Mumbai magic

Food, fun, films: Israel’s first festival of Indian culture kicks off on April 27.

PANDIT HARIPRASAD_521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Many Israelis will tell you that when they were students, Pessah marked the light at the end of the tunnel in their school year. The weather begins to warm up, and summer holidays are just around the corner. Though most grown-ups don’t follow the laid-out schedule of high school students, that feeling of relief at having reached the definitive end of winter and the almost-end of the fiscal year is felt by a large sector of society.
This year, the end of Pessah marks the transition into a new kind of festivity, the first Indian festival in Israel. For the coming month, from April 27 to May 25, Herzliya, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa will host an array of cultural events that hail from balmy Bengal and dapper New Delhi.
Hosted by the Indian Embassy in Israel and Teamwork Productions India, the Celebrating India in Israel Festival offers a wide range of events that includes theater, dance, music, lectures and culinary fairs.
The festival will officially kick off at the Suzanne Dellal Center in Tel Aviv on April 29 with a Bollywood dance workshop taught by French dancer Gilles Chuyen. This event is open to the whole family and is free of charge.
Then, on May 2 and 3, famed dancer Aditi Mangaldas brings Uncharted Seas to the stage of Suzanne Dellal.
Mangaldas is an expert in kathak, a traditional style of Indian dance. This performance is a key element of the festival, as Mangaldas is a truly celebrated choreographer among the Indian community and the world over. Another highlight is the performance Sriyah by the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble.
During the festival, two star musicians will be coming to Israel.
The first is Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. Chaurasia is a traditional Indian flutist and composer who has enjoyed a long and fruitful career performing on five continents. The second is internationally renowned Sufi singer Zila Khan. She was the first female to study and perform the Imdadkhani gharana, a type of music that originated in the Calcutta region.
For theater lovers, the embassy has arranged a performance of Hamlet – The Crown Prince. This production , which hails from Mumbai, depicts the tribulations of Hamlet’s life; however, as told by clowns. The show will run from May 16 to 18 at the Cameri Theater in Tel Aviv.
If you are a fan of the larger-than-life story lines of Bollywood films, from May 4 to May 6, the cinematheques in Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem will devote their theaters to the finest in Indian cinema with the program Indian Film Panorama. To get the inside scoop on the behind the scenes of Bollywood, check out the film In Conversation with famed actress Sharmila Tagore on May 4 in Tel Aviv and May 5 in Jerusalem. Tagore began her career in the late 1950s and has been a symbol of elegance, grace and beauty in India ever since.
Naturally, all this talk of India will stir up a craving for sambosaks and chutney. To satisfy that desire, an Indian food market will open on April 27 at the Crowne Plaza in Jerusalem and will remain open throughout the month of festivities.
Similar food fairs will take place in Tel Aviv from May 2 through May 16 at Bellini in the Suzanne Dellal Center and at the Crowne Plaza’s Pacific Grill on May 4 and 5.
Finally, if what you are after is a truly holistic taste of India, be sure to attend the Wellbeing Experience, a full day devoted to the practice of yoga and the study of Ayurveda. The day will include healthful living consultations and guided meditation.
For more information about the Celebrating India in Israel Festival, visit