The three-month-long Festival of India in Thailand, running through May 25,is a true extravaganza. Organised by the prestigious Indian entertainment company Teamwork Arts, a group that curates over 26 festivals in 15 countries, this sweeping expo features dynamic live shows and brings together cutting-edge artists in music, dance, fashion, art, and literature.
“Cultural diplomacy will continue to foster the close ties between the great civilisations of our two countries,” says the Indian Ambassador to Thailand, HE Harsh Vardhan Shringla. Indeed, the festival was planned in order to commemorate HRH Princess Mahachakri Sirindhorn’s 60th birthday. In her honour, this month includes three highlight events, all of which are free to attend.
The first takes place tonight, March 10, when Raghu Dixit and his band, the Raghu Dixit Project, hop on stage at CentralWorld at 6.30pm.
The group has wowed audiences at music festivals around the world — they even played at Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant in 2012. Dixit, who has a master’s degree in microbiology, is a trained classical dancer and a self-taught guitarist. He and his band play an amalgam of Indian and Western rhythms. This, together with their ethnic clothes and charismatic style, make them a uniquely exciting ensemble. Popular Thai rock band Cocktail will also delight fans at the concert.
On Friday, March 13, a performance by the legendary Indian dancer Daksha Sheth and her troupe will dazzle audiences. Sheth has danced professionally for over four decades, having trained in several dance forms — classical Kathak, Chau, the martial art of Kalaripayattu, and the unique, aerial technique of Mallakhamb.
Her performances have spanned the globe, from the US to China, Finland, and the Middle East. The music, costumes, lighting, and design, all supervised by Sheth’s husband, Australian composer Devissaro, make her productions some of the most visually spectacular in Indian dance today.
All the aforementioned dance forms will be on display in their show, Sari, which will be held at 6.30 pm at the Aksara Theatre (Pullman Hotel). Organisers recommend reserving seats in advance, as the crowd is expected to be rather large. Email [email protected] for more details.
The last event of the month is the Indian Fun Fair, getting going on March 22 at 3pm at Thammasat University. The fair includes a lively performance from Rajasthan Josh. Rolling out tunes with a range of scintillating folk rhythms, including lively Rajasthani music, Punjabi rhythms, and melodious Sufi numbers, the group has gained fame for its one-of-a-kind sound of Western India.
Keep your eyes peeled for Forms of Devotion, an art exhibition that will feature over 30 artists working in a diversity of media, from paintings, drawings, and sculptures to videography. The show includes the work of renowned Indian artists Satish Gupta, SH Raza, Shuvaprassana, Anjolie Ela Menon, and Shobha Broota. It will be on display at the Faculty of Fine Arts Hall at Chulalongkorn from April 27 – May 10.
In May, Words on Water will unite four top Indian writers, including Vikas Swarup, the diplomat-writer whose book Q & A was translated into the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire. Also taking part on the discussion are author and translator Arshia Sattar and spiritual writers Shailendra Gulati and Charu Singh, who have written on various topics concerning Hinduism and Buddhism. This highly anticipated discussion, at which HRH Princess Mahachakri Sirindhorn will make a special appearance, will be held on May 25 at the Main Auditorium atChulalongkorn.
By Lekha Shankar