Soft power unleashed with cultural fiesta

From October 3, the city will be playing host to not only over 7,000 athletes but also a host of artistes and Bollywood personalities as well. Shankar Mahadevan, Kailash Kher, Hariharan, Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Hariprasad Chaurasia and other well-known musicians and singers will be in the capital — helping Delhi celebrate the Commonwealth Games.

Said Rina Ray, principal secretary (culture), Delhi government, “The idea is to showcase the Delhi Games 2010 as a fortnight-long festival. Everyday, there will be a cultural event in diverse parts of the city. For this, we have invited a galaxy of artistes to participate.” The cultural extravaganza, billed as Delhi Celebrates, will not only bring singers and musicians to the city but also theatre personalities, well known chefs, artisans, poets and litterateurs.

The names confirmed by Ray are certainly impressive. While hard-core classical music fans can look forward to concerts by Hariprasad Chaurasia, Vishwamohan Bhatt, Sujat Khan and Chunnu Lal at the Kamani auditorium, those looking for modern music can head to Qutub complex, where Kailash Kher, Mohit Chauhan, Shankar Mahadevan, Louis Banks and Shivamani will perform. Theatre buffs, meanwhile, can look forward to not only a theatre festival at the National School of Drama (Jashn-e-bacchpan) but also at the Ansari auditorium in the Jamia Millia Islamia in Jamia Nagar (Jashn-e-dilli). The latter in fact, is scheduled to take off from September 18, and will have plays by Tom Alter (Ghalib), Shabana Azmi and Javed Akhtar (Kaifi aur Mein) and a children’s play (Idgaah) by Munshi Premchand. Musicals will be on at the Sangeet Natak Academy and Shri Ram centre as well.

Those interested in ghazals and qawwallis can head to Town Hall in Chandni Chowk, where maestros like Jagdish Singh, Nida Fazli and Radhika Chopra will perform. At Central Park, the government is planning a youth festival. Amateur rock bands from colleges and schools will perform in the evening here while laser shows and fireworks will also go on. In the daytime, kite flying and giant puppets from Dadi Padamjee will dot Central Park.

Film aficionados needn’t worry. A film festival will start from October 4 at the Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT) in Dwarka, where films from India and the Commonwealth nations will be showcased. Here, tourists and other visitors can also indulge in hands-on experiences like pottery, Madhubani painting and regional martial arts. Across town in the Indira Gandhi National Centre, a photo-exhibition in association with INTACH will start from October 4.
It’s not just theatre and music though. Foodies can also look forward to the Delhi 2010. A series of culinary festivals have been planned for the Games period. In fact, at Dilli Haat in INA, a festival, the Best of India, showcasing handicraft, handloom and cuisine has already started, and will go on till October. Each day here, there will be a state day with food from that state being showcased, besides a pavilion for Dilli ka khana, which will be mostly from the Walled City. You can also get a taste of exotic cuisines with the international festival at the Dilli Haat in Pitampura. Cuisines from countries like Thailand and UK will be on offer here, while along the Baba Kharag Singh Marg, the Delhi government in association with the ministry for tourism will host the Incredible India festival, where food and handicrafts will be displayed.

The cultural events will take place every evening. Meanwhile, the shopping and food festivals will be day-long events. The concerts will have two artists performing each day. Most events are scheduled to start from October 3 and will go on till October 13-14, though some will start off a bit earlier – Timesofindia