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| 15 December, 2017

'3mln expats integral part of UAE-India story'

The eighth edition of the UAE-India Fest 2017 has hit new high in terms of engagement with audience and ostentatious display.

Image used for illustrative purpose.
Performers dressed in traditional attire pose before performing Garba, a traditional folk dance, ahead of Navratri, a festival of nine days when devotees worship Hindu goddess Durga, in Ahmedabad, India, September 18, 2017.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Performers dressed in traditional attire pose before performing Garba, a traditional folk dance, ahead of Navratri, a festival of nine days when devotees worship Hindu goddess Durga, in Ahmedabad, India, September 18, 2017.

REUTERS/Amit Dave
With inspiring thoughts and messages, rocking music, ravishing dance moves, dazzling lights and drums, the golden jubilee celebrations are in full flow at India Social and Cultural Centre (ISC) Abu Dhabi.

With an all-new grand stage setting on the rooftop, the eighth edition of the UAE-India Fest 2017 has hit new high in terms of engagement with audience and ostentatious display. The fest received good participation from locals and expats who were entertained to some top performances.

Amid all the celebrations, Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri, in his opening address, noted the contributions made by the community. He pointed out that the UAE leadership has always acknowledged the contributions of the Indian community.

"They recognise that even as the UAE provides generous hospitality to our three million people here. It is also those three million people who through their blood, sweat and toil have built the beautiful edifices that we see in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and elsewhere. The community has become an integral part of the UAE-India story. I am truly privileged to be supported by the efforts of three million others," he said on Thursday night.

The ambassador remembered the historic bilateral visits made by leaders, which has strengthened the relationship further. Suri promised next year will see some very important developments.

"This was a year that has set us on the platform for an even better, more vibrant and dynamic 2018. None of this would have happened without our wonderful Indian community," he noted to great applause from audience.

Community leader and UAE Exchange president Sudheer Kumar Shetty said the fest had grown in stature over the years. "The overall participation has grown over the years," he said after the big-bang opening.

Jayadevan RV, a resident, said he has associated with the ISC for a long time and such shows were a platform for youngsters to showcase their talents.

"I and all present here always look forward to this annual event. This is a signature fest of the centre. These three days help promote Indian culture and budding talents.

The UAE-India Fest is a hotbed of cultural amalgamation," Jayadevan said as the three-member band of Ramshi Ahamed, Niranj Suresh and Kavya Ajith set the ball rolling for season eight with some peppy numbers.

DJ Ricky Brown and EDM percussionist and water drummer Sonu Sebastian belted some heavy-duty stuff. It was a never-seen or heard moments for the largely elderly crowd, who got a taste of New Gen music.

As the night grew older, ISC grew young with individual and group performances. Violinist Kavya added variation to the scheduling with some awesome pieces. And solo show by Sebastian had audience dazed for a few moments. In first-of-its-kind show at the centre, Sebastian gave some mystic minutes as the drum space filled with water led to creation of unique sound unlike from a normal drum work. The entire show was complemented with varied light works.

Later Dubai-based African drummers Jazz Rockers along with Indian artistes combined to produce awesome blend of music.

On Friday late night, Bollywood singer Aditi Singh grabbed spotlight with her performances. There were dances from Filipino, Spanish, Russian and Samba that lend great variations to the night. The food and exhibition stalls were thronged by visitors. The fest will see a gala finale on Saturday with a range of events.

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