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Delhi Arts Festival organisers struggling with funds

The organisers of DIAF, the city’s biggest art festival, say that funding is a stumbling block.

art and culture Updated: Sep 22, 2011 00:07 IST

The organisers of the fifth edition of the Delhi International Arts Festival (DIAF), which is slated to begin on October 31 this year, say funding is a stumbling block to the cultural extravaganza.

“We find ourselves going around asking for small money from corporate houses and the government despite the fact that DIAF has one of the best images as a festival in the country. We can’t commission our own programmes because we do not have the financial health to do so. We are handicapped in response and funding,” says Prathibha Prahlad, director and founder of DIAF.

With a tentative budget of Rs25 crore or over $5 million, Prahlad is finding the task a financial challenge and a logistical riddle. “The estimate is frugal compared to the festival kitties in the West, which are around $40 million on an average,” Prahlad says.

“A estimate said that this year, the festival will grab at least five million footfalls. But there is rarely any foreign visitor. It does not feature prominently on the Incredible India website too,” she adds.

“The ministry of culture, the tourism department, the hospitality sector and the government of NCT (National Capital Territory of Delhi) should cash in on the international profile of the festival, push cultural tourism, let DIAF grow and throw their might behind the festival,” says Prahlad.

Modelled on the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the fifth edition of DIAF will open on October 31 at the Purana Qila with an international tribute to Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore by performers from Hungary, Spain, China, South Africa, Israel, Bangladesh and Santiniketan in West Bengal.

This year, Prahlad has put together a formidable line-up for the festival. With the participation of 29 countries, the panorama includes popular western and ethnic musical acts from the US, Australia, Latin America, South Asian neighbourhood and the Arab world, arts and design extravaganza and a children’s entertainment cache to complement the diversity of Indian classical arts, which is the lifeline of the festival.

DIAF has also come out with another special initiative this year. Called Colloquium, it will make the India International Centre a hub of activity every morning from 11am through lunch, seeing journalists, writers, and artistes interacting with the performers of the previous evening.

A grand opera from Italy, La Cenerentola, composed by Rossini, will bring the curtains down on the festival on November 15 at the Siri Fort theatre.

First Published: Sep 21, 2011 17:24 IST