Cultural kaleidoscope

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Kalavishkar presented ‘Kaleidoscope’, a dance and drama show, at the Kel Watson theatre recently

As the name suggests, it was a medley of folk dances and plays in English, Hindi and Hinglish. The plays included a children’s play performed in English the well-known story of Hansel and Gretel – though with a twist. It was a great performance and the children on stage seemed to be having a great deal of fun in the process.

Two short and original adult plays brought out the paradox of the ubiquitous nature of social media and how it can be a double-edged sword – connecting people and at the same time distancing those who are physically near! These were directed by Kalavishkar’s Mandar Vaidya.

Three folk dances included Jai Malhar, common in Southern Maharashtra, performed in memory of Lord Shiva’s destruction of Malla the demon. There was the popular bamboo dance from India’s north-east, and a Tamil folk dance as well. The women – all amateurs from the Melbourne Indian community – seemed to have put in a lot of effort to train and put on a rollicking performance!

By far, the play in Hindlish, titled The Students, was the most thought-provoking, edgy and timely production. This one-act play was set around the year 2010 when Australia, especially Melbourne, saw a spate of violent attacks on Indian students. The play was a candid and searing examination of the issues involved. Full credit to Kalavishkar for throwing light on an issue that goes to the heart of the Indian community, which has all too readily swept it under the carpet and wished never happened.

The programme – and Kalavishkar’s activities – must be a great outlet for the creative juices of a group of very talented people. These performers have something important to say and do so in an entertaining way – and have fun in the process.