Women came together to celebrate the monsoon at Sawan Utsav in Jaipur
The swings on the trees, the intoxicating fragrance of wet mud, chilly breeze that brushes against your body and incessant rain that wakes the earth up from slumber… Sawan ka mahina is often a poet’s inspiration, Bollywood’s favourite theme and a lover’s desire. And what better way to celebrate this month of festivities than with music, dance and colour?
Last Sunday, Jaipur had all that and much more at its annual Sawan Utsav, organised by Rainbow, Rajasthan’s widespread phone service, on the lawns of Hotel Rajmahal Palace. Competitions, entertainment stalls, dance performances, celebrity presence and great food, all went into making the evening a huge success.
What makes this event more interesting is that the evening was created exclusively for women. The participants, audience and judges were all women. A unique concept in festivals, it stems from the fact that women in Rajasthan even today rarely go out alone and let their hair down.
The roads looked barren, as over 20,000 women put in an appearance at the celebration. Accompanied by friends and relatives in their splendid best, the ladies ensured that every minute was fun-filled.
Two stages were erected opposite each other — one meant for performances by local people and the other for celebrity shows. It was a perfect opportunity for students to showcase their talents through the various competitions that were conducted throughout the evening.
Rainbow had conducted auditions in school and colleges to choose talented groups to take part in the gala event. Creative juices overflowed as dance, rangoli, mehendi and painting (portrait, modern and landscape) contests kept visitors hooked. Judging the dance performances was former Miss World Diana Hayden, while Anchal Dwivedi (Kaveri from the serial Saat Phere) reviewed the rangoli and mehendi contests.
It was then time for heads to turn towards the other stage. Shibani Kashyap was the first to set the tune with her “Ho Gaye Hai Mohabbat” and “Zinda”, along with cover versions of other songs. Disappointing was the fact that she chose to lip sync most of it.
Back after quite a hiatus, yesterday’s pop diva Sharon Prabhakar was the next entertainer. With age, her voice too seemed to have taken a beating and it was good that she chose to stop with two songs.
The Bollywood wannabe actress, Anjana Sukhani, performed to popular numbers like “Bidi Jaliye Le”, “Salaam-e-ishq” and “Golmaal”. But the performance by actress Udita Goswami was the icing on the cake. She moved the stage to songs from her films like Zeher and Paap. The audience took time to break free from inhibitions, and when they did it didn’t really matter who was singing or dancing. A sumptuous spread of chaats, snacks, Chinese dishes, and desserts added flavour to the fun.MANGALA RAMAMOORTHY