Washington festival to showcase Indian arts and culture

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By Arun Kumar

Washington, Feb 5 (IANS) The prestigious John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts here is holding a mega festival "Maximum India" showcasing Indian arts and culture in all its wonderful divcrsity from March 1-20.

Being held in cooperation with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Embassy of India, "Maximum India" will feature "perhaps not a million, but many wonderful and unusual aspects of the country's diverse arts and culture, from folkloric to classical and contemporary."

It will feature dance, music, and theatre performed by India's most acclaimed artists as also film selections from the world's most robust movie industry, featuring both indie and Bollywood films.

Prize-winning authors reading, debating, conversing, and sharing their insights; exhibitions that astonish and confront; incredible and unimaginable crafts from exquisite collections; jewels that dazzle from the princely era of the Mughals and Maharajas, will be another feature.

And, to top it all, there will be feasts of Indian food for the entire three-week period of the festival, prepared by 12 world-class, award-winning Indian chefs, representing all regions of the country, the Kennedy Centre said.

The performers include some of the most respected names in Indian classical music, L. Subramaniam and Rajan & Sajan Misra; rock band Parikrama; classical and contemporary dance presentations from the Kerala Kalamandalam Kathakali Troupe, Tanusree Shankar Dance Company, Natyalakshana, Odissi Vision & Movement Centre, and Gulabo Sapera & Party; and a glimpse into Bollywood's quintessential song-and-dance routines in Ticket to Bollywood.

The Maximum India logo is a coming together of all the languages that make India the diverse land that it is. It combines the many scripts India has; it showcases its oneness in its diversity. Fusing the scripts with a contemporary type style, the logo is traditional yet contemporary; just like India.

"India amazes with the majesty and mystery of its culture. Its brilliance is that it is a country of extremes-intellect, innovation, survival, and experimentation," it said announcing the festival.

"We have travelled, researched, and scoured the country for the best it can offer, and India offers the maximum. This festival will truly be maximum India," the centre promised.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])