Bollywood and beyond

The upcoming Celebrating India in Israel Festival offers a range of Eastern delights including dance, theater, music, food, film, yoga and visual arts.

French dancer Gilles Chuyen 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
French dancer Gilles Chuyen 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Take six clowns, a fistful of imagination, a dollop of gibberish and a slice or two of creative daftness and you have Rajat Kapoor’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It’s part of the first Celebrating India in Israel Festival that also brings dance, music, literature, food, Bollywood and the visual arts.
“There is already a strong affinity between our people going back centuries,” said Indian ambassador Navtej Sarna at the press conference, “and we at the embassy feel that people-topeople contact is best achieved in an intercultural context.”
The Indian embassy is the festival’s main sponsor and hopes it will become an annual event. Hamlet, in English and gibberish, will be performed at Tel Aviv’s Cameri Theater on May 16-18.
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Another highlight will be The Sound of the Bamboo Flute, played by master musician Hari Prasad Chaurasia, well known to local audiences. Then there’s legendary Bollywood star Sharmila Tagore in Conversation at the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem cinematheques.
Tagore starred in more than 100 movies, and in 1999 France conferred upon her the Legion of Honor. The Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa cinematheques will also feature some dozen Indian movies.
For those who’d like to learn more about its beauties, Osnat Elkabir presents The Trained Listener (18/5), or how to listen to classical Indian music. She’ll be playing some of these ragas along with Ritwik Sanjyal and Prasad Kathak (21/5).
There’s also sufi singer Zila Khan and the thoroughly modern Mrigya ensemble presenting world music.
“Classical traditions are alive, well and evolving,” said festival producer Sanjoy Roy, “thanks to the influx of young people who respect the traditions yet reflect them through today’s art forms.”
Dance often reflects this, and the Suzanne Dellal Dance Center in Tel Aviv will host the Aditi Mangaldas Dance Company with Uncharted Seas, and Sriyah from the Nrityagram Dance Company. There will also be a free Bollywood dance workshop for the whole family with noted teacher Gilles Chuyen.
Not least Words on Water is a day-long literary symposium for Israeli and Indian authors at Mishkenot Sha’ananim in Jerusalem, featuring among the rest, Ambassador Sarna, a noted author as well as a diplomat.
The dance is in Tel Aviv, the music mostly in Jerusalem. For more info, go to or
Teamwork is Roy’s company, and this is his first venture in Israel. He sees the festival as “creating a platform for dialogue between people. Culture is a way of doing that. It offers an opportunity to understand each other’s mindset.”