The next four months will be worth witnessing. Australian High Commissioner to India, Peter Varghese, announced that the ‘Oz Fest’, the biggest Australian cultural festival of all times, will be staged in India. In this showcase of creativity, dynamism and diversity of Australia, there will be events focusing on Australian music, art, food, films, literature, dance, sport, ideas and much more, all across India. “We hope that through the Oz Fest, Indians will come to understand more about Australia and our nation’s story–cultural diversity, creativity, strong economy, and the many links between our two nations,” says Varghese.
The Australian government will join hands with 24 government, business, institutional and production partners to present over 100 events at 18 locations across India as part of Oz Fest. The opening night concert at Purana Qila on October 16 will celebrate two contemporary cultures grounded in ancient tradition. The concert will feature Australian Aboriginal singer/songwriter Gurrumul Yunupingu, didgeridoo virtuoso Mark Atkins and Indian classical musician Anoushka Shankar against the backdrop of a 3D projection by Sydney-based AGB Events known for Sydney’s Vivid Light Festival.
The other highlights include the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow featuring five comedians and a RAW Comedy competition to find the best new Indian talent in Pune, Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore; Australian bands Karnivool, Big Scary, Jinja Safari, The Aston Shuffle and Sheppard rocking at THE AUSSIE BBQ in Pune, Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore; the films of Australia’s first Bollywood star, Fearless Nadia, coming to life with a live music and film show created for the 100th anniversary of Indian cinema; Australia’s National Indigenous Cricket Team playing local Indian teams in one-day and Twenty20 matches in Pune and Mumbai and much more.
The art and cultural programme will be complemented by business and industry networking events across four cities, with a focus on innovation, science and technology, mining and resources, and food and beverage.
One of the four Oz Fest Ambassadors, Australian Bollywood star Pallavi Sharda, seemed very excited about the Australian-Indian cultural venture. Speaking about her growing up in Australia, she touched upon the importance of Indian culture and dance in her life, and why she was supporting Oz Fest, “I was born in Australia. I started learning Bharatnatyam at the age of three. When people heard my Aussie twang, most could never imagine I wore a sari thrice a week and stamped my feet to the beat of Carnatic rhythmic drums. Then, in my twenties, I moved to India. For onlookers it seemed impossible that I spent my whole life in a faraway land. This is Australia. It is multiplicity—the definition of my identity. It is because I am Australian that I am so Indian. For me, one cannot exist without the other. I am proudly both and thrilled to be a part of Oz Fest.”
Starting on October 16, 2012, the festival concludes on February 5, 2013. To find out what’s happening where and when, visit www.ozfestindia.com.