Events Lite Blogs UK News

A refreshing Weekend of soulful music, songs, and poetry

The 10th Anniversary celebration of RadhaRaman Festival being held virtually this year…making it possible for audiences from all corners of the globe to take part in this ethereal experience, of three days and night long cultural enchantment. – reports Asian Lite news desk

 A 10-year celebration of RadhaRaman Folk Festival based in Leeds is happening virtually this year on 27, 28, and 29 November 2020. The three-day festival, featuring some world-leading performers from all across the world has already created wide followers from the UK and Europe.  More than 12 hours of exciting sessions of music, dance, poetry, and talk every day will be streaming live on the RadhaRaman Festival page on Facebook and youtube.

Fabian Hamilton the shadow secretary of peace and disarmament, a veteran member of British parliament said in a congratulation message for the 10-year celebration of the festival – “this is the best treat during Covid for the global audience, such a great line-up of folk music and dance from many cultural traditions, this is something that I am absolutely looking forward to.”

Sadia Islam Mou, Tanna Khan and Farhana Chowdhury performing for the festival

The festival curator , one of the founders of RadhaRaman Society, London, TM Ahmed Kaysher thinks, “The festival traditionally is promoting the joy of life through hosting the session around the lyrical nature of Leeds along with the formal art and community venues. This is one of the rare festivals where people from different cities, different traditions come together and enjoy the beauty of predominantly Bengali folk music and folk dance all day and almost all night. So, during Covid, the festival has a special significance because it is bringing happiness through a three-day long hypnotic presentation of arts and music by few world-leading artists. The festival will open a horizon of joy all three days from the mid-noon to 2am every day.

The inauguration will feature a panel discussion by three Leeds-based MPs Fabian Hamilton, Richard Burgon, and Alex Sobel as well as the former governor of Cayman Island Anwar Chowdhury. The planning minister of Bangladesh M A Mannan, the minister of state for cultural affairs KM Khalid, the member of Bangladesh parliament Muhibur Rahman will join the inauguration from Bangladesh along with other distinguished guests from the UK and abroad.

Parvathy Baul

The festival is bringing some finest performers from different traditions that include the Bhajan king Anup Jalota, the head of Banaras Gharana of Indian classical music Pt Kumar Bose, the finest violin player of this generation Vidushi Kala Ramnath, a leading Tagore singer of this time Jayati Chakraborti, Parvathy Das Baul, Raju Das Baul from India, prominent actor and the former culture minister of Bangladesh Asaduzzaman Noor, folk singer Ashik, Bengali experimental music composer Bappa Mazumdar, talented Tagore singer Shreetama Roy, dancer, and actor Aupee Karim, Sadia Islam Mou, Tanna Khan, Farhana Chowdhury and Nilanjana Jui of Nritya Shaily from Bangladesh.

Jayati Chakraborty, a leading Bengali singer from India said, “It’s a special honour to be invited to perform as part of the 10-year celebration of the festival. The idea of the festival is really intriguing, bringing the best of south Asian and global arts at the lap of the beautiful nature. Congratulations to the festival and the team during this 10-year celebration. I heard a lot on the beauty of Yorkshire Dales, and I look forward to joining physically at the festival. 

Anup Jalota

An award-winning Scottish musician Simon Thacker, Lebanese-Canadian-Greek musician Lara Eidi, Moroccan Oud and Nai player Hassan Erraji, Schubert vocalist Eric Schelander, Persian Setar and Tambura player Niknaz Mirghalami, Persian dancer Lily Niloufar will also join different days in different talk and performance sessions.

The leading intellectuals and academicians from Bangladesh and India e.g. the former vice-chancellor of Assam University Prof Tapodhir Bhattacharjee, the former vice-chancellor of Rabindra Bharati university prof Pabitra Sarkar, the former vice-chancellor of Gauro Banga university prof Gopa Datta Bhowmik, the high commissioner of Bangladesh in the UK Saida Muna Tasneem, the former chairman of public service commission of Bangladesh poet Muhammed Sadique, the vice-chancellor of the University of Barishal Sadequl Arefin, the former director-general of Bangla Academy Shamsuzzaman Khan will participate as the panellists for a discussion on folk music and its relevance with modernity.  

