Obamas’ India experience to be showcased at Maximum India fest

Monday, November 15, 2010

NEW DELHI - Maximum India - a festival of India - will be held in Washington in March next year, showcasing Indian textiles, dance, music and cuisine to allow Americans “experience” what US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle experienced in India.

This was stated by US Ambassador Timothy J. Roemer here Monday. The festival of India in US is being held after 26 years.

The festival will be held in Washington March 1-11 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts culture hub.

Romer said: Maximum India will take Indian textiles, dance, music, jewellery, literature and cuisine to US to allow Americans to experience what Barack Obama and his wife experienced in India.

The festival will be a collaboration between the Kennedy Center and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

Some of the programmes at the festival will travel beyond Washington to a broader audience in mobile clusters - a series of performances - under heads like literature, tourism, fashion, Bollywood and archaeological heritage woven around a common theme, ICCR Director General Suresh Goel said.

It has also been ICCR’s dream to have a cultural centre in Washington for a long time. We are moving in the way to have it in place during the festival, Goel said.

A separate section in the festival will focus on Rabindranath Tagore on his 150th birth anniversary next year. The US plays an important part in the Tagore celebrations by hosting several expositions of the Nobel Laureate’s art and works across the country.

The last India festival was a joint initiative between the Indian government and the Smithsonian Institute.

Besides big names like Zakir Husain, Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi, ‘Maximum India’ will celebrate cultural diversity of the country with unique performances such as concerts by the National Symphony Orchestra featuring repertoire influenced by India’s vibrant culture.

The ‘Manganniyar Seduction’ will bring 43 Muslim musicians spanning three generations from the deserts of Rajasthan whose music is a mix of folk and classical Indian styles.

Indian dances will be represented by Odissi performer Madhavi Mudgal, Bharatnatyam exponents Alarmel Valli, Priyadarshini Govind, the Daksha Sheth Dance Company and several others.

According to Alicia B. Adams, vice-president of international programming of the John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts, one of the high points of Maximum India will be a gastronomic carnival.

Twelve Indian chefs from The Taj Group of Hotels, one of the sponsors of the festival, will camp at Kennedy Center from March 1 to cook Indian food for participants and visitors, Alicia Adams said.

The Kennedy Center does not have many Indian presentations. One of the reasons we host international festivals is to tap into those regions which are underserved, Adams said.

Adams was in India to announce the festival.

The focus of the art and crafts sections will be on offbeat. Contemporary artist Jatin Das will display 40 hand fans that he has collected from all over the country, Adams said.

An interactive space for children, Hi, I am India by pop artist duo Thukral and Tagra will break common ground that will allow children to create their own artwork while the Ishara Puppet Theatre will present theatres combining puppetry and imagination.

American audiences like Indian music, books and films. Personally, my family and I were able to appreciate the tradition of India at the opening of the Commonwealth Games that came out through music. I have been to Tagore’s home in Kolkata (Jorasanko)… I enjoyed meeting Aamir Khan at Barack Obama’s dinner last week, Roemer said.

It will increase people-to people contact and strengthen diplomatic ties between both the nations. The first lady had been thanking the Indian people for their hospitality, the ambassador said.

Filed under: Diplomacy

Tags: ,
will not be displayed