in theater; Tagore-Gandhi letters, reading from ‘The Last Mughal’, etc., in literature.
‘Portrayal of Indian Women in Film’, Mandi (1983), Satyajit Ray’s Devi (1960), Dhobi Ghat (2010), Mirch Masala (1985), etc in films; crafts, jewelry, India for children, pankhas, etc, exhibitions.
Organisations and individuals, who helped in making this festival possible include: Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Washington DC Embassy of India, Indra K Nooyi, David M Rubenstein, Stephen A Schwarzman, Dr Romesh and Kathleen Wadhwani, HRH Foundation, Pepsico, Tata, Tata Consultancy Services, Alice Rubenstein, Trehan Foundation, Amway Corporation, AT&T, and State Plaza Hotel.
The John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts claims to be nation's busiest performing arts center, hosting approximately 3,000 events each year for audiences numbering more than two million. Since 1971, it has been bringing the world to Washington DC with magnificent performances of music, dance, theater, and more. David M Rubenstein is the chairman and Michael M Kaiser is its president.