At girgaum chowpatty: Horses, history, Bollywood on state’s big night

The screen showcases visuals from Ajanta Ellora caves, alongside cultural and historical nuggets about Maharashtra.

Written by Vishwas Waghmode | Mumbai | Published:February 14, 2016 3:00 am

A giant screen, almost 120 feet by 20 feet, with the map of Maharashtra on it, occupies centrestage on the elevated platform where performances will be held on Sunday night at Girgaum Chowpatty, as part of the Maharashtra Night cultural event in the ongoing Make in India Week.

On the Maharashtra map is an image of ‘Brahma Vishnu Mahesh’ troika of the Hindu pantheon, while a large Lord Buddha statue sits in front. The screen showcases visuals from Ajanta Ellora caves, alongside cultural and historical nuggets about Maharashtra.

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On Sunday, about 350 labourers were at work at Girgaum Chowpatty, finishing sets designed by Bollywood production designer Nitin Desai. “The programme has been prepared a way that Maharashtra’s rich culture, from ancient to the modern, will be shown,” said Desai.

Six major performances are to be held Sunday, with 12 smaller ones. The major highlights will be actor and danseuse Hema Malini’s introductory performance of a traditional prayer, the Ganesh Vandana, actor Amitabh Bachchan’s poetry recital, actor Sonakshi Sinha’s dance performance and a concluding session by music director-composer duo Ajay-Atul. Another performance will portray the life and times of Chhatrapati Shivaji, with the starcast including 20 horses.

Grand digital images will be shown on screens as 650 dancers depict the Ganesh Visarjan. “I have been part of many visarjans of Lalbaugcha Raja. So, the event will connect with the Chowpatty,” said Desai.

Apart from PM Modi and CM Fadnavis, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray will be one of the chief guests at the event.
The state had last year renamed Girgaum Chowpatty as Swarajya Bhoomi in honour of Lokmanya Tilak, but there is no mention of the new name. Organisers said five entrances lead into the venue. “For citizens, entry will be from the Chowpatty gate,”said an organiser.
Nine LED screens stand at various spots on the Chowpatty for easy viewing by the public. Barring a VIP enclosure, the rest of the beach has chairs for citizens.

Kishan Gupta, who leads a team of 20 labourers, said completing the work was a challenge. “Wind was a major problem. That’s why we had to carry out some work at night. For the last eight days, we have been working day and night,” said Gupta.