Singapore begins another round of festivities

Hot on the heels of the colourful Deepavali Festival comes another grand offering in the form of ‘Kalaa Utsavam,’ Singapore’s annual Indian Festival of the Arts.

The ten-day Festival will be held from November 15 to 24, 2013 at the Esplanade, with an opportunity for lovers of the arts to enjoy the best of Indian music ranging from traditional and folk to contemporary Indian pop fusion.

The Utsavam will also feature various graceful and elaborate dance forms, the best of Indian theatre and conversations with two of India’s best-selling superstar authors Chetan Bhagat and Amish Tripathi.

A storytelling session for children, ‘Forest Fables: Animals of Mischief,’ will be an added attraction.

Run in conjunction with major cultural celebrations in Singapore including ‘Huayi,’ the Chinese Festival of Arts to mark the Chinese New Year and ‘Pesta Raya,’ the Malay Festival of Arts, the forthcoming Indian Festival aims to give various communities a platform to come together and celebrate their culture and heritage.

Described as a veritable kaleidoscope of the best of contemporary and Indian traditional arts, the event began in 2002 and has grown over the years to evince the interest of wider communities.

Boosting literature

Literary arts have been given a boost with the presence of Bhagat and Tripathi, whose revolutionary works reflect not only the mass appeal of modern Indians to their everyday English language but also the richness of recent Indian literary works.

Despite modern distractions and viewing the English language is a tool to a better social and professional life, Indian youth have taken to reading fiction like never before. Bhagat, whose novel became a Hindi blockbuster (‘The Three Idiots’), sees himself as a reformer and communications guru, while Shiva trilogy author Tripathi says that writing is ‘a spiritual process.’

Their works have been pushing boundaries with engaging varieties of writing skills.

Dance & Theatre

Traditional and contemporary offerings at the Utsavam will include the dance-theatre production ‘Angkor-Dance of the Apsaras’ by dancer Priyadarshini Govind, ‘Taal Express’ by a local 30-member orchestra and dance ensemble of the Temple of Fine Arts ‘Samarupa: Beyond Beauty’ by local Carnatic vocalists Sushma Somasekharan and Chitra Poornima Satish.

The Festival will also feature ‘Manodharma’ by child prodigy Abhishek Raghuram, ‘Antaryatra-The Journey Within’ by dancer Dr Janaki Rangarajan, ‘Flowers’ by Rage Theatre from India, Colonial Cousins Hariharan and Leslie Lewis and a unique Indo-German theatre collaboration called ‘C Sharp C Blunt.’

While last year’s Festival drew 40,000 people, this year promises to be a bonanza for enthusiasts with 64 ticketed and non-ticketed performances.

I look forward to sharing my experience in the ensuing editions.

Dr V Subramaniam is our Singapore Correspondent

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