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And now,it’s Govinda ala re at Times Square

A team of 13 will form a human pyramid as part of initiative to promote the state’s culture

Next week,a team of 13 govindas will form a five-tier human pyramid as they aim for the earthen pot,amid cheering crowds in dahi handi celebrations. However,this will not be in the quintessential bylanes of central Mumbai,but at the world’s busiest pedestrian intersection — Times Square in New York.

Miles away from familiar ground,this will be the second time that Mumbaikars will be seen forming a human pyramid overseas,after their 2006 visit to Barcelona.

For 22-year-old Vivek Rane,who is the youngest member of the troupe,seven years as a govinda are going to be put to good use in the Broadway capital.

“I have been participating in dahi handi celebrations since I was 15 and am confident of putting up a good show,” said Rane.

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After he searched news and images about the Times Square,Rane said the major difference will be a moving crowd unlike in the narrow bylanes of his Mazgaon neighbourhood who cheer him constantly.

The team accompanied by its coach will put up a two-minute performance to give the thousands of New York residents and tourists a flavour of Mumbai.

The performance,to be displayed on September 22,is Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation’s initiative to promote Maharashtra and its culture in New York.

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“We have created record eight and nine-tier pyramids during dahi handi,so putting up a smaller one will be a cakewalk. We hope to increase the layers of pyramids if the crowd likes our act. Gradually,we are planning to involve more people,” said Rane.

Head of the Shree Datta Krida Mandal Mazgaon Tadwadi,Bala Padelkar,who is also participating in the event,says the challenge is to draw the crowds. “We will be playing dhols,which will get the people’s attention,” said 53-year-old Padelkar. “We are expecting a huge crowd of Indians to cheer for us,” he said.

“Performing dahi handi in Mumbai is highly exciting; one can imagine the excitement of performing in front of foreigners who have never seen such an act before,” said Padelkar.

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However,dahi handi is not the only Maharasthrian flavour the visitors at Times Square will get to experience.

The audience will be treated to modak,will learn to don the traditional Kolhapuri turban or the nauvari saree,among other nuggets from Maharashtrian culture. Besides,singer Shankar Mahadevan will enthrall the crowd with Marathi songs.

“The event,Maharashtra Tourism — Diwali at Times Square,is being held a few weeks before Diwali,and aims at attracting tourists to Maharashtra,” said Kishori Gadre,General Manager,MTDC.

“There is a high NRI presence as well as US citizens and we hope to promote Maharashtra as a tourist destination,” she said.

sharvari.patwa@expressindia.com

First published on: 20-09-2013 at 12:51:03 am
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