Organisers of Chennai International Film Festival performed to popularise event among residents
In a move to popularise the ongoing Chennai International Film Festival in the city, its organisers conducted a Zumba dance event at Besant Nagar beach early on Sunday morning.
The event was launched by S. Lakshmi, DCP (traffic, south) Chennai. This is the second event, after a flash mob at Express Avenue mall five days ago, which saw CIFF organisers reach out to residents to popularise the event.
The sound of foot-tapping music and a milling crowd of dancers wearing pink T-shirts in the centre of the beach attracted a lot of beach regulars including joggers, amateur footballers and Frisbee players, to the Latin American dance form increasingly used in fitness programmes.
Around 40 Zumba dancers performed with several celebrities, and took turns to show off their moves. Senthil Kumaran, who choreographed both the flash mob at Express Avenue and the Zumba event, said the intention was to present a variety of dance forms from around the world.
“The film festival is a place where one can see a large number of films from different countries and cultures. Similarly, the idea was to showcase different styles such as Russian folk dance, Merengue, Bachata and Calypso within the Zumba routine.” He was surprised at the enthusiastic participation of the crowd, he said. which is often labelled as conservative.
The crowd also got to witness well-known Bharathanatyam danseuse Anita Ratnam combine traditional Bharathanatyam with Zumba dance moves. Admitting that it was ‘liberating’ to not have to worry about postures and gestures on stage for once, Ms. Ratnam said she hoped CIFF created a space for movies that are not star-driven.
“It is about giving the audience a chance to choose. We have a thriving but mono-film culture. We must strive to build an alternative cinema culture,” she said.
Those who performed included actors Ashok Kumar, Shantanu Bhagyaraj, TV anchor Ramya and actor Manu who is best remembered as the heroine of Ajith Kumar’s ‘Kadhal Mannan’.