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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - By Hassan Cheruppa
JEDDAH – Thousands of people flocked to Jeddah Equestrian Ground on Friday to witness “Asian Night 2020 Expatriate Festival” (Pravasolsavam) organized by the Indian television channel MediaOne.
For the first time in its history Jeddah witnessed such a mega Indian entertainment show with the mammoth participation of more than 15,000 lovers of art and music. The five-hour long high voltage musical and cultural show mesmerized the audience and evoked intense nostalgic feelings in them. Hundreds of artists from India also attended the show
The Indian TV channel’s show was the first of its kind being held in the Kingdom with the approval of the General Entertainment Authority after opening up of the entertainment sector. Hundreds of expatriate families from all parts of Jeddah as well as from Makkah, Madinah, Taif, Yanbu, Rabigh and Qunfudah witnessed the event.
Renowned young Indian film actor Prithviraj Sukumaran, the chief guest, inaugurated the show in the presence of several prominent Saudi and Indian dignitaries. They included Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Faisal, Assam Al-Jifri, MediaOne Vice Chairman P. Mujeeburahman, Business head M. Sajith, Director A. Suhail, Advisory Board Member Rahim Pattarkadavan, K.M. Basheer, N.K. Abdurahim, A. Najmuddeen as well as sponsors of the event.
Excited over the presence of the huge gathering of art lovers, Prithviraj said in his speech that he was first seeing such a mammoth gathering of expatriates in a Gulf country. He congratulated the people of Jeddah and Saudi Arabia for their love of art and music. “The expatriate festival is the embodiment of inclusive Kerala culture. Expatriates are the backbone of Kerala in all sense of the word,” he said while expressing his gratification to attend the first mega show of MediaOne, the only licensed Indian channel in the Kingdom.
Prithviraj, who is also director and producer of films, is the winner of several state and national film awards. He made his directorial debut in 2019 with Lucifer, which became the highest-grossing Malayalam film ever that grossed Rs2 billion at the box office. Prithviraj is the main actor in Aadujeevitham or Goat Life, an upcoming Indian survival drama film based on the real life of Najeeb, an Indian immigrant who worked as a shepherd in Saudi Arabia.
The performance of the musical band, led by Stephen Devassy, one of the top Indian onstage performers, captivated the audience in a grandeur manner. Devassy, a renowned music director and composer, mesmerized the music lovers with his fastest play of chords on the piano. Famous Indian playback singers Vidhu Prathap, Manjari and Anwar Sadat stole the show with their melodious songs. Anitha Shaiq, another playback singer and music composer, enthralled the gathering with her amazing Indian Sufi songs. The musical performance of famous violinist Fancis Xavier was another attraction.
Surabhi Lakshmi, winner of the Best Actress National Film Award, performed in comedy skits on contemporary issues along with artists Nawas Vallikkunnu and Kabeer in the show in which Raj Kalesh was the anchor.
Many attendees expressed their thrilling experience of witnessing such a unique show, which was organized in a dignified and elegant manner. “We are overwhelmed with the discipline and law-abiding nature of Indians who flocked the festival ground in a smooth manner, creating not any single issue or headache for the security personnel,” Ahmed Al-Nashiri, a Saudi security guard, said.
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