The Delhi International Arts Festival (DIAF) has been a must-attend event on the cultural calendar of connoisseurs and commoners for almost seven years now. The USP of the festival has always its varied programmes across various venues in the city that are spread over a month. So when Bharatanatayam exponent and festival director Prathibha Prahlad decided to give the festival a miss last year, many were disappointed. “How was I supposed to host a festival without any collaborative partners or funds? This is an international festival of arts and projects India’s image in front of the world. I am just a curator. There is a lot of support that a festival requires,” said Prahlad.
She said she received over 300 applications from artistes abroad who wanted to be a part of the festival, but Indian Council for Cultural Relations ( ICCR), who’s been one of the main partners of the festival and helped DIAF host international artistes, did not come on board.
As for the line-up of the festival this year, there is the Dhrupad Festival which will have some of the finest dhrupad practitioners take centre stage. These will include vocalists Ustad Faiyaz Wasifuddin Dagar, Ustad Hussain Sayeeduddin Dagar, Pandit Uday Bhawalkar and rudra veena player Jyoti Hegde. It will also have a performance by Pandit Pushpraj Koshti who plays the surbahar, a rare entity now in the Hindustani classical system, apart from Nancy-Lesh Kulkarni, who plays dhrupad on the cello, a hallowed Western Classical instrument. The festival will also feature a couple of film festivals, including tributes to actors Pran and Farooque Sheikh. There will be screenings of films such as Katha, Ram aur Shyam and Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai.
In the dance section, troupes have been invited from various states for their respective performances. Unlike its precedents, the festival does not feature any notable Indian classical dancers. In the theatre section, there will be Chhaya Shakuntalam. There are a couple of international plays that include Miguel de Cervantes’ Quijote Wallah and Itziar Pascual’s Holiday Out.