The festival will also feature the performances of some finest UK based artists Gouri Chowdhury, Sanjoy Dey,  Sumana Basu, Sufi Amir Muhammed, Amith Dey, Sohel Ahmed, Sonia Sultana, Laboni Barua, Indrani Ghosh Sen, Jessy Barua, Poppy Shahnaz, Jahangir Rana, Arundhati Mukherjee as well as some child prodigies Tanisha Chowdhury and Anvita Gupta.  

Kumar Bose

 “The festival aims to promote the joy and happiness of life through folk music and dance. This has been promoting the lyrical landscapes of the North by hosting sessions of music, dance and networking in the middle of the forest like Otley Chevin, by the Scammonden Lake etc. along with other formal art and community venues”, said Kaysher.

RadhaRaman society propagates the glory of Bengali secular philosophy and deep humanism through folk music, dance and other collaborative art forms. It engages young people, socially excluded women, too, into the pride-worthy cultural heritage of Bengal through highly connecting art activities and deliberately play a vital role to combat growing religious fanaticism. It’s annual folk festival is already considered now as the biggest Bengali cultural and art festival in the North which connected the audience from London, Birmingham, Manchester, Oldham, Bradford, Rochdale etc. on top of the local audience from mainly the east as well as other areas of Leeds.

Jayati Chakraborty

An extraordinary poet himself, Kaysher is also well known as one of the founding members of Saudha, society of poetry and Indian music, and the Gronthee, an experimental bilingual poetry magazine. He adds, “RadhaRaman Festival drew the attention of the audiences from different cities of the UK because of its unique nature of hosting sessions all day and all night. The audience ends up with a memorable experience of witnessing music and dance performances happening all day all night, sometimes at the deeper forest while barbecuing, sometimes at the bank of the lake while networking with people from one tradition to another, one corner to another. The audience goes home with tears after three days of human-bonding that arts and music creates in the lap of lyrical nature of the North.”

Supported by one of the leading Indian classical music promoters in the UK Saudha Society of poetry and music, the Gronthee, the Nehru Centre, SAA UK, Sangeet Foundation, and many prestigious organisations from all across the world, the festival will run from 2 pm (UK time) each day.

Radha Raman Folk Festival (UK) starts from 2 pm-2 am daily, Friday, 27th  November – Sunday 29th November 2020

To watch –


Bollywood Events Lite Blogs

Stars ready for low-key Diwali Celebs

Diwali celebrations this year will be a low-key affair for most Bollywood celebrities owing to the ongoing pandemic. For some, the pandemic has barred them from reuniting with their families in their hometowns. For others, Diwali will be more of a low-key homely affair as they plan to avoid attending big parties to ensure social distancing.

Aparshakti Khurana is rooting for a green Diwali this year owing to health scare of Covid patients. “As much as we all want this Diwali to be like other Diwalis, we have to remember that we are in the middle of a pandemic. Therefore, we should wear masks and take other precautionary measures. Also, I always encourage a green Diwali, but this year we need to have a green Diwali more than ever. Because there are Covid patients for whom pollution can be dangerous. So, being empathetic about the people around us is how we should celebrate this Diwali,” he said.

For Ishita Dutta, Diwali will be a low-key affair at home with family members. “Just like Ganpati Utsav, Navaratri and Durga Puja, Diwali is also going to be different. Generally for Diwali there are a lot of parties in the city where friends and families get together but this year is going to be very different so we are keeping it very low key. We are doing a small pre-Diwali party at home where only family members will be present. We will make sweets at home and decorate the house. Even if we are not going out, we will still dress up at home, light diyas and make rangolis to keep up with the festive spirit. But we will not burst crackers as I’m totally against it,” she told IANS.

For Manav Kaul, this Diwali brings the pain of not being able to meet his family in his hometown as he is unable to travel. The actor shared: “Due to the pandemic, this Diwali l can’t visit and spend time with my mom, who stays in Indore with my brother. I like Diwali with less noise, so hopefully people won’t use loud firecrackers. I will be at home and will cook for my friends. That will be my Diwali with lots of light and good music.”

