The first programme is a concert by Oscar-winning composer A R Rahman as part of the Sydney Festival 2010 on January 16, and the second is a four-day Australia India Heritage Week in Kolkata that started on Monday.
The emphasis on goodwill building by the government can be seen in the fact that the Australian Embassy in Delhi has issued a statement that the concert by the “Mozart of Madras” would be telecast live by Australia Network on Saturday.
“Australia Network is very proud to present the exclusive direct broadcast of a concert for Sydney Festival 2010 by internationally renowned music composer A R Rahman,” the statement said.
“On the same night he performs his only Australian concert, Australia Network will bring Rahman’s unique outdoor extravaganza to the small screen for fans from Fiji to Delhi to enjoy,” it said.
The concert, which will be telecast live from 3:00 pm IST on the network, will be held on a stage set in the beautiful Parramatta Park. Australia Network will broadcast the entire event to 44 countries. Rahman will perform with an entourage of more than 40 Indian musicians and Bollywood dancers on stage.
The concert is a free event being held with “generous support” of the New South Wales government. “It promises to be a night filled with colour, dancing and the irrepressible rhythms and melodies of contemporary Indian music,” it said.
Australia Network chief executive Bruce Dover’s comment, included in the statement, emphasises the “cultural diversity” of Australia, which somehow would not sound too convincing in the current scenario. “The concert and broadcast celebrates Australia’s cultural diversity and provides a musical bridge between Australia and the region,” he said.
The concert is co-hosted by cricketing legend Matthew Hayden and ABC presenter Miriam Corowa. The event will come immediately after the Heritage week concludes in Kolkata, which is being organised by the Victoria Memorial Museum, INTACH, Loreto College and AusHeritage, which is Australia’s International Network for Cultural Heritage.
Programmes during the heritage week include a workshop for museums in Bengal and North-East India at Victoria Memorial Museum, a forum and workshop on the adaptive reuse of historic buildings with INTACH, evening public lectures on heritage conservation at Loreto College and visits to a number of heritage buildings.
“Heritage is a very important aspect of society and I am very supportive of this close collaboration between Australia and India in this area,” Australian High Commissioner to India Peter Varghese said.
The workshop is supported by the Australia-India Council which has also funded previous initiatives in this area. Established by the Australian government, AIC supports collaborative initiatives in a wide range of areas of mutual concern, including in heritage conservation.