Maximum India: Kennedy Center Fest
The John F. Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. will present “Maximum India,” a celebration of Indian arts and culture with performances in music, dance, and theater, as well as exhibitions. A Siliconeer report.
(Above): The ‘maximum INDIA’ festival brings a bouquet of plays, performances, music concerts, exhibits, films, food and much more, showcasing the rich Indian heritage. (L-r): Tabla maestro Zakir Hussain; Sitarist Anoushka Shanker; Vishnu Vahara avatar from the collection of the Crafts Museum, New Delhi; Naseeruddin Shah in “Ismat Apa Ke Naam”; and (Bottom, r): Chef Hemant Oberoi of Taj Hotel, Mumbai.
From March 2 to March 20, the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. will present “maximum INDIA,” an unprecedented celebration of Indian arts and culture that will include performances in music, dance, and theater, as well as exhibitions featuring art installations, cuisine, and more. The festival is presented in cooperation with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. Including world-class exemplars of Indian culture like tabla wizard Zakir Hussain and sitarist Anoushka Shankar, other attendees will include choreographer Tanusree Shankar, composer and conductor L. Subramaniam, actors Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi.
“Contemporary India is a vivid kaleidoscope, featuring magnificent landscapes from the Himalayan Mountains in the north to the Indian Ocean in the south and some of the most densely populated cities in the world,” the center said in a release. “It is a mystical place that has captivated people spanning the globe. In the home to approximately one-sixth of the world‟s population, one can hear dozens of languages and more than 1,600 dialects spoken.”
Overflowing with color, smells, cars, cows, and rickshaws, the brilliance of India is that it is a country of extremes—intellect, innovation, survival, and experimentation. India offers the maximum. In addition to the best of contemporary and classical Indian performing arts, exhibitions will grace the halls and galleries of the Kennedy Center, featuring contemporary visual art and the finest textiles, pottery, and jewels.
“The arts create a unique platform for understanding each other,” said Kennedy Center president Michael M. Kaiser. “This festival will highlight India’s magnificent arts and culture offerings on the Kennedy Center’s stages and throughout the building.”
(Above): The ‘maximum INDIA’ festival brings a bouquet of plays, performances, music concerts, exhibits, films, food and much more, showcasing the rich Indian heritage. (L-r): A scene from ‘Nati Binodini’; an artist from the Kerala Kalamandalam Kathakali Troupe; Nandita Das and Shabana Azmi in “Fire.”
India is vast: 1.2 billion people; 24 languages; 1,600 dialects; 28 states; myriad cuisines; 330,000 gods and goddesses; 300 ways to cook a potato; the Ganges attracting millions to its banks; home also of Mahatma Gandhi—a moral force; and one of the richest and most ancient cultures on the planet.
Every few miles, India presents itself differently; each region distinct. It’s modern, yet traditional, where a cow shares space with a rickshaw and an SUV. It’s contemporary, yet classic, where skyscrapers jostle shanties for space, where yoga and hip hop are neighbors. India is diverse in every aspect, yet united as one country.
“Maximum India” brings many wonderful and unusual aspects of the country’s diverse arts and culture, from folkloric to classical and contemporary. It will surprise and delight with dance, music, and theater performed by India’s most acclaimed artists. Film selections from the world’s most robust movie industry, featuring both indie and Bollywood films; prize-winning authors reading, debating, conversing, and sharing their insights; exhibitions that astonish and confront; incredible and unimaginable crafts from exquisite collections; jewels that dazzle from the princely era of the Mughals and Maharajas. And, to top it all, feasts of Indian food for the entire three-week period of the festival, prepared by 12 world-class, award-winning Indian chefs, representing all regions of the country.