The Pune Festival is back
This year, the Pune Festival, which is going to be held from 13th to 18th September, will be celebrating its silver jubilee year. The festival has always been a highlight during the Ganesh festival in the city and is a mix of music, drama, dance, art and sports. The inauguration will take place on the 13th at the Ganesh Kala Krida Rangmanch at 4.30pm. Kapil Sibal, Hon. Minister for Communication, IT, Law & Justices, Government of India will be the chief guest, along with Daniele Mancini, Italian ambassador to India, Narayan Rane, Honourable Minister for Industry, GOM, Patangrao Kadam, Honourable Minister for Forest, GOM, Harshavardhan Patil, Honourable Minister for Co-operation, GOM, Dr Jagdish Patil, MD-MTDC. Urmila Matondkar and Isha Koppikar will be gracing the occasion, apart from Hema Malini who is the patron-chairperson of the Silver Jubilee committee.
Like every year, Hema Malini will be performing the inaugural Ganesh Vandana, along with the dance ballet Radha Raasbihari. During the press conference, she confessed, “I am extremely happy and honoured to be the chairperson of the festival. It is not a joke to do such festival. Mr. Kalmadi is doing a great job in getting so many artists and sportspersons together. I always perform my ballet here first and then go ahead. It has always been auspicious for me.” Speaking about her dance ballet, she added, “The Raas Bihari dance ballet will have many sequences. I had performed the ballet at the ISKCON temple in Mumbai this year and the response has been tremendous. I am performing the Ganesh Vanadana with my daughters (Esha and Ahana). Who knows, they might perform independently next year.” City MP Suresh Kalmadi, who is also the festival’s president, spoke about the various events to be held this year and shared his happiness at Hema Malini’s 20 year long association with the festival.
Like every year, one can find a wide range of performances and events. In the arts section, you have Panchtatva which is a programme featuring Pandit Jasraj, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Selva Ganesh, U Srinivas, Shridhar Parthasarthi, Ramkumar Mishra and Subhankar Banerjee. You can watch Bollywood Musical Night by Lalit Pandit with performers like Shaan, Akriti Kakkad and Bela Shende. Mimicry artist Sunil will be one of the main attractions. The usual popular programmes like The All India Urdu Mushaira and Hindi Hasya Kavi Sammelan will be main focus.
The other programmes include Marathi dramas, Marathi Hasya Kavi Sammelan, Hasyotsav, Lavani Mahaotsavm. Keralotsavamm Mahila Mahotsav, Ugawate Taare, Indradhanu and a photo exhibition showcasing the festival’s 25 years. You can catch glimpses of Shivarajyabhishek from the mega drama Jaanata Raja while the grand finale of ‘Lavani and Kathak’ will have Urmila Matondkar, Isha Kopikar, Varsha Usgaonkar, Sharvari Jamenis, Tejaswini Lonkar, Sai Lokur and Shruti Marathi participate in it. It will be choreographed by Nikita Moghe.
In the sports section, the main attraction will be the bullock cart races with over 1,200 bullock carts taking part. The other usual sports events include vintage car rally race and exhibition, Pune Festival golf cup, boxing tournament and National roll ball competition. Regarding the bullock cart races, the festival’s Vice-President, Sabina Sanghvi confirmed that they would be following the regulations laid down by the Supreme Court. “We will be inspecting the races. But beyond that, we cannot do much.”
This year, the Pune Festival Award winners for outstanding contributions and achievements in their field are Narendra Singh, CMD, Bank of Maharashtra, Dyanoba Landge, senior organiser of bullock cart races and Arya Sangeet Prasarak Mandal (organisers of Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Sangeet Mahotsav). The Jai Ganesh Puraskar, in the name of the Late Tatyasaheb Godse of Srimant Dagduseth Halwai Ganpati Trust, will be conferred upon Shripad Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, Camp, for completing 100 years.
Like each year, the various programmes will be held at venues like Shree Ganesh Kala Krida Rangmanch, Balgandharva Rangmandir & Kaladalan, Yeshwantrao Chava Natyagruha and Art Gallery, Lokamanya Sabagruha – Kesariwada, PMC Art Gallery – Ghole Road, Shri Shiv Chatrapati Sports Complex – Balewadi, General Arunkumar Vaidya Stadiu, Poona Club Golf Course and Bhosari.
Watch this space for more confirmed details which will be provided soon.