Culture Curry with Australian Flavours
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Oz Fest a cultural extravaganza spread over five months is aimed at giving Indians a slice of the life in Australia.
Long before Bollywood heroines started doing action scenes, there was Fearless Nadia. Born Mary Ann Evans in Perth, Australia, Nadia came to Bombay along with her parents in 1913 when she was all of five. Starting her career as a theatre actor, Nadia eventually switched to the big screen as a stuntwoman and adventuress — with blockbusters such as Hunterwali (1935) and Diamond Queen (1940).
Now, her 80-year-old legacy will be brought alive through a collection of film clips to be showcased in Mumbai and Chennai at the Oz Fest, a festival celebrating Australian culture in India that kicks off in the Capital on October 16. Speaking to the media in Delhi on Tuesday, Australian High Commissioner Peter Varghese said, "We want to give Indians an opportunity to glimpse into the vibrant Australian culture through music, art, food, films, literature, dance, sport, ideas and much more."
Interestingly, another actor from Perth, Pallavi Sharda, who has bagged lead role in Abhinav Kashyap's next film, is one of the ambassadors of the Oz Fest, along with cricketer Brett Lee and Australian cooking sensations Gary Mehigan and George Calombaris (of the MasterChef Australia fame). Sharda will also be seen in the film Save Your Legs! that will premiere in India on October 21 in Mumbai.
The fest, which will boast over 100 events spread over 18 Indian cities, will kick-start with a concert at Purana Qila, featuring aboriginal songwriter Gurrumul Yunupingu, didgeridoo virtuoso Mark Atkins and Indian classical musician Anoushka Shankar.
"Collaboration between the two countries is increasing in various fields. Indians have invested 11 billion Australian dollars in our resources sector. India's presence in our country can be seen from the fact that Punjabi is the fastest growing language there and Hinduism is the fastest growing religion," said Varghese.
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