You could browse the Wikipedia page or look through different websites merely to find the same information, but when you live in the Capital city, there’s nothing quite like experiencing the harmony and soaking oneself in the setting of one of Delhi’s cultural hubs. Topmost among them is the Siri Fort Cultural Complex located in Khel Gaon.
From concerts to art, photography exhibitions to theatre festivals and literary talks, you’ll never be short of options at this popular haven. Part of Asian Games Village Complex, the Siri Fort Auditorium is surrounded by the picturesque remains of the 14th century city of Siri, built during the rule of Ala-ud-din Khilji, of the Delhi Sultanate. Just a kilometer away from Green Park metro station, the venue will be hosting Fragrances From The North East– a three-day extravaganza of cinema, music, art and craft, and food from the North Eastern states of the country from August 22nd-24th. Excited about their weekend line-up, we’ve rounded up a preview of this much awaited festival.
Showcasing the seven sister states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, along with one brother state, Sikkim – this festival focusses around a film festival, which is an initiative by the Directorate of Film Festivals (DFF) and is curated by renowned documentary film maker, Utpal Borpujari. On the first day, August 22nd, expect the festivities to begin at 5.30 pm with a live music performance by none other than the poster boy of Assam, renowned folk and Bollywood singer, Angaraag Papon Mahanta and his band East India Company. It will be followed by the screening of a Mizo feature film Khawnglung Run (The Raid of Khawnglung) directed and produced by Mapuia Chongthu. This film, based on true events of the historical massacre of Khawnglung village in Manipur during 1856-1859, won many hearts at last year’s International Film Festival of India, Goa.
The festival will also feature two of this year’s National Award-winning films – Jahnu Barua’s Ajeyo (Assamese) and Pradip Kurbah’s Ri: A Homeland of Uncertainty (Khasi, Meghalaya). From Sikkim, the festival will showcase Prashant Rasaily’s Gurkhali film Katha, while Manipur, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh will be represented by Oinam Gautam Singh’s Phijigee Mani, Joseph Pulinthanath’s Yarwng (in Kokborok) and Ahsan Mujid’s Sonam (in Monpa) respectively. Representing Nagaland will be the popular short film, Bamboo Shoots, directed by Steven Ao and the Tiainla Jamir documentary, Going the Distance. Kurbah’s Ri from Meghalaya will bring the curtains down on the gala.
The festival will be attended by internationally acclaimed filmmakers like Jahnu Barua and Abdul Majid (who made the classic Chameli Memsaab), actors Danny Dengzongpa, Seema Biswas and this year’s National Award winner for Best Actress, Geetanjali Thapa. Adil Hussain, who has acted in international movies like The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Life of Pi and will also be in attendace tells us, “More and more films from the NE region should be showcased in such film festivals and on regular basis. Our movies are original and depict the cultural background of the NE states. Fragrances From The North East will be a ray of hope to our people and Dehiites can take a break from the regular Bollywood movies and breathe fresh air with this fest”.
There will also be an enthralling instrumental performance by classical pianist Nise Meruno of Naga folk fusion and choir group Nagaland Singing Ambassadors.
Giving an absolute North-Eastern experience to the visitors, the film screenings will be supplemented by regional handicraft exhibitions, art shows and food stalls. And the best part – entry is free for all!
Food + Drinks
The Siri Fort complex itself has four canteens accessible to public. Hop over to this film festival and end the day with a cuppa overlooking the expanse of the venue. If you wish to explore a little further, walk down to Gautam Nagar or Uday Park, which are just ten minutes away are brimming with eateries and cafes. Hot Box, Coffee Day Express, Parkstreet Lane, Gupta Snacks, and South Café are some ideal stops for quick bites. For proper meals, head to Viva Hyderabad, a well known biryani and kebab joint, Rapti Chinese Food, Zaika and Saini Café. Or make your way to the other village, Shahpur Jat.