Saifai vs Lucknow: A tale of two Mahotsavas | india | Hindustan Times
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Saifai vs Lucknow: A tale of two Mahotsavas

SEEING IS believing. A mahotsav like Saifai?s, as they say, can never be gauged in proxy. Apart from being one of the biggest marketing exercises rural India can flaunt, the mahotsava pips all other major UP festivals, including the Lucknow Mahotsava, by its sheer magnitude, pomp and show.

india Updated: Dec 14, 2006 10:54 IST

SEEING IS believing. A mahotsav like Saifai’s, as they say, can never be gauged in proxy.

Apart from being one of the biggest marketing exercises rural India can flaunt, the mahotsava pips all other major UP festivals, including the Lucknow Mahotsava, by its sheer magnitude, pomp and show.

So what if the Saifai one is only nine years old as against Lucknow Mahotsava’s 31. All other comparisons is bound to give Lucknow Mahotsava a major inferiority complex.

Let’s then compare the two. Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav inaugurated both, and this is where the similarity ends. Saifai’s inauguration was grand and spectacular—it began with 10,000 school children performing the adorable ‘Ek Sur, Ek Taal’ on the astroturf of Master Chandgiram Stadium.

From here the scene shifted to the pandal just opposite the stadium. If Micheal Jackson or Shakira were invited, they are most likely to accept. They would not have to bring an airplane-full of lights-and-sounds system. This pandal has everything—digital and synchronised light and sound system. The pandal itself is an engineering marvel—so big and lofty that it would easily accommodate a Boeing 747.

On the first day it accommodated about 30,000 people and had place for about 20,000 more.

It is a permanent fire-safe metal pandal. The stage is long and wide with exquisite frescos all over in the front. Unlike Lucknow Mahotsava’s ‘tent-house’ kind of light and sound, Saifai’s is highly professional.

Here Murarilal Sharma’s ‘Brij Ki Holi’ and Rajasthan’s Kohinoor Langa troupe left people spell bound. And then in the evening, Kunal Ganjawala of ‘Kabhi mere saath, ek raat guzaar’ fame, entertained the rural folks from Saifai and villages of Etawah, Mainpuri and Akbarpur. Lucknow Mahotsava had commenced on a very dull note in comparison. The most sparkling thing of Lucknow Mahotsava was some shoddy firework. In Saifai it will be a techno laser beam show in sync with music.

Apart from Ganjawala, other performers at Saifai are Ghulam Ali from Pakistan, laugher experts Raju Srivastava, Sunil Pal, Ehsaan Qureshi, and Faujdaar Singh. Then there are Twinkle Bajpai and Avijit Roy. There will also be some eminent Bollywood stars entertaining the villagers on the final day on December 24.

Shopping too is an important indicator—shopping at Lucknow. Mahotsava is about bric-a-brac or handlooms, pickles. Most come for window-shopping only.

In the last two Saifai Mahotsavas, more than 10,000 four-wheelers, about equal number of two-wheelers and a lot of tractors got sold as government offered trade tax holiday during Saifai Mahotsava. People come here to shop from several districts. Saifai Mahotsava began in 1997 as a small festival, now it has grown so big that only one annual festival in the State—the Taj Festival—is bigger than it.