Mamta Sharma is missing her mega Diwali shopping and is upset as she won’t be able to hug her near and dear ones while wishing them on the festival owing to social distancing. The singer expressed: “I have always loved Diwali! I love phooljhari, sweets and shopping. This time I really missed out on the freedom of shopping due to the pandemic. I did a little bit of shopping for Diwali but did not enjoy it like I do every year. Another sad part is that I won’t be able to embrace my loved ones while wishing them Happy Diwali as I will have to follow social distancing. So, this Diwali is different from the other years.”

The singer added: “I really want this pandemic to go away very soon and once that happens, I would want to celebrate the real Diwali once again.”

Diwali celebrations however, remain unaffected for those who generally stay away from ringing in the festival of lights in a big way. Talking about the same, actress Aahana Kumra shared: “My Diwali will be the same this year apart from the fact that I usually go and visit friends. This year I will be home and I have already done all the lighting, rangoli and other decoration to prepare my home. I am not somebody who likes to hop around too much ,and like to be in my cosy home. So this year will be not much different for me.”

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Bollywood Celebrity Events Fashion

Glorious Wedding On ‘Kashmir To Kanyakumari’ Theme

Wedding designer Ambika Gupta has shared details from the wedding of filmstar Kajal Aggarwal, giving an idea of all that went into making the day special amidst the pandemic.

Kajal married Gautam Kitchlu on October 30 and Ambika was chosen by Kajal’s family to create the wedding experience. The entire wedding was designed around the theme ‘Kashmir to Kanyakumari’ by Ambika. The post-lockdown scenario was naturally a challenge for the wedding designer.

“Kajal and her family were extremely particular about safety and we rigorously followed all protocols without compromising on the aesthetics and the keen eye for detail, they wanted. We observed Covid-19 precautions as specified by the Maharashtra government and the 60-70 guests and members of the crew who were present at the wedding had to go through health clearances beforehand,” Ambika said.

How Kajal discovered the Chennai-based Ambika is also an interesting story.

“It was completely serendipitous. Kajal’s sister Nisha took a brief look at my portfolio, and after a few calls and meetings we were on,” Ambika reecalled.

“Not a flashy person herself, Kajal wanted her wedding to be understated but elegant. Keeping that in mind and noticing their roots in the respective cultural legacies that she and her husband share, I came up with the complete idea. During the question-answer round Gautam told me that he is from Kashmir and hence I came up with the ‘Kashmir to Kanyakumari’ theme and we brought it all to life in just over 35 days,” she added.

Drawing from diverse cultural references, Ambika ideated and designed the ambience of ‘Brijwasi Krishna bagh’, a Radha and Krishna-themed puja at Kajal’s home.

For the Haldi and Mehendi, a French bistro at Churchgate was transformed into a Kitsch Mandi as a tribute to the artisans of India who have been hard-hit by the onset of Covid-19.

“Kajal wore a specially handcrafted weave by Madhurya creations, which is an initiative to support weavers and revive traditional crafts. She has a soft spot for the unsung weavers of India and her wedding was the perfect opportunity to give back to them in some way,” said Ambika.

Kajal has always urged her fans and followers to support small businesses, and she urged Ambika’s team to convert the French ambience into an authentic artisanal experience. They curated and designed a backdrop made of Pettis, or traditional contraptions used by coconut tree climbers.

Other aspects that drew attention were the Kutch workmanship in furnishings, traditional dry palm weaves all round, and also a Chettinad console, and brass pots with banana leaves.

The wedding venue was the Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, where Kashmiri design details were incorporated as a nod to Gautam’s heritage, since the groom is a Kashmiri. The theme was ‘Shikara: Voyage of Love’, and it drew from the beauty of Kashmir, by mirroring mountain ranges and the Dal Lake.

