The 19th edition of Hamsadhwani’s NRI Music and Dance festival got underway at the Indira Nagar Youth Hostel on Wednesday.

Inaugurating the 16-day sangita-natya utsav, Jennifer McIntyre, Consul General, U.S. Consulate General, Chennai, said that art forms create a bond between people of different countries. She said the NRI festival provided an opportunity for Indians in the U.S. to present their talents.

Hamsadhwani secretary, R. Sundar said the NRI festival, which was started in 1994 by his father and Hamsadhwani founder R. Ramachandran, had become very popular over the years.

The festival now features over 70 artistes from countries including U.S., Singapore, Australia, Canada and Nigeria. 

Mahesh Balasubramanian, executive vice-president of Kotak Mahindra Bank, which is jointly organising the festival, said that global Indians were connected with India only through music. 

Hamsadhwani president Ramnath S. Mani and its secretary T.R. Gopalan also participated in the event.

The inaugural was followed by ‘Thirai isai paatum Bharathamum – G. Ramanathan to A.R. Rahman’, a performance that blended film and classical dance to celebrate 100 years of celluloid, choreographed by Radhika Shurajit.