A Big Show From A Small Island

Inaugurated  by a blessing from the High Commissioner of India, HE Mr P Kumaran,Visha Rang Singapore (VRSG)  started off with shloka chanting by the organising committee.
The Singapore team didn’t just want to string together a variety entertainment show. They worked hard to curate cultural pieces that reflected the literary nature of the festival. Prominent dancers unfolded poetry in motion, of classic poets – Sohan lal Dwivedi, Maithili Sharan Gupt’s Saket, Gulzar, and Tagore, all expressed through Bharat Natyam, Kathak and contemporary dance.

A very special curation of mellifluous Rabindra Sangeet translated into Hindi was the highlight, as was an original composition dedicated to the island of Singapur – its history, its sights and sounds, musically captured in a foot tapping number.

The meet- the-author series reflected the depth and variety of writing in various languages in this little red dot. From the internationally famous Professor Kishore Mahbubani to fellow diplomat Ambassador Kesavapany, to a panel of local Hindi poets and professionals, to a migrant worker from Bangladesh, to a young award winning Tamil  writer, it covered a spectrum of original work published in Singapore.

Needless to say, poetry was a crucial part of this festival -from dynamic slam poetry of the youth, challenging social customs and practices to a splendid Kavi Goshthi of local Hindi poets who recited in a variety of styles, VRSG had something for everyone.

‘Rangamanch se’  the theatre segment, featured a fiery Manto monologue as well as short plays by respected Hindi playwrights Bhishma Sahni and Lalit Mohan Thapliyal  performed by local theatre group Dastak.

We see popular art forms like lion dance in Singapore but don’t know enough about them. Similarly certain heritage crafts like Peranakan beadwork, angpow or red envelope as well as origami art were encapsulated in a well researched documentary on heritage crafts of Singapore.

Singapore and India share many historical connections. The historical perspective of Netaji‘s presence in Singapore, the INA, Tagore and Gandhi’s visit to Singapore were covered in an in-depth interview by reputed curator and researcher Dr Gauri Krishnan as well as through a travelogue video through historic sites.

Singapura had ancient links to Sanskrit and the ancient Hindu ideology. The organisations that have worked ceaselessly to preserve this language and traditions were covered in an insightful segment ‘Sanskrit and Sanskriti’.

What emotion does Singapore invoke in you?  The prominent artists of Singapore portrayed their impressions of this beautiful country in a spectacular virtual painting exhibition. The flora and fauna and glittering skyline of Singapore on canvas was a fitting finale to VRSG.

The small but dynamic all women core team behind this staggering 38 segment festival was led by Festival Director Shardula Nogaja, an oil and gas professional. She is well known as a Hindi poet for over two decades. Gauri Shrivastava Gupta, a playwright, director, events organiser and a visual artist, supported the team as Director of Arts. Anu Bansal, a digital and visual artist, IT professional & Hindi poet Sheetal Jain and Broadcast journalist & Hindi lover Aradhana Jha Shrivastava were the multitasking core team who curated, interviewed, shot and edited this entire festival.

You can see all the segments at www.Vishwarang.com. Here you can also catch what 15 other countries did in this massive, first of its kind International Literature and Arts Festival!

Gauri Gupta

Gauri Gupta