Celebrating 40 years of its existence, the Russian Centre of Science and Culture (RCSC), in association with the Indo-Russian Cultural and Friendship Society, organised a cultural festival on Friday. Alexander M Kadakin, Ambassador of the Russian Federation in India said, “Apart from being an important milestone for Russia-India ties, this is also a remarkable event for the city’s cultural activities.”
About his experiences having lived in the city for over 20 years now, he said, “Chennai has a warm and friendly human heart.”
To kick off the celebrations, a group of 10-year-olds from the city put on an impressive Bharathanatyam performance for the audience. This was followed by national anthems of both nations being observed in respectful silence.
Other dignitaries present on the occasion were writer D Jayakanthan (Founder and Chairman, Indo-Russian Cultural and Friendship Society), Nikolay Listopadov (Consul General Russian Consulate General in South India), V M Lakshminarayanan (Founder and Chairman, Indo-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Ministries), Fyodor Rozovskiy (Counsellor, Head of Cultural Department of the Russian Embassy in India), R Veeramani (President, Indo-Russian Chamber of Commerce and Ministries), Vladimir Mariy (Director, RCSC) and P Thangapan (Secretary General, IRCUFS).
During the course of the event, the dignitaries spoke of Russian literature, friendship between Russia and India, and cultural exchange. Several awards named after Russian greats such as Nikolai Goldin, Leo Tolstoy and Ana Pavlova, were presented to distinguished members of the audience. Composer Ilayaraja was awarded the prestigious Tchaikovsky Award, but he couldn’t make it to the event.
A series of traditional dances including the Siberian folk dance, which kicked off the evening’s cultural activities perhaps had the most whistles and applause. Damsels in white frocks with colourful embroidery and their male counterparts with impressive acrobatic leaps in the air, had the audience in rapt attention, as the upbeat music played on.
Another dance style that was most mesmerising was the swan like train of fair maidens in long white gowns, each with a red handkerchief, seeming to glide across the stage in perfect unison (almost like an animated special effect).
You could barely spot delicate feet scuttling quickly but quietly beneath long skirts, but this piece was one not to miss – a real vision of grace from start to finish.