It was 4 p.m. on Sunday, and my family and I had just piled into a yellow cab outside Manhattan's Bryant Park. The 4-year-old twins and their parents were exhausted from a day of watching Indian entertainment, handrcarafts and more at the park. The cabbie who picked us up was a Bangladeshi and was full of questions about the event and the programming. He'd heard about what was going on and wanted to know more. We handed him a brochure and told him about all the India-related stuff going on in the city through Wednesday. The kids loved watching the folk dances, the Bollywood dancing (choreographed by the legendary Saroj Khan, who's the biggest dance choreographer in Mumbai) and seeing the huge, fake Taj Mahal. See the full lineup of events, Sept. 23-Sept 26. Photos below by Shaju John, freelance photojournalist - ask him for reprints, hi-resolution versions: shajujohn2005 at gmail.com.
ALL PHOTOS BY SHAJU JOHN - shajujohn2005 at gmail.com
Big Apple Takes a Big Bite of India
IANS--Friday 31st August, 2007 - The Big Apple is set to get a big bite of India. New Yorkers will savour
Indian song and dance, food and fashion, feel India's incredible energy,
hear about the nation's march into the future, even see a Taj Mahal
replica at a multi-venue festival in September to celebrate 60 years of
Called Incredible India @ 60, the Sep 23-26 festival in Manhattan has been
organised to coincide with the September session of the UN General
Assembly in New York that is attended by thousands of delegates from
across the world.
The mega festival has been organised by the Ministry of Tourism and the
Ministry of Culture of India, and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Co-hosts for individual conferences and panel discussions include BBC,
National Geographic Channel, Columbia University and Asia Society.
A mini Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, celebrating the Indian diaspora,
inaugurates the festival. This event has been organised by the Ministry of
Overseas Indian Affairs and CII at Pier 60 on the Hudson river waterfront.
The opening ceremony of Incredible India @ 60 will be held at the
prestigious Lincoln Center with a specially choreographed production of
music and classical dances of India.
The sand sculpture of Taj will be on view at the Port Authority Bus
Station, New York's main bus terminal. Its creator is Sudarshan Patnaik,
known for his sand sculptures.
An 'Incredbile India' exhibition of photographs by Steve McCurry will be
hosted by the National Geographic Channel at Bryant Park Hotel. Bryant
Park in midtown and South Street Seaport, a mall-cum-museum on the Lower
Manhattan waterfront, are the arenas for dance and music.
The folk forms coming from four corners of India include Bhangra, Garba,
Yakshagana, Sufiana and Rangeela Bihu.
Bollywood, which used to be barred from India festivals of yore, also
finds its well-deserved place here. Bollywood Live and Mumbai Masala
will feature contemporary dances from Indian films.
There will be fusion music too - created by Remo Fernandes, Colonial
Cousins, Louis Banks, Sivamani and others.
And New York Library is to host a sarod recital by Amjad Ali Khan and
his two sons, Amaan and Ayaan.
Bryant Park is the venue for fashion shows by leading Indian designers
such as Ritu Kumar, Raghavendra Rathore and Wendell Rodericks. Indian
handicrafts and handlooms will also be on display there.
For a culinary experience of India - culinary demonstrations, tasting of
Indian food and beverages - New Yorkers can go to South Street Seaport.
Top chefs such as Manjit Gill and Hemant Oberoi are flying down for this
event and Indian restaurants in New York will offer special menus and
gifts to their customers during the event.
Conferences and panel discussions will focus on the socio-economic
progress made so far in India and the roadmap for the future.
India Conference with the Asia Society will be held at New York Hilton
Hotel. And Columbia University in collaboration with the Earth Institute
hosts a conference on India's looming water crisis.
'Cherishing Democracy, Sharing Prosperity' is the title of a panel
discussion organised by BBC World and moderated by Tim Sebastian,
presenter of Hard Talk show, to be held at the New York Metropolitan
Yale Club hosts two panel discussions - 'India 2050-A Grand Strategy for
India Rising' and 'Women and Global Leadership'.
Travel + Leisure magazine presents an interaction with the travel trade
honchos at Hotel Pierre.
Private events and receptions have also been organised by the
Rockefeller Center, Citigroup and Louis Vuitton Store, 5th Avenue.
The entire event is being promoted by an advertising campaign that
includes outdoor publicity, daily programme cards and e-mailers.
The scale of the festival reflects the importance of the US travel market
to India. In the current year, the number of US tourist arrivals is
estimated at over 850,000 - 18-19 percent of all tourists coming to India.
Besides the New York festival, the tourism ministry is holding a one-day
event in London on Sep 2, showcasing the country's wealth in terms of art,
music and creativity.