“The mandap was majestic and reminiscent of a pyramid. This was an ode to hilly terrains of Kashmir and also representative of the merging of the self and the soul. It was held together by gold frames and translucent baby pink screens. The mandap also bore intricate details of a Shikara, with panelling reminiscent of Kashmir’s houseboats with their wooden jaalis. Adding to the warmth were powder blue pashmina embroidery pieces captured in diamond set frames. Each guest was given a silver bell with a personalised note,” Ambika said.

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Events Lifestyle Lite Blogs

Have Some Festive Additions To Home

Redo your home artfully for the festivities.

Come the festive season, and homes turn into a melting pot of culture, family and warm cheer. Transforming your abode with a special focus on traditional arts and colour is something that can add to festive joy…writes Siddhi Jain.

Festive additions like a Madhubani or Worli painting, a carpet done in pallet of golden and crimson, or wallpapers are an option, and can truly transform a room.

Festivities come alive with colours. Most people will now turn to giving a facelift to their homes as is customary. With walls, kitchenware, a little furniture polish here and there and some linen upgrades, we are all set to welcome the festivities with enthusiasm and aplomb. There is no better time or way to co-create beautiful transformations to the house, says Manoj Rathi, Head, U&Us home design studio.

The Diwali home redress. (Photo: Unsplash)

“Bright and peppy interior decor is the best way to capture the spirit of celebration. Regional traditional art forms like Madhubani art, artefacts along with wall art can be used very effectively to create a beautiful inviting ambience which is a rich potpourri of culture. Accent coloured/print wallpapers are a great way of giving an instant festive vibe to your humble abode,” Rathi told IANSlife.

According to Lalitesh Manderkar, General Manager – Design at Godrej Interio, redecorating the house is also one tradition during festivities.

“On festivals we dress ourselves with festive clothing and our homes with flowers and colourful rangoli. The festival rituals and traditions help in many ways that people aren’t always cognizant of. Colours and patterns have different symbolic relevance in diverse cultures, and this integrated in celebrations in one way or the other and also uplifts spirits.


It is during these festive times that we welcome our family and friends into our homes to celebrate, for which we prep our homes in many ways deep cleaning of the house, paint the walls, purchase new furniture or furnishings etc,” he said.

People can also turn to brands like Godrej Interio, to prepare their homes for the auspicious days with colourful and elegant decor, sofa and upholstery fabrics, and even opt for traditional folk art on their furniture and wardrobes.

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Events Lite Blogs Travel & Tourism

Explore Local Destinations On Diwali

This Diwali go local with amazing drive down destinations to beat Delhi’s noxious air.

As the pollution levels in the Delhi-NCR region again entered the “severe-plus” category, Delhis travelers are exploring new drive down destination to escape from the alarming pollution level. A recent survey conducted by has revealed that people have been taking smaller journeys, and discovering (or rediscovering) wonderful experiences closer home with ease in travel restrictions. In a bid to encourage more footfall on domestic tourism destinations, the Tourism Ministry has also started “Dekho Apna Desh” campaign asking Indians to take pledge to visit at least 15 different tourism locations in India by the year 2022. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also urged states to promote domestic tourism while ensuring that the health and hygiene protocols are followed at all tourist destinations and hospitality units. The quest to choose offbeat yet drive down destinations around Delhi/NCR is on the rise. One of the biggest factors is the alarming pollution level which is expected to be on peak around Diwali…writes Puja Gupta.

Be it bag packers, corporate groups, families or friends, people are preferring to drive down to their nearby getaways for short and relaxed staycations. There are few unexplored and offbeat destinations around Delhi which are Instagram worthy, tucked in nature’s lap and offers exceptional experiences to new world travelers. These hidden gems around Delhi have already started receiving a large number of bookings and queries from Delhi/NCR.

“This year there is a significant jump in short staycations around Diwali. As compared to last year we have received almost 60% hike in guest queries for festive season. The new trend of exploring short distance destinations and the poor air quality of Delhi and NCR has heavily contributed to this shift.” says Kr. Roop Pratap Choudhary, MD, Noor Mahal and Jewel Groups of Hotel.

Some of the below-unexplored short distance travel destinations are receiving huge demand from Delhiites. These venues have become the chosen destinations as people are no longer venturing out to far-off places for long vacations.

