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The festival includes a free outdoor Bollywood film screening, dance classes, yoga and music. (NICK SIU)
The festival includes a free outdoor Bollywood film screening, dance classes, yoga and music. (NICK SIU)

Hot Ticket: Indian Summer Add to ...

It’s a country that houses a sixth of the world’s population, and has become an international powerhouse – and you can explore modern India’s food, arts, ideas, and its strong Canadian ties, at the Indian Summer Festival.

Among the colourful offerings are a free outdoor Bollywood film screening that comes with Bollywood dance classes, yoga, music and a Vij’s food truck. Also, there’s a well-being weekend of yoga, meditation and nutrition workshops, and a percussion-heavy, collaboration-fuelled concert by Rajasthan Josh with Vancouver musicians Tarun Nayar of Delhi2Dublin, percussionist Ashwin Sood and beatboxer Rup Sidhu. The eight-day fest also ventures into the realm of ideas with discussions about everything from the triumphs and failures of urbanization to a talk about South Asia’s future by journalist and author Sudeep Chakravarti, who has worked for the Asian Wall Street Journal and Rolling Stone India.

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“The concept of Indian Summer is to feed the soul, the stomach, the brain, the senses, everything – and not to leave any of those out,” says festival co-founder Sirish Rao. “It’s easy to watch a performance and leave; but it’s very different to be able to engage with great minds from other cultures and have a global dialogue.”

Kicking off the fest Thursday night is a culinary tour of South Asia curated by Vikram Vij that’s set in the serenity of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and will take food lovers on a gastronomical tour of tastes from India, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Nepal and beyond, and pair them with wines from Indian-owned B.C. wineries. “Vancouver is such a foodie city, and we Indians are so food obsessed, so there couldn’t be a better combination,” says Mr. Rao with a laugh. “And sometimes cultural understanding just comes down to appreciating someone else’s food.”

The Indian Summer Festival runs July 4-13 (indiansummerfestival.ca).

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