Reward of Oz

A unique audio-visual celebration of the life and movies of popular Hindi film actor Nadia, titled Fearless Nadia, will not just celebrate 100 years of Hindi cinema, but also remind film-goers of a little known fact: that Nadia was originally Australia-born Mary Ann Evans. Accompanied by a live score by Australian-Indian musicians Orkestra of the Underground, this presentation will be staged at the Liberty Theatre, Mumbai, on November 22 and 23, as part of the recently-announced Oz Fest.

Spanning across 18 locations in India, the four-month-long Oz Fest — that will begin on October 16 and end on February 5 — will showcase Australia's music, art, food, films, literature, dance and sports. The opening night concert at the Purana Qila in Delhi will see Australian aboriginal singer Gurrumul Yunupingu, didgeridoo virtuoso Mark Atkins and Indian classical musician Anoushka Shankar performing together. The closing ceremony, also in Delhi, promises to have a performance by a 'hugely famous Australian musician'.

"We hope that through Oz Fest, Indians will know more about Australia and its story — be it our cultural diversity or creativity, economy — and the links between our nations," said Peter Varghese, Australian High Commissioner to India, at a recent press conference along with Australian Consul General Steve Waters and Indian-Australian actor Pallavi Sharda. The latter, along with Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan and Aussie cricketer Brett Lee, is an ambassador for the festival.

The scheduling of varied cultural collaborations across the diverse geographic locations, adds Varghese, has been partly guided by each city's cultural fabric. Naturally, Mumbai has emerged as the central city for cinema-related events. Apart from the staging of Fearless Nadia in the city, Save Your Legs, a comedy about Australian cricketers' tour to India, will be premiering at the 14th Mumbai Film Festival.

The Aussie BBQ — Australia's five best rock acts — will perform in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Bengaluru.

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