NoorMahal, Karnal- In the mystical land of Mahabharata, awe-inspiring Noor Mahal, the “Incredible Indian Palace Hotel” has been built on a monumental scale. It is a five-star luxury palace hotel inspired by India’s rich heritage and captures royalty experience enjoyed by Indian Maharajas over the centuries. Noor Mahal enjoys proximity to Delhi, Chandigarh and other cities of Punjab & Haryana. It is very accessible from the IGI Airport. With lush green fields and farms around, the hotel is situated on the old course of river Yamuna traversing its way to Delhi and gives the true royal experience.

This palace hotel has possibly more antiques and artworks than any other museum in the world. Noor Mahal with its palatial architecture wins hands down on history, character and convenience. The hotel was conceptualized some ten years ago with inspiration from the architecture marvels and opulent royalty from the era of Indian maharajas. The framed 9th generation artisans of ‘The Janam’ clan from Mewar region in Rajasthan were called upon to show case their delicate, intricate paintings and artwork within the entire hotel, turning the hotel into an artisan’s delight. The entire hotel has such artwork at every corner, interiors embellished with decorative domes, hand-painted frescos, motifs made with pure gold leaves, intricate mirror work and beautifully handcrafted artefacts to create an ambience of regal splendour.

Neemrana Fort Palace, Neemrana- Neemrana takes a lot of pride in being a premier heritage hotel of Rajasthan as also a unique hotel of India. This awe-inspiring heritage hotel near Delhi Jaipur highway is a perfect destination for your regal vacation in Jaipur. While It is to discover an absolute delight to view and visit, Neemrana involves many steps and ramps to discover the 14tiered property. You might not be able to find the standard comforts of a regular hotel here, instead, Neemrana Fort-Palace, being one of the oldest and best heritage resort near Jaipur, takes you on a grand experience which truly immerses you back into the past five centuries.

This 15th-century heritage hotel in Rajasthan is among the most popular resorts near Delhi for weekend breaks and is ideal to invent your own past at the dream site of history. Nine palace wings built over 14 levels tiered into a hill across 2.5 hectares/ 6 acres of garden-palace, make this heritage hotel one of the best places to stay near Jaipur. Hanging gardens, two pools to swim out to the horizon, an Ayurvedic spa, and India’s first zip-line is what the world comes to experience! One stay here will get you started on the discovery of the oldest and best resorts near Delhi that Neemrana has on offer.

Narendra Bhawan, Bikaner- Narendra Bhawan Bikaner is a design boutique hotel in Bikaner, a desert outpost in the state of Rajasthan. The hotel in its new avatar retells the story of the last reigning Maharaja of Bikaner, His Highness Narendra Singhji (1948-2003). Designed by Ayush Kasliwal, Narendra Bhawan Bikaner is unconventionally curated and celebrates a life’s passage through time; from that of a royal birth to a global bon vivant and subsequently to a socialist who fully embraced the idea of a new, democratic India.

Set in an urban landscape, Narendra Bhawan Bikaner is designed to lure guests’ gaze inwards, drawing their attention to uniquely created quarters. Experiences at Narendra Bhawan, tap into the memories of its original incumbent and takes its guests on a journey through his past wherein the best moments of his life are translated into an array of gastronomic and destination specific experiences. The warmth with which the staff of Narendra Bhawan welcomes its guests is simply uncanny.

ALOHA on the Ganges, Rishikesh- Just 225 kilometers north of India’s capital, New Delhi, and easily accessible by rail, road and air, this exquisite resort in Rishikesh ‘Aloha on the Ganges’ is located right on the banks of the Ganges River close to the Laxman Jhulla, in a very serene and peaceful environment. The setting of the resort on the fast-flowing Ganges, surrounded by forested hills, is conducive to meditation and mind expansion. In the evening, the breeze blows down the valley, setting temple bells ringing as sadhus (spiritual men), pilgrims and tourists prepare for the nightly Ganga Aarti.

