Zee Dubai Mega Mela brings Indian culture to Media City
More than one million Indians live in Dubai, making them the city’s biggest expat community. And even if you’ve never been to India (why not? It’s practically next door, you know), no doubt you’re aware of how colourful and vibrant Indian culture can be. Next weekend there’s a big celebration of that culture at Media City amphitheatre, where Bollywood stars, celebrity Indian chefs and some of the Subcontinent’s most celebrated musical sensations will be entertaining the (no doubt heaving) crowds. If you fancy a taste (and touch, and look, and listen) of Indian life, this outdoor extravaganza is a good place to start. Here are our top picks from the fest.
1 Hrithik Roshan d This buff Bollywood leading man has starred in not one, not two, but three of Bollywood’s biggest-ever box-office hitters: Koi… Mil Gaya, Dhoom 2 and Krrish. He’ll be a constant presence at the festival, mingling with visitors at the Moulinex Chefs’ Theatre (see below) and chatting during daily interview sessions on the venue’s main stage. He’ll also make his catwalk debut – much to the delight of the ladies, we presume.
2 Moulinex Chefs’ Theatre Our favourite thing about India? The food. There’ll be a diet-challengingly delicious array of cuisine from some of Dubai’s best Indian restaurants – Indego, Ashiana and Bombay Chowpatti, among others – and live cooking demonstrations featuring celebrity TV chef Sanjeev Kapoor. Kapoor has been named one of the top five celebrity chefs in the world, alongside culinary favourites such as Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver. Open daily 3.15pm-11.30pm
3 Shankar Ehsaan Loy If the names Stock, Aitken and Waterman are the terrifying sound of Aussie soap stars bleating ’80s bubblegum pop, then composers Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy are the (less disagreeable) sound of modern Bollywood. They’re responsible for the soundtracks to what are already two of 2010’s runaway hit films, My Name is Khan and Karthik Calling Karthik. April 3, 6.45pm-7.45pm
4 Stars of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Contestants from what is essentially Indian Idol will perform on the main stage throughout the festival. We assume these are the few that are actually good, not the weird ones from the first couple of rounds.
5 Ali Azmat d This Pakistani rocker shot to fame as the frontman of the nation’s biggest band, Junoon, who broke with convention by blending poetry and traditional instruments with rock. Like all rock ’n’ roll cliches, he then left to go solo (aw, we’re only kidding, Ali) and has enjoyed massive success in Pakistan and India. April 1 at 3.30pm and 10pm; April 2 at 6pm and 10pm; April 3 at 5.30pm and 8pm
6 Stars of Dance India Dance The Subcontinent’s biggest reality TV dance competition (there are a few) sees mere civilians trained up by professional Bollywood choreographers. Some of the show’s past contenders will be on stage throughout the festival to entertain with their ballet, Broadway, Bollywood, contemporary and hip-hop routines.
7 Health, Beauty and Wellness Theatre Traditional health remedies such as ayurveda will be on offer here. There are a lot of traditional healing systems in India (yoga, aromatherapy and herbal healing, to name but a few), so this should be an interesting place to pick up some new knowledge. Experts will be on hand with hair and make-up tips, and there’ll be advice on healthy lifestyle and fitness, too. Open daily 3.15pm-9.45pm
8 Mela Bazaar Step into the (enjoyable) madness of an Indian market at the Mela Bazaar, where you can shop for everything from clothes and accessories to spices, music and crafts. Arm yourself with a steely resolve and make sure to barter. Then maybe you’ll be ready to book a holiday and try the real thing.
The Mega Mela is on April 1-3 at the Dubai Media City amphitheatre. For more info and the full schedule, see www.dubaimegamela.com.