The “Festival of India in Kuwait” is being organized from November 8-14, 2009, under the ambit of the India-Kuwait Cultural Exchange Programme 2009-2011 that was signed in April 2009 during the visit to Kuwait by Hon’ble M. Hamid Ansari, Vice President of India. The Festival is being co-hosted by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, and the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL), State of Kuwait.
The Festival would provide glimpses of performing arts and visual arts from various parts of India and give a taste of India’s rich and diverse cultural heritage. Several world famous Indian musicians and dancers would be participating in the Festival, which would also include displays brought from India of contemporary art, folk art, textiles, photographs, calligraphy, dolls, as well as puppet shows, besides henna art application and Kathakali greeters.
The Festival will be held across multiple venues in Kuwait, such as the Kaifan Auditorium, the Grand Mosque, Al-Sadu House, Al-Fanoon Hall, Al-Edwani Hall, Discovery Centre, and the Avenues Mall.
The performing arts events include a flute recital by Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia, santoor recitals by Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, flute recitals by Dr. Rajendra Prasanna, tabla recitals by Rimpa Siva, Odissi dances by Ranjana Gauhar and her troupe, besides performances by exponents of a wide variety of other Indian classical and folk dance styles. Seven dance troupes would be coming to Kuwait and the dance styles on display would include, Manipuri Raas and Phung Cholam from Manipur, Oppanna bridal dance from Kerala, festive warrior dances from Nagaland, Dandia Raas and Garba from Gujarat, Chhau from Bengal, Gidda and Bhangra from Punjab, as well as Odissi from Orissa.
Visual arts on display include an Exhibition of Arabic Calligraphy and an Exhibition of Indian Muslim Religious Posters and Calendar Art brought from the famous Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad, an Exhibition of Indian Woven Textiles including Benaras and Kanjeevaram silk saris and traditional shawls from Kutch, an Exhibition of Traditional Indian Dolls, an Exhibition of Photographs of Mumbai through the Ages, and an Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Art. In addition, Traditional and Shadow Puppet shows would be held, besides demonstration of the weaving of Indian textiles, of Madhubani Folk Art, and of the Traditional Art of Henna Application. Kathakali greeters from Kerala would welcome visitors at many events.
H.E. Mr. Ajai Malhotra, Ambassador of India to Kuwait, stated that “Such a Festival of India is being arranged for the very first time in Kuwait. About 130 artistes and artisans would be coming to Kuwait from different parts of India to participate in the Festival. Many of them are the foremost exponents in the world of their particular art form. Moreover, several of the dance styles that would be on display have never before been seen in Kuwait.”
He conveyed that “The inaugural function of the Festival would be held on the evening of November 8 at the Kaifan Auditorium, Kaifan, under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Minister of Oil and Minister of Information, State of Kuwait.” Ambassador Malhotra also expressed his deep gratitude to H.E. Sheikh Ahmad Al-Abdullah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Minister of Oil and Minister of Information, as well as to H.E. Mr. Bader Sayed Abdulwahab Al-Rifai, NCCAL Secretary General and his staff for “their full support and cooperation in the organization of the Festival”.
Ambassador Malhotra noted that all the exhibitions will be open to the public and have free entrance. Moreover, the folk dance troupes would also perform for the public at the Avenues Mall, where entrance is free. However, functions at the Kaifan Auditorium – the inaugural on November 8, its repeat on November 9, as well as the music and dance evenings on November 11 and 12 and a special event on November 14 – would be by invitation.
Ambassador Ajai Malhotra added: “It is hoped that our Kuwaiti friends and others will enjoy the events that have been planned and that the Festival would further enrich and boost the close partnership and the strong traditional bonds of friendship that so happily unite our two countries and peoples.”