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30 years after taking Pune’s Ganeshotsav global, cultural grandstage still driving performance vibe

Pune Festival soon became an institution of its own, which prompted the Pune municipal corporation to build the Ganesh Kala Krida manch, with a seating capacity of 3,000 and two large exhibition halls. The manch is currently the biggest auditorium in the city.

pune Updated: Sep 14, 2018 16:41 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
pune,30 years,ganeshotsav
Hema Malini performing at the Pune Festival in 2005. (HT FILE PHOTO)

Pune When the Pune Festival began in 1989, a page in the history of Pune was being inked. In 30 years, the festival has not only become an important element in Pune’s cultural calendar, it has offered a forum for many young and enthusiastic artistes seeking centre-stage.

Former city member of Parliament Suresh Kalmadi started the festival under the leadership of then chief minister of Maharashtra, Sharad Pawar. The purpose of the festival was to take Pune’s Ganeshotsav to the international arena as a large number of tourists had begun to come to the city during the 10-day festival.

Pune Festival soon became an institution of its own, which prompted the Pune municipal corporation to build the Ganesh Kala Krida manch, with a seating capacity of 3,000 and two large exhibition halls. The manch is currently the biggest auditorium in the city.

Over the years, the festival has witnessed many important figures take the stage and be seated in the audience, from politics, arts and culture. Those who have performed include Pt Bhimsen Joshi, Pt Ravi Shankar, Pt Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Asha Bhosale and Hema Malini; while dignitaries who have graced the event include former presidents Shankar Dayal Sharma, KR Narayanan, ex-vice president Bhairaon Singh Shekawat, Sonia Gandhi, Madhav Rao Scindia and Shivraj Patil, among the many.

“It has been a superb journey. A small sapling sowed by all of us has become a big tree,” said Kalmadi, president, Pune Festival. Over the years the festival has grown, however, it equally poses challenges before organisers; cue the finances.

“It is very easy to start a fest, but difficult to maintain it for such a long period,” said Kalmadi, who is currently out of action in politics and facing health problems.

Krishnakant Kudale, chief coordinator of the festival, said “The period of 30 years is a long one and we could do it only because of the support by the people of Pune who are culturally rich and passionate.”

The Pune Festival starts with the ‘Ganesh Pratisthapan’ – the installing of Lord Ganpati’s idol at the Hotel Saras complex, Nehru Stadium. Then for five days, Puneites are treated to various cultural programmes.

This year veteran actor and MP Hema Malini will inaugurate the festival.

PUNE FESTlVAL

Performances at Ganesh Kala Krida manch

September 14, 8.30 pm

Sufi qqawwali and sangeet by Pawan Naik

September 15, 8.30 pm

Golden era of music: Tribute to C Ramchandra, Jaidav, Maushad and others by Jitendera Bhurukh

September 16, 8.30 pm

Hindi Hasya Kavi Sammelan by Mahesh Dubey, Navneet Hullad and others

September 17, 8.30 pm

Jashn-E-Husn. a music tribute by Rani Verma

Performances at Bal Gandharava rangmandir

September 15, 5 pm

Rising little stars of Pune

September 16, 5 pm

Marathi play LifePartner

September 18, 5 pm

Bandish, a Kathak performance by V Anuradha Singh

September 20, 9,30 pm

Marathi play Afsana

First Published: Sep 14, 2018 16:39 IST