Aloha on the Ganges is not just a resort in Rishikesh that will leave you breathless with the enchantment of its surroundings, but assists in enabling you to experience both physical and mental relaxation and realize the importance of a moment of calm and personal space in your everyday life. In absolute terms, Aloha on the Ganges is the ultimate escape from the mundane to the spiritual, where every corner spells harmony and every colour soothes the senses.

CorbettLeela Vilas, Jim Corbett- The Corbett Leela Vilas is amongst the most magnificent jungle resorts in India. This is the best place to relax and have a stress free time away from the commotion of city life. The Jungle Leela Resort is the name that rules all around the Bizrani and Dhikala zones where large gatherings of wildlife lovers can be found to experience the tremendous safari moments. Residing in a very tranquil and peaceful location, Jungle Leela Resort is one of the best Luxury Corbett Resorts embedded with luxury cottages in the vicinity and is superbly known for its magnanimously personalized luxury services and superfine foods.

By stretching across the area of 2.5 acres, Jungle Leela Resort is composed of 12 luxury cottages designed in a very eloquent manner to impress all its guests bringing the tender natural feeling and ambience with a touch of luxury services, with mango orchards all around the vicinity. Each cottage with an area of 850 sq ft is decked with wooden flooring and mud-tiles on the roof to adorn the cottage in a more natural way. Bringing more fascination to it, each cottage with 1 living and 1 bedroom set is flourished with luxury Jacuzzi, an ideal set defined for a small family to spend the leisure holidays at Corbett. The cottages are also defined with large swimming pools, with separate arrangements for lovely kids (lying side by side) and with separate provisions for the drivers at the vicinity. The Jungle Leela Resort is being designed especially for the niche clientele to fetch all sorts of personalized services making the wildlife tour more impressive and remembering.

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Bollywood Events Films Lite Blogs

‘Global Taj Int’l Film Festival’ Starts from Nov 6

Ten countries to participate in the second Taj International Film Festival.

The second edition of the three-day ‘Global Taj International Film Festival’ is set to begin in Agra this Friday at the Jubilee Hall of Agra University. Entries from 10 countries will be screened, including a large number of independent works by local filmmakers.

The members of the film fraternity congregating in Agra for the festival will discuss the viability of the Film City coming up at Greater Noida. The Uttar Pradesh government has already acquired the land and major plans are in the pipeline to lure Bollywood film producers, said members of the Festival’s Organising Committee.

Festival Director Suraj Tiwari told IANS, “Despite the limitations imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, we are going ahead with the event taking all necessary precautions. Films from 10 countries will be screened during the three-day festival. Films promoting messages highlighting social issues are being given prominence. Apart from feature films, short films, documentaries, animation films and music videos will be screened.”

The film festival is supported by the KMI Hindi Institute of Agra University. Institute Director Pradeep Shridhar said, “Talks by specialists and workshops for film buffs with ‘Question and Answer’ (Q&A) sessions with film directors, critics and technicians will be added attractions of the festival.

Tiwari told IANS that most people knew about film industry pioneer Dadasaheb Phalke but very few know anything about his wife Saraswati Phalke, who was the first woman technician in India. To recognise her contribution we have instituted an award in her name. This will be awarded to a female film technician.

The three-day festival will be attended by producers, directors, representatives from various production houses, writers, and artists from India and abroad. The shooting locations in Agra and nearby areas will also be showcased. Vipin Goje’s cinematography workshop and Masters’ Talk Show will be moderated by film critic Mahesh Dhakad.

The festival organisers said the opening ceremony would be attended by several prominent people from the industry. The jury comprises of Vinod Ganatare, Aakash Aaditya Lama, Jitendra Sharma, actress Putul Gupta and actor Umesh Bajpayee.

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Events Lite Blogs Theatre

Boosting The Morale Of Theatre Fraternity

The Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival, India’s biggest privately-run theatre festival, will be held in an abridged form over a single weekend this month.

The Festival, featuring five plays, will not only be a tribute to theatre legend Qadir Ali Baig but will also be an occasion to thank Covid-19 warriors, boosting the morale of both the country’s theatre fraternity and theatre lovers.

The prestigious Festival, now in its 15th year, is curated by leading theatre personality Mohammad Ali Baig, a Padma Shri awardee.

