Delhi Celebrates: Two months of art and culture to go with Games

After a bumpy ride, Delhi is finally ready for the grand Commonwealth Games party. Delhi Celebrates, a two-month calendar of cultural events, was unveiled by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday.

"It is going to be an iconic festival of art and culture. We will present a huge number of programmes to cater to everybody's taste. Top performers from across the country will participate," said Dikshit, releasing the 100-page culture calendar, which can also be downloaded from delhitourism.gov.in.

The celebrations, which started on September 3, will go on till November 4. Plays like Ghalib, Kaifi Aur Main, and Eidgah will be part of the Jash-ne-Dilli theatre festival at Ansari Auditorium in Jamia Millia Islamia. Ghalib has Tom Alter playing the charming 19th century poet in the court of Bahadurshah Zafar while Kaifi aur Main will have Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi on stage.

The schedule for the Games fortnight is also tightly packed. The Qutub Festival, Classical Music Festival, Qawwali, Mushaira, Ranga Rang, Ramayana, Geet Govindam and a youth festival all are lined up for the period. Simultaneously, there will be a theatre and food festival too.

The Walled City, meanwhile, will reverberate with Urdu poetry. The Musharia, to be held in the Town Hall on October 4, will see 21 urdu poets including Javed Akhtar, Gulzar and Professor Shehrayar take on each other. The next day, Jagjit Singh and Radhika Chopra will stage a ghazal night at same venue. It will be followed by a two-day Qawwali festival led by Ateeq Husain Khan Bandanawazi and Wajahat Jaffer Sultani Badayuni Qawwal.

The Classical Music Festival will feature stalwarts like Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and Wadali brothers and go on from October 4 to 11. The mythological epic will be presented in the form of a dance ballet from October 4 to 13 at the Bharatiya Kala Kendra. The last two days of the fortnight will also have a ballet based on the Geet Govindam.

For those interested more in popular music, the Qutub Festival will have 21 singers and bands including Kailash Kher, Shankar Mahadevan, Kunal Ganjawala, Abhijeet, Indian Ocean , Euphoria, Sivamani, Louis Banks, Mohit Chauhan, Sadhna Sargam, Javed Ali and Hariharan. The Central Park, which is still in a mess, will hopefully recover for the youth festival.

Inside the Games Village, there will be daily performances by various rock bands starting with Parikrama.

For children, there will be a Bal Sangam and Jashn-e-Bachppan which will feature 26 plays in different languages. There will also be puppet show from Dadi D Pudumjee's Kalpataru.

Delhi Haat, meanwhile, will come alive each day with a different flavour from the 28 states of India, each day dedicated to each state.

Baba Kharak Singh Marg, which has a host of state emporiums, will also showcase regional cuisines.

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