United Indian Association, the most prestigious association in Sydney, Australia celebrated Indian Republic day and Australian Day as they fall on the same date. This event happened in Novotel Hotel, Olympic Park on 25th of Jan.
This day was celebrated with simplicity but with programs of quality. Cricketer Steve Waugh and a few Australian politicians decorated the place. The rest of the venue was filled with representatives from every Indian Association in Sydney.
The items in the program were limited. The function started with an overview of what was going to happen for the rest of the evening. This was followed by a slide show, highlighting various proud moments of India and Australia and of Indian Australians.
President of UIA, Mr. Raj Natraj introduced a series of speeches. A few Australians of Indian origin were given mementos for their service to the society.
Then the cultural programs commenced. The students of Raghavan Nair, a Kuchipudi dancer in Sydney, performed the 'Vandana' in semi classical style. These Indian Dance Academy students were led by Raghavan Nair's daughter Poornima. The music was of a fusion kind. The costumes were bright and the make up quite right for the lighting. They did an impressive job that earned a lot of applause from the audience.
This item was followed by a solo Bharatanatyam item by Mallika Madduri. She performed a short and crisp kauthuvam based on Lord Shiva. The item was of right length and the music fast enough to suit the occasion and the audience. Her araimandi and abhinaya were notable points of her performance.
Then there was a pure Bollywood style of dance. There were several Bollywood songs combined in a DJ style for this 5 minute item. After watching this, the myth that Bollywood dance is easier than classical dance, was broken. It was well received by the audience with a lot of whistles and claps.
Steve Waugh was invited on stage to discuss one of the favourite Indian topics- cricket. He gave a lot of knowledge and insight into the game. Amidst controversy, Steve backed Harbhajan Singh saying that he did not think Bhajji was being racist. By the time his interview finished, Poornima was ready with her team to perform the last item.
This fourth and final item performed by Indian Dance Academy was again a mix of semi-classical to Bollywood. A lot of Australian audience danced in this item which had a mix of various Bollywood songs.
Soon after the cultural programs ended the dinner was served. The main course was of Indian style vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes and the deserts were of Australian style.
There is fusion everywhere now. In dance, in food…in Bharatanatyam too?