The Festival, scheduled on November 20-22, is being presented by Government of Telangana’s Department of Information and Public Relations and Telangana Tourism and Radisson Blu Plaza.

An abridged Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Festival amid Covid.

Mohammed Ali Baig said that every year the Foundation organises the Festival over 10 days across multiple venues in Hyderabad. However, this year in view of the pandemic the Foundation, which hosts 150 artistes from all over the globe, is presenting the Festival in an abridged format over a single weekend.

The Festival this year will feature plays from classics of Kalidas to the absurdism of Mrozek, from mythological fare and lockdown stories, from ‘Dastangoi’ and monologues to comedy and dramatised reading, from Rajasthan, Delhi and Assam, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana

The Festival will see staging of plays from K.V. Subbanna, Heeba Shah, Mohammad Ali Baig with actors Danish Husain, Bhageerathi, Suchitra Krishnamoorthi, Daulat Vaid and others.

The theatre festival will be live with online bookings on and will be streamed online at a later date.

Theatre lovers will be treated with plays like Danish Hussain’s ‘Dastangoi’, a delightful journey across cultures and continents through the traditional, vibrant storytelling format, K. V. Subbanna’s ‘Shakuntala Ke Saath Ek Dopehar’, a modern day look at Kalidasa’s heroine Shakuntala through a glimpse of an afternoon in her life and ‘Striptease’, renowned Polish playwright Slawomir Mrozek’s hilarious perspective of freedom and expression through this absurdist play about two middle class men who find themselves confined in a single space.

The other play is ‘Dona’, written by Arun Kolatkar and directed by Daulat Vaid. It is a lyrical poem drawn from an incident in the Ramayana. It highlights the ideological social distances between the young and the old as well as the ancient and the modern, while questioning if human culture is the best.

The Festival will conclude with Qadir Ali Baig Theatre Foundation’s ‘Alone’ written by Noor Baig and directed by Mohammad Ali Baig, it features Suchitra Krishnamoorthi. A dramatization of Noor Baig’s short story, it is about a yesteryear star who during the pandemic lockdown reflects on her solitude and the many characters she has played in her life.

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Celebrity Events Lite Blogs

Bhumi Celebrates The Sparkle Of Diwali

It has been a challenging year, but come the season of festivities and it’s all about the sparkles and celebrations. It has also been a year where many have discovered themselves and found their inner light. Bollywood actress Bhumi Pednekar spreads some cheer as she joins hands with Swarovski to celebrate the journey of self-discovery and inspiration in its latest campaign #CelebrateTheSparkle. To mark the occasion of Diwali, the brand has curated a brilliant selection of jewellery, watches and accessories that inspire women to express themselves.

Pednekar is among a handful of actresses who is not only celebrated for her work in the industry but also for being vocal towards the betterment of the society, whether it is through her social work towards climate change or the kind of roles she does which challenge societal norms. IANSlife caught up with the multifaceted personality and Swarovski to find out more about how they represent today’s modern woman. Read Excerpts:

It has been a challenging year, but also one of self-discovery. During this lockdown, have you discovered any interest and habits you never thought you had?

It’s been a tough year and I have discovered a lot about myself. But I think more than discovery, there were thoughts and things that I always had in my mind but never had the time to do those things. And in this lockdown, I started experimenting with a couple of things that I realised I really enjoy doing; for example – gardening, my mom and I, we created a kitchen garden, only to realise later that it’s seasonal because of Bombay’s monsoons. There was a point when we were growing tomatoes, chillies, pomegranate, bitter guard eggplant and various green, leafy vegetables – overall, a very wholesome kitchen garden. And eventually we ended up cooking two meals exclusively sourced from my garden, this was extremely exciting and therapeutic.

Apart from that, something that I started filming myself while getting my glam on! I have always enjoyed beauty tremendously but this time I decided to film it, put it on social media; that got a lot of love. It’s something I am going to continue doing because I feel, spending that time with myself while I get ready, is so therapeutic and its very important for many girls and boys, to love yourself. So, overall that time for self-love is something that I put in, during this lockdown.

