What turned out to be the grandest of the four stopovers so far, the Indo-German Urban Mela Delhi saw more than 1,40,000 visitors over the nine days - from October 27th to November 4th. The Urban Mela in Delhi captured the hearts of Dilliwaalas, packing in a crowd from neighbouring areas as well.
Set-up at the Indraprastha "Millennium" Park, the opening ceremony for the Urban Mela in Delhi was held in the presence of Lt. Governor Shri Tejender Khanna, Bollywood actor and social cause enthusiast Sushmita Sen, The German Ambassador to India Michael Steiner, Managing Director of the Goethe-Institut Dr. Bruno Gross and Representative Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business (APA) & Chairman BASF Companies in India & Head South Asia Prasad Chandran. Together, the guests of honour illuminated the ceremonial lamp.
The 13th Asia-Pacific Conference of German Business (APK) co-incided with the Indo-German Urban Mela Delhi. Global heads of major businesses, political leaders and important figures in trade and commerce, including Dr. Philipp Rösler, Federal Minister of Economics and Technology (BMWi) participated in extensive discussions over three days, the reception for which was held at the venue of the Urban Mela.
Visitors of all ages experienced some of the most vibrant performances by Indian Ocean, Asad Khan and Fusion Messengers, Mardi Gras.BB, The Ska Vengers, Dualist Inquiry, Ayaan Ali Khan etc.
In addition to an exciting range of workshops and interactive exhibits by several German organisations, there were photographic exhibitions, workshops and book readings by celebrated authors like Indrajit Hazra, Urvashi Butalia, Rana Dasgupta and more.
Here's a look at some highlights:
BLOT! + Jahcoozi: Delhi audiovisual collective BLOT! and Berlin based dub electronica act Jahcoozi showcased a joint performance that features tracks in German, and gathered influences from contemporary Germany and India.
Urban Styles was a series of workshops in dance, music and art delivered by leading German based contemporary artists. Hip-hop music artist Akua Naru, dancer Can Benjamin Kazim Gülec and graffiti artist “Tasek” Gerrit Peters conducted workshops for Mela visitors.
Indian Ocean: Renowned for their vibrant performances, the band captivated audiences with their contemporary Indian music.
Novel Tree: One of the most romantic settings at the Urban Mela, Novel Tree was a celebration of Indian novels in English and novelists based in Delhi. Authors including Jeet Thayil, Rana Dasgupta, Indrajit Hazra, Ambarish Satwik, Amitabha Bagchi, Chandrahas Chowdhury, Anita Roy and Nilanjana Roy read from their published and forthcoming books.
Mardi Gras.BB: Blending swing, soul, funk, jazz and other genres, German brass band Mardi Grass.BB thrilled the Delhi audience with a medley of their musical numbers.
Framing Spaces: The visitors renewed their way of looking at the space using a choreographed mode of observation. Using a large foldable picture frame the spectators were taken around to different places on the Mela ground.
The Ska Vengers: A Delhi based band, they blended ska rhythms with elements of dub, punk, jazz and rap to come up with a form of music that was refreshingly different, energetic and highly danceable.
Witness To Change: Images selected from an independent publication and exhibition in Germany called Ein Tag Deutschland (One Day in Germany), and also from photographers who have contributed to PIX: A Photography Quarterly over the last year were displayed. The images aimed to create a sense of unity and interconnectedness as well as contrast between photography in both Germany and India.
Games Corner: Visitors took part in a variety of fun and competitive German games on a daily basis that worked as a great opportunity for them to prove their swiftness, mobility and velocity.
Starting Point #3: A collaborative dance piece created by German dancer and choreographer Felix Bürkle and Indian dancer Hema Sundari Vellaluru during a six month residency in Mumbai. Starting Point #3 is based on the encounter of two people, a real encounter in a given space that just happens to be a stage, a public space.
Contests: While more than 150 entries were received for "What's your German Connect?" - the contest, the photography contest that entailed clicking pictures of pavilions at the Mela with a human angle also got a good response.
And the winners were-
What's your German Connect? contest:
1st prize - Shivanand Bhure
2nd prize - Heena
3rd prize - Khushboo Mehta
Photography contest: Esha Kalra
Shuttle service: To help keep Delhi green and eco-friendly by encouraging public transport with visitors, free shuttles from Indraprastha Metro Station were provided by the organisers of the Indo-German Urban Mela. Brand new vehicles, courtesy of Volkswagen, ferried visitors to the venue, keeping in line with the central belief of the year of Germany in India: sustainable cities for the future.
Other events that captivated the visitors included -
- Performances by sitarist Asad Khan, Dualist Inquiry, Ayaan Ali Khan
- Theatre by select Delhi University colleges,
- MeiDhwani: Opening Of IGNITE! Festival Of Contemporary Dance,
- The Grand Science Slam,
- Workshop with Tiny Drops
- Mela Diary by Barbara Yelin
The nine days buzzing with something to indulge every age and taste will be the talk of town for days to come. The final stop of the tour in Pune is scheduled from January 11 to January 20, 2013!