Oh! what a confluence of dance, theatre, music and the sounds of pung


Bgalay Neena Badhwar

Did we achieve the confluence of two cultures – India and Australia as this Festival of India showcases the best of Indian culture through classical performances, theatre, sufi music, exhibitions not to forget Bollywood for three months moving from one Australian city to the next.

Two cultures – Seven cities as Confluence -Festival of India moves its contingent performing not only just to the Indian diaspora but also the Aussies get to get a glimpse of what India offers on cultural front with its rich traditions and art forms.

The gala event at Sydney’s Opera House on September 18 was amazing a showcase that blended with the sufi and opera genres along with aboriginal dancers performing with beautiful dancers of Nrityagram odissi  dance school and local Madhuram Dance academy. Manipur’s Pung dancers leaping up in twirls around with their drums sounding in unison with the sounds of aboriginal didgeridoo. What a delight it all was for the eyes. And ears.

Raghu 1

Musicians from the Sufi gospel Project accompanied the performance with beautiful dancers from Ruchi Sanghi School of Dance, Durva Gandhi chanting mantras, soprano Heather Lee following her and Babu with his blowing the sounds from a conch shell.   It simply  blew everyone’s breath away. Sonam Kalra’s silky yet deep voice could only suit the environs of a opera house as it  projected to a crowd of over 2000 audience when she sang ‘halelujiah‘.  Did the rivers finally meet and create a  confluence. It did definitely a performance that was class with Sydney witnessing a show as one hour gala passed in a jiffy and people had not had enough. All looked lost when the performance was over. Yet a blend of beautiful Indian dancers moving around aboriginal dancers it was just electric. Two ancient art forms coming together and creating a charismatic and a dream sequence ever to be witnessed by Sydney.  

Raghu Dikshit followed on a totally different note. Some occasional chairs empty perhaps the people felt nothing could compete with what they had witnessed.


People stayed on hankering for more though Raghu Dixit and his group of  three musicians came up with guitars. His simple demeanour won everyone straight away and the music and songs he pelted were mostly in Kanand with Sydney Kanadigas going crazy at each and every delivery. “No Bollywood,” said Raghu Dixit with an emphatic ‘NO’ as he said that there is plenty besides you know what. His music is so basic, primal, full of energy with a texture that just touches the soul. People raised their hands as if hypnotised. Raghu seemed to enjoy himself  as crowd went wild with his every song – from ‘Hey Bhagwan’ to  ‘Mysore se aayi’. If it was his dream to perform at the Sydney Opera house then it was a dream come true for many in the audience to witness him perform.

Since the first performance of Sujata Mohapatra on August 17 in Sydney as the festival kicked off, it has been a series of performances – Nrityagram the highlight with their odissi dance performance in the most fluid movements depicting temple sculptures as if they have come to life with most exquisite dancers performing in unison, in perfect  timing.
Piya berupiaThe play ‘Piya Behrupiya’ – based on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night was just too hilarious. In Hindi that is. It brought loud laughter with its over comedic take as Madame Olivia is paired with every character  causing confusion a disorder in all forms one can think of. It was a drama that sent everyone home in splits.

It has been a concerted showcase of India that Prime Minister Modi had promised in his visit in 2014 and the officials at the High Commission under Mr. Navdeep Suri worked hard for months to bring it to Australia. Still there were some who wondered in the crowd did it get to the notice of general Australia. Were the tickets at $20 too cheap for the Aussie mindset since the gala event was full to the brim by the Indian diaspora  crowd with very few from the mainstream. Indians down under have seen and performed enough  but did the confluence of cultural rivers flow to where it was intended. It is question that we will all ask.

On the way out to catch a train on the night of gala event, one could see the crowd around the pure white beautiful monument of Taj Mahal displayed inside the Opera House. Two great   monuments at one place, two cultures coming together  to help strengthen  our bilateral ties, pictures apart, we have yet to see its tangent results in the coming future. Surely for the time being India is in news till this November. I suggest do not miss what is in store. Visit:  http://confluencefoi.com/

Short URL: https://indiandownunder.com.au/?p=7476