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When passion finds lyrical expression the result is Ruhaniyat. The Empress Gardens bore witness to an incredible confluence of devoted music makers and awe-struck music lovers on Saturday evening when the Banyan Tree presented the fourth edition of its Sufi music...

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE | Published: February 16, 2009 2:45 am

Soul purpose
When passion finds lyrical expression the result is Ruhaniyat. The Empress Gardens bore witness to an incredible confluence of devoted music makers and awe-struck music lovers on Saturday evening when the Banyan Tree presented the fourth edition of its Sufi music festival Ruhaniyat in Pune. With the place choc-a-bloc with lovers of the art,the programme began with the soulful renditions of the Zikr-e-Rifayi Fakirs from Hyderabad who transported their stirring sounds from the streets to the packed audience present at the venue with practiced ease. Following the well-received opening show were Mamme Khan and group from Rajasthan who delivered a string of Sufi kalaams and mystic melodies redolent with folklore flavour of their state such as the saga of the eternal lovers Sasi-Punno. The guests from Egypt then took centrestage and in minutes the father-son duo of Mohammad Hasan Farghaly and Mohamad Mohammad Farghaly along with singer Naglaa Fathy had capitavted the audience with their sonorous sound born of their land’s ancient culture and traditions. Taking the tempo to a new high was the accomplished Parvathy Baul whose fantastically frenzied baul songs always form an unforgettable part of the festival. This time round too the performer did not disappoint as she played her instruments,danced and sang full throttle to take everyone with her to an elevated plane of thought and experience.
The Nanak-Manak brothers from Punjab gave the evening a soothing touch with a shabad and some mystic kalaams in Punjabi. Fittingly the evening climaxed with the tempo of sufi qawwalis as rendered by the famed Shameem-Nayeem Ajmeri and Group from Ajmer,who starting with their well known Allah Ho went on to win the hearts of the audience with their emphatic verses on the universality of all religions and faiths and the need to rise above these divisions. All in all an evening to cherish,celebrate and carry with you for a long time indeed.

Act one
Keeping up the tradition of acknowledging the excellence in the field of theatre,the Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) today announced the nominations for 2009. META 2009,has registered a record 200 entries from all over India this year and in various languages. Out of these 10 best were short-listed for nominations.
A selection committee comprising prominent theatre personalities from different parts of the country screened the over 200 entries. The selected plays are enlisted below: Aao Saathi Sapna Dekhein(Mumbai); Absent Lover (Chennai); Afsaneh- Bai Se Bioscope Tak (Mumbai); All About women (Mumbai); A Yussinthe Pusthakam- The Book of Life (Kerala); Hamlet- The Clown Prince ( Mumbai); Kalivesham (Kerala); Layla Majnun (Delhi); Madhyabartini (Assam); Shakkar Ke Paanch Daane ( Mumbai).
These productions have received nominations in 13 various categories that include best actor,best script and best director.
A National Jury of eminent personalities from the world of performing arts will view the plays during the ‘Theatre Festival’ starting from February 28 till March 5. The winners will then be announced at the awards night on the March 6 at the Taj Mahal Hotel in New Delhi.

Taking the lead
Leadership is not just about getting things done. It is more of inspiring people with a deep sense of commitment . At least Tarita Mehendale,the chairperson,Indira Group of Institutes,Pune believes so. And this is what she has delineated through her book Leadership Whispers,which was released at a function in Mumbai last week by the charismatic Bollywood actor,director and singer Farhan Akhtar. Akhtar expressed happiness at the book being brought at a time when youth needs to have a clear idea of what leadership is all about and how one inspire people with one’s leadership skills. He underscored the relevance of the book in today’s times for all industries,including Bollywood. Among other topics,the book deals with information on inspirational Leaders – what successful people know and do,leaders dare to dream and do it,and foundations for rock solid leadership. Mehendale,further plan to hold reading sessions of the book and make the book available to all sections of the community,as she believes that effective leadership can drive a positive change in the fortunes of an organisation in any situation.

Vrooomania!
The first round of the Castrol Power 1 Passion Hunt kicked off in Pune on Saturday wherein bikers from the far-flung corners of the city came in to participate in the event. The turnout saw as many as 80 bikers participate in it. The participants were judged over three rounds. The first round comprised of a questionnaire where the participants were asked a few questions regarding biking. The second round was a one on one interview where the judges’ panel asked them questions regarding biking methods,safety methods,and rules and regulations. The final round comprised of showcasing the riding skills of the bikers where they competed in three stages of Slalom racing,forming maximum no of eight’s in two minutes and slow riding. The judges for the event were Sundeep Gajjar,Sandeep Goswami and Sunil Gupta.
Expressing his thoughts about the event Deepranjan More,one of the participants says,”I rode a modified Yamaha YBX 125 cc bike for the event. It’s a good thing to see people from the biking community coming forward to organise these events as it will encourage young bikers to come forward to pursue biking.” Whilst a fair number of boys turned up for the event,girls did not dissappoint the audience asthe competition also saw two girls,Vartika Pandey and Firdaus Sheikh,showcasing their biking skills. One winner each will be chosen from eight different cities whilst there will be one online winner from the site http://www.power1hunt.com. From Pune Firoz Kadri was chosen as the winner after a close tie breaker,which was decided by slow riding. The nine winners will compete for the grand prize on April 22,for a Yamaha R-1,1000cc bike,sponsored by Castrol.

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