Kolkata, Aug 17 (Calcutta Tube/IBNS): Anandabazar Patrika Group (ABP), one of the largest media houses in Eastern India, on Friday announced a 3-day fest, ‘Ananda Utsav 2010’, to be held in Los Angeles, USA from September 4 to 6.
Following the London Anada Utsav, which was held in March, the Los Angeles fest aspires to provide the US-based non resident India diaspora a taste of Bengali culture, cuisine and more, said the organisers.
“The fest has been divided into four parts; A cultural festival with musical programmes et al; an exhibition-cum-sale of jewellery, clothes and more; authentic Bengali cuisine; and a place for interaction, good old adda,” said a company official at a press conference here.
He said, “Over 5,000 people took part in our London event, and we flew over people like Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik, PC Socar and Soumitra Chattopadhyay to entertain and interact with the people there.”
“It was tremendous success. But this time we want to surpass that and for that we have people like Usha Uthup, Anjan Dutt, Sunidhi Chauhan and Mir. It will be a real treat,” he said.
The organisers said as per their estimate, there are around 30,000 Bengali families in America, and L.A. alone has over 2,000 of them.
The Utsav is to be held at the Pasedena Convention Center, a state-of-art 55,000 square feet exhibition hall, which has hosted events to the likes of Emmy Awards and Michael Jackson concerts said the oraganisers.
“After a hiatus of several years, US audiences will get the chance to see Sarod performances by the very talented Amjad Ali Khan and his sons Aman Ali and Ayan Ali. That’ll be on the second day’s evening,” said the official.
The organisers have joined hands with six US-based Indian community organisations, and through extensive publicity and their online portal, www.usaanadautsav.com, claimed to have already sold one third of the tickets.
US Consul-General Beth Payne, who also attended the unveiling ceremony, said she was delighted to see such an initiative.
“I believe it’s not just Bengali-speaking people who are going to enjoy this, but there are so many Americans across the spectrum who are very fascinated about the culture and will find it a very pleasurable experience, ” she said.
Kausshik Kumar Nath of KKN Group of Companies, title sponsors of the event, said the West Coast’s glamour made it an obvious choice for the first Ananda Utsav on US soil.
Kaushik Banerjee of ABP said, “The event being scheduled just ahead of the Puja, will not only provide NRI Bengalis to enjoy the Bong flavour but also do some Puja shopping.”
Singer Usha Uthup who is set to perform live on Day 2, said, “I think it’s a fabulous idea. With the kind of backing the event has, it’ll no doubt be a great one.”
She said it was very essential to bridge the gap between people belonging to the same place, yet scattered across the globe, and events like these ‘bring the hearts closer’.
“I know we are all citizens of the world, but sometimes it’s just great to say, ‘Hey we are Indians’,” she added with smile.
Television anchor and funnyman Mir, who will co-host the 3-day gala along with actress Churni Ganguly, said, “I know for a fact that people there are very enterprising when it comes to retaining the culture. Am sure they will be very delighted by this effort.”
“A programme like this will definitely a huge impact in bringing people closer and making them happier. And by the looks of it this one is going to be 2 to 3 times bigger than the last one” he said.
“The thing about L.A. is that it is very culturally elevated. The Bengali people there are very culturally aware and advanced. I think it will be a really good experience,” said singer and filmmaker Anjan Dutt, who is set to perform on the final day.
(Reporting by Divyanshu Dutta Roy, photos by Avishek Mitra)