B'wood to flavour Hogmanay celebrations this year
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B'wood to flavour Hogmanay celebrations this year

Festivities will include Bollywood in a pre-Hogmanay Indian street carnival hosted by George Street, writes Nabanita Sircar.

india Updated: Dec 29, 2003 12:22 IST
Nabanita Sircar
Nabanita Sircar

When it comes to celebrations, Bollywood can seldom be forgotten or bypassed in this country. So no wonder this year’s Edinburgh famous Hogmanay celebrations will also have a Bollywood flavour. While a mass sing along of Auld Lang Syne will be broadcast by television stations around the globe, organisers revealed that the celebrations are also to embrace the Bollywood phenomenon this year with a pre-Hogmanay Indian street carnival hosted by George Street.

Street theatre from India will also be taking over the Royal Mile on New Year's Day. While Ocean Terminal will be hosting a Hogmanay bash, following last year's appearance by Boy George, the four-day programme of festivities will kick off in traditional fashion with a spectacular torchlight procession and fire festival through the city centre on December 29.

The inclusion of Bollywood is to set a new direction to the event which has indigenous culture at its heart. This year's celebrations, which have "Join Hands" as their theme, will see the hugely successful Night Afore Fiesta event on George Street on December 30 transformed into the Night Afore International.

Highlights at the massive Indian-themed street party include Runga Rung, a dramatic street theatre production which will be re-staged in the Royal Mile on New Year's Day, Indian dancing demonstrations, a Raj Bar in the Assembly Rooms and live Indian music on the street.

Street theatre groups from Scotland, England, Spain and France are also lined up to appear, while there will be another attempt to break the record for the world's biggest Orcadian Strip, The Willow. The decision to take the Hogmanay celebrations in a new international direction by including Bollywood for the first time is being seen as a change in heart from EventScotland, which controversially turned down a funding bid for the celebrations in the belief that they would not have helped the festivities develop.

"We're delighted to be able to support this new element of the highly successful Hogmanay programme," says David Williams, chief executive of EventScotland. "Edinburgh's Hogmanay puts the city - and Scotland - on a global stage each year. This exciting programme, drawn from the best in the world, will increase our international appeal even more."

More Indian-themed events are included in the celebrations. Talks will be held on New Year's Day talk with writers William Dalrymple and Alexander McCall Smith along with a chance to sample an Indian head massage in Holyrood Park on New Year's Day.

Peter Irvine, director of Unique Events, the company which organises the celebrations with the city council, delighted with the new international dimension added this year, said: "The Night Afore International will be the main platform for our celebration of India and its culture."

First Published: Dec 27, 2003 21:34 IST