SAFAL celebrates diversity of South Asian communities

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The Australian South Asia Forum Inc. (ASAF) organised the world’s first integrated South Asian Film, Arts & Literature Festival (SAFAL Fest) on 20 and 21 May in host partner Macquarie University’s North Ryde Campus in Sydney Australia.

The festival celebrated and showcased the richness and diversity of South Asian arts, culture and literature bringing together communities linked to the eight nations of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan,Sri Lanka and connecting them with non-South Asian audiences.

The festival was supported by the City of Ryde and the Federal Department of Communications and the Arts. SAFAL Fest Organising Committee was Chaired by concept creator Ash Gholkar and administered by NilalJayesinghe, Festival Program Director.

SAFAL Fest was inaugurated by John Alexander, Federal MP for Bennelong, in front of the bust of poet laureate Rabindranath Tagore and to the accompaniment of flute recital and Rabindra sangeet songs. Film, Arts and Literature programs ran concurrently over the two day period. The SAFAL Fest Awards Night program was hosted by popular ABC mediaperson Del Irani. John Alexander MP, Victor Dominello MLA, Hon. Daniel Mookhey MLC, Macquarie University Deputy Vice Chancellor Tim Beresford and Consul Pramuditha Manusinghe (Office of the CG of Sri Lanka) graced the occasion.

The evening featured scintillating music, song and dance performances from Afghan, Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan cultures. The highlight was the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Bollywood legend, film director N Chandra (Ankush, Pratighat, Tezaab, Yeh Mera India). Distinguished Achievement Awards were presented to Kumud Merani (broadcast media), Raghavendra Nair (dance), Prof. Adib Khan (literature) and Roy Gunaratne (visual arts – photography). Significant Contribution Awards were presented to Rekha Rajvanshi (literature) and Sirajus Salakin (music). Appreciation Awards were presented to Anasuya Subasinghe (Film), Indika Ferdinando (Film) and Anil Kumar Chaudhary (Film) for their participation in the festival. And Ruturaj Dhalgade and Charat Mathur received the World Premiere Award for premiering their Bollywood short film ‘An Invitation’featuring actor Rajat Kapoor at the festival.

Ash Gholkar, President ASAF & Chairperson SAFAL Fest “ASAF was delighted with the enthusiastic support and participation in SAFAL Fest 2017, not just of the South Asian but also wider Australiancommunity.

“ The festival is first of its kind with many innovative segments and provides a platform to celebrate South Asian literature and the arts. Macquarie University with its strong South Asian links, has been a perfect partner to stage this vibrant, eclectic mix of films, literature, art, dance and music with artists from Australia and abroad,” said Ash Gholkar.

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