Americans in for an Indian cultural feast

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : Washingtonians are set for a lifetime experience as the prestigious Kennedy Centre here ends its long journey along the ancient Silk Route with “Maximum India”, a celebration of the art and culture of India.

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The festival from March 1-20 next year, “will highlight India’s magnificent arts and culture offerings on the Kennedy Centre’s stages and throughout the building,” says Kennedy Centre President Michael M. Kaiser.

In the last five years the centre has “floored together the rich cultural heritage of China, Japan, the Middle East and the Arab world – countries that comprised the silk trade route centuries ago,” he recalls noting that “the arts create a unique platform for understanding each other.”

“Our soldiering along the silk route would culminate with “Maximum India” – a celebration of art and culture of India presented in cooperation with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR),” Kaiser said.

“This marks the end of our cultural journey through that extraordinary region of the world,” he says of what’s billed as the John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts’ “biggest project of the year.”

Kaiser says this will be a “once in a lifetime chance” to see many of the acclaimed masters of the many classical dance styles.

Besides the best of contemporary and classical Indian performing arts, the festival will also feature contemporary visual art and the finest crafts, textiles and jewels.

An “unprecedented celebration of Indian arts and culture that will include dozens of performances in music, dance and theatre, as well as exhibitions, literature, cuisine, and more.”


Music: Zakir Hussain, Dr. L. Subramaniam, Kailash Kher, Shubhendra Rao and Saskia Rao-de Haas, National Symphony Orchestra featuring repertoire inspired by India.

Theatre: Naseeruddin Shah with the Motley Theatre Group in “Ismat Apa Ke Naam,” Shabana Azmi starring in Girish Karnad’s “Broken Images”, The Chorus Repertory Theatre directed by Ratan Thiyam presenting “When We Dead Awaken”.

Dance: Madhavi Mudgal and Alarmel Valli in Samanvaya, Malavika Sarukkai, The Daksha Sheth Dance Company, Kerala Kalamandalam Kathakali troupe.

Exhibitions: Installations by contemporary visual artists Bharti Kher, Jitish Kallat and Reena Saini Kallat.

Literature: Forums and panels featuring, amongst others, Salman Rushdie, Girish Karnad and Suketu Mehta.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])