Bollywood Festival: Big fun beckons in Little India

Marshie Perera Rajakumar and Amy Kauler of Jhoom-Bollywood Dance Company are set for Dandenong’s Bollywood Festival. Picture: Rob Carew

DANDENONG’S Foster Street will resemble the streets of Mumbai on Sunday when it hosts the Bollywood Festival.

Held in the Little India precinct, the family fun day will portray an Indian bazaar feel, combining food, dance, music and cricket.

Visitors of any background are welcome to join Bollywood dancing lessons, yoga classes or a clinic hosted by Cricket Victoria.

Festival organiser Kathryne Turton-Lane says she wants the festival to highlight the importance of culture and identity in Dandenong, not other agendas.

‘‘I do not want the festival to have a political stance.

‘‘The main reason we decided to run it is to showcase our beautiful street.’’

Ms Turton-Lane, who runs Heidi Rose Clothing in Little India, wants people of all backgrounds to feel welcome at the festival.

‘‘We are going to give everyone a formal

greeting and present them with a garland as they enter.’’

Ms Turton-Lane expects the atmosphere of the inaugural festival to be festive, bright, and full of colour.

Organisers aim to portray the feel of a proper Indian festival, with the smell of incense, the waft of fresh curries, and the distinctive sounds of a sitar in the background.

Children can enjoy as jumping castles, face-painting and small rides.

The Little India traders’ area grew up in the mid-1990s and was officially recognised by the City of Greater Dandenong in 2008.

Traders in the Little India precinct are proud of the cultural diversity they bring to Dandenong. The blending of Indian, Fijian Indian, Egyptian, Serbian, Pakistani, Afghani, Australian and Lebanese traders through their goods, languages and customs helps create this diverse community.

The traders say they hope there will be more festivals held within the cultural precinct.

The festival runs from 11am-6pm on Sunday and entry is free.

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