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Chillai Kalan festival begins in Srinagar, ‘Makaan’, ‘Batte’, ‘Kotur’ among others performed

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Srinagar: After recording the coldest night of the winter season, Srinagar’s Tagore Hall came alive with theatre and music performances of artists on the inaugural day of the ‘Istaqbaal-e-Chilla-i-Kalaan’ festival on Saturday morning.

The festival came as a ray of hope for the local artists who were unable to find a platform ever since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic.

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“Today was the coldest night of the season and the minimum temperature in Srinagar plummeted to minus 6.6 degrees Celsius….and inaugurating this festival on a cold winter morning was something special. Earlier, the Covid-19 lockdown had created a crisis for everyone including artists. Artists need a platform to give vent to their creative side and through this festival, we intend to provide the same,” festival director Mushtaaque Ali Ahmad Khan told The Kashmir Monitor.


He said the three-day-festival will have drama, song, and dance performances in four languages and give space to every community in Jammu and Kashmir.

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“From November onwards, there are no activities in winter, but our team decided to celebrate ‘Chillai Kalaan’. The three-day festival will demonstrate how strong the artists are. There will be drama, song and dance presentations in Kashmiri, Pahari, Gojri, and Pashtu languages. We will also have performances of specially-abled children,” said Khan.

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Well known Bollywood actor of Kashmiri origin Mir Sarwar said he was glad that a festival of this kind was being held to give a platform to the artists.

“In 2003, I had performed on this stage (Tagore Hall) for the first time during a National School of Drama workshop…When I came to know about the festival, I thought it is my duty to be here,” said Sarwar, who has acted in several Bollywood films like Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Dishoom, Jolly LLB, and Kesari among others.

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Four plays including ‘Negative’, ‘Makaan’, ‘Batte’ and ‘Kotur’ were performed on the inaugural day of the festival, which is being organized by the Actors Creative Theatre (ACT) in collaboration with J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Language (JKAACL).

Other performances like ‘Surnai Waadan’, ‘Roff’, ‘Haafiz Naghma’, Gojri folk songs by Parveen Chowdhary, Pahari folk songs by Tariq Pardesi and Masarrat Naaz were also held. A standup comedy item by Gul Javaid Bhat was also presented on the occasion.