I think another thing that I really ventured into was going back to my books. I re-visited a lot of my history lessons and I read up a lot on geography, climate change, sustainable living, etc. I tried re-educating myself in things that I used to be interested in.

And one thing we all took away from this time, is a more sustainable form of living; it’s something that my entire family consciously tried doing. Even though people are using gloves, masks and there’s an incredible amount of garbage being created – we tried keeping it all under control by adopting better habits, and this is something we have inculcated in this lockdown.

This Diwali, instead of socialising and partying, do you feel one should celebrate with family to find the inner light in all?

I feel that this Diwali, instead of socialising, we should spend time with our loved ones because that is the most responsible thing to do. We have to understand that, yes – it’s times for festivities and we need our spirits high, but its also very important to be responsible. The virus is still very active and we can’t pretend like everything is okay.

Diwali is all about the victory of good over evil and we have to be victorious over the virus. So, please stay home and spend time with your family so that the next Diwali can be different.

Women have had to bear the brunt of the lockdown- the burden juggling work, family and taking care of domestic chores. Do you feel this is the right time for women to indulge in themselves, even if no one else does?

Bhumi Pednekar

Absolutely! It’s the best time for women to treat themselves. I think its been difficult times for both women and men, both. A lot of us are spending this much of time with our families after a very long time; we were cleaning, we were cooking, we were working and especially for women because usually in our culture, most of the domestic pressure comes on them. So, I think Diwali is a great time for women to pamper themselves.
The modern, Indian woman is independent. She is not dependent on what her partner is going to bring for her and that is the beauty of the way our society is evolving.

Go and buy that piece of jewellery you love. It’s going to be timeless and it is going to be there for ever. I personally love the Tennis Deluxe collection and a Crystal Flower watch from Swarovski.

You have been vocal towards the betterment of the society through your social work; what do you think is of urgent attention and how can people work towards it?

I have always said that the thing that needs immense amount of attention today has to be the climate emergency that the world is in right now. Climate change is real. It’s happening and we really need to do whatever we can to slow it down. We cannot reverse it but we can definitely slow it down and at an individual level change things.

I think it’s very important to support business that believe in sustainability, that believe in going green and blue. There are a lot of things in the society that need attention, be it – equality between both the sexes, be it equality between all the species and I feel that there is an urgent need for a surge of compassion between humans. We need to understand that we are not invincible and are nothing in front of the wrath of nature. There is a lot of divide on so many levels that’s happening between us and this has to stop.

Tell us a little about your association with Swarovski.

It is an honor, to be honest, to be associated with Swarovski, that too on Diwali. Swarovski as a brand has always innovated and maintained what they stand for in the last 125 years. It is a brand that has a rich heritage, craftmanship and elegance. They have been responsible to their consumers and to society. I feel great to be associated with the brand, because I have grown up wearing it and enjoyed wearing their pieces thoroughly.

Bhumi celebrates Diwali with sparkle.

Diwali is such a great festival and specially this year when things have not been great, I see Diwali as an occasion where people will come together to celebrate. Diwali is about pampering yourself. The Diwali collection by the brand this year is so beautiful – they have a mix of contemporary and understated pieces that one can mix and match with whatever you end up wearing. The collection is an amalgamation of modern with classic.

How does Swarovski as a brand compliment you?

I have a rather long journey with Swarovski from a consumer point-of-view. The first, slightly luxurious, thing that my parents gifted my sister and I were these iconic, silicon Swarovski bands where mine was orange in colour and my sister’s was red. It had Swarovski crystals all over and a small bracelet. It was the first thing that my parents gave me!

I was in class 10th and my aunt gifted me one of Swarovski’s extendable bracelets from that time. So, I have been using their pieces since I was very young and what I love about the brand the most is that they have something for every age, every occasion and every piece has a lot of emotional value as well. So, for me, Swarovski has always been about inspiring, sparkling, timelessness and about elegance; at the same time it really resonates with what your modern-day woman is all about. This year is so special for me, I am really proud to be a part of the campaign, the first ever Bollywood face to be associated with the brand and bring delight to everyone this Diwali!

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