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Chandigarh gets ready to welcome the New Year
Munish Dhiman  21st Dec 2013

Korean dance performance at the Winter Festival last year

ew Year's Eve preparations are well underway in Chandigarh with all sorts of festivals and cultural events already in full swing in the city, and more scheduled for the coming week.

The Surtal Utsav, organised by the Punjabi Sangeet Natak Akademi at the Punjab Kala Bhawan, concluded last week with impressive performances that included sufiana gayan by the Lopokee Brothers, ghazals by Anil Sagar, a concert featuring the tanti saaz (a traditional stringed instrument) by Ustaad Moheen Khan and Ustad Vinod Pawar, a classical dance recital by Suchita Mittra, and a classical vocal and flute recital by Ramneek Singh and Ravinder Singh.

Next week, the Alankar Theatre Group from Chandigarh is organising its first three-day theatre festival featuring four plays from 25-27 December at Tagore Theatre (Sector 18). Dharamvir Bharti's Andha Yug kickstarts the festival with a 6 on 25 December, followed by Ram Sajeevan Ki Prem Katha by Uday Prakash at 6 p.m. on 26 December. The festival closes on December 27 with two shorter plays also beginning at 6 p.m., Ji Aaya Sahab (Sahadat Hasan Manto) and Sukhiya (Munshi Prem Chand).

The week-long Winter Festival will start on 24 December, and bring together cultures and traditions from different states of India.

Andha Yug, a poetic-drama that discusses the aftermath of the Mahabharata, will open a discussion on the politics of violence and aggressive selfhood with their act. Another thought-provoking play, Ram Sajeevan Ki Prem Katha is the story of Ram Sajeevan's unrequited love that faces the wrath of the gaping class divide. Ji Aaya Sahab is the story of a 10-year-old boy Kasim, who works at an inspector's house where he loses his finger in an accident when overburdened by work; and Sukhiya is based on Munshi Prem Chand's story Mandir, which chronicles the anguish of a mother and the abuse she suffers in her desperate attempt to be allowed into an upper caste temple to pray for her son's good health.Image 2nd

President of the Alankar Theatre Group, Chakresh Kumar explains, "All the plays that we have selected for the festival are based on issues that we believe are relevant today and address the problems that pervade our society."

Another exciting event, the Winter Festival '13 is being organised by the Indian Red Cross Society, in collaboration with the Chandigarh Kala Mandir at Leisure Valley in Sector 10. The week-long Winter Festival will start on 24 December, and bring together cultures and traditions from different states of India such as Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir. Offering a mix of Christmas celebrations and traditional folk music, dance and theatre performances, this festival will not only provide a platform for young artists, but also promises to be a big draw for those looking for cultural activities in the city.

The Chandigarh Administration is also gearing up for its own annual events, which include a New Year Extravaganza from 29-31 December at the Plaza in Sector 17, where families can participate in a whole range of activities and be entertained by celebrated singers and performers.

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