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                                    By NITISH S. RELE

Numerous communities in Florida will be celebrating India�s Republic Day (India adopted its Constitution on Jan. 26, 1950) this month. Here are a few of the cities holding celebrations in the Sunshine State:

TAMPA: The Federation of India Associations (FIA) of Tampa Bay will hold its Republic Day event from 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, at India Cultural Center, 5511 Lynn Road, Tampa. At the free event, there will be a flag-hoisting parade, booths showcasing Indian states, Indian arts, crafts, clothes, jewelry, and food on sale, entertainment program, rangoli competition, children�s activities and a sports competition with trophies for winners.

For more information, call FIA President Rashmi Jakhotia at (813) 962-4172, Event Chair Gopa Rautray at (813) 598-9848 or visit www.fia-tampabay.com

JACKSONVILLE: The Indian Cultural Society of Jacksonville will celebrate Republic Day from 2 to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30 at Landmark Middle School, 101 Kernan Blvd. N., Jacksonville. For more information, e-mail [email protected] or visit http://www.jaxics.org/ GAINESVILLE: The youth group of the India Cultural & Education Center in Gainesville will hold its Republic Day event on Saturday, Jan. 30, at the center, 1115 S.W. 13th St. For details, call (352) 379-2911 or visit www.icec-florida.org/

TALLAHASSEE: The India Association of Tallahassee (IATLH) invites all members of the community to attend the Republic Day celebrations at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, at the Leon County Public Library Main Branch (downtown). After the Republic Day celebration, the association will hold its Annual General Body Meeting for the year 2009. All may attend the meeting but, comments and voting if any, will be restricted to IATLH members only. For more information, visit www.iatlh.org

SOUTH FLORIDA: The Indian Religious and Cultural Center (IRCC) will hold an Anand Bazaar in Broward County to celebrate India�s Republic Day. Time and venue are being finalized. For information, e-mail [email protected] or visit http://www.irccflorida.com/



                   Ghabricha Paus                                                   Tahaan



                                                Story provided by INDO-US Chamber

The full schedule of events for the first annual India International Film Festival (IIFF) at Channelside Cinemas, 601 Channelside Drive, in Tampa are out. Ticket sales will begin in the first week of January through the festival Web site at www.iifftampa.com and other media outlets. The event will run Jan. 22-24.

IIFF of Tampa bay is dedicated to providing a platform for increased awareness of Indian cinema and culture to the community by promoting films and industry professionals representing the diversity of India.

The event will open Friday with a red carpet entrance to the special VIP Event with filmmakers, followed by the opening feature film. VIP event needs special passes and anyone with the event passes will be admitted to the opening feature. The after-party at Dolce Vita in Channelside will follow a Q&A session with the director of the film. The second day will feature four movie sessions with two movies playing simultaneously during each session. The first 2-hour session will begin at noon and have a 30-minute break between sessions. These 30-minute breaks will showcase performances of Indian cultural dances of various types.

For those interested in learning more about the business of films with regards to being an investor or a film maker, there will be a panel discussion lead by Tom Garrett, a producer of independent feature films and a founding partner of a sales and distribution company engaged in production and international distribution of independent feature films. Panelists also will include an executive producer working with M. Night Shyamalan on an upcoming movie.

Some of the films in the lineup are �7 Days in Slow Motion,� directed by Umakanth Thumrugoti; �Tahaan,� directed by Santosh Sivan; Kannada film �Gulabi Talkies� by the award-winning director Girish Kasaravalli; Tamil film �Kanchivaram,� by director Priyadarshan; �Bombay Summer,� by director Joseph Mathew Varghese; Bengali film �The Voyeurs,� directed by Buddhadeb Dasgupta; �Little Zizou,� directed by Sooni Sooni Taraporevala; Marathi film �Ghabricha Paus� (The Damned Rain), and a 84-minute documentary �The Salt Stories� � a road movie set in modern India that follows the trail of Mahatma Gandhi's salt march of 1930. Screening dates and times are being finalized.

The festival also features several short films and a special session on music videos by up and coming South Asian artists.

�The Magic and Music of Bollywood,� by Kanniks Kannikeswaran, artist-in-residence at Center for India Studies University of South Florida, will be presented Jan. 24. The multimedia lecture on Bollywood is a lively walk through the history of Indian film music.

The closing day will feature a Bollywood film that will be announced at the festival�s Web site: www.IIFFTampa.com. Tickets for the event also will be available through the Web site and will be priced at $50 for a three day event pass, $25 for the opening night only (includes entry to after-party (at Dolce Vita) and one-drink ticket), $25 ticket for the entire second day only or a $15 ticket for the last day only and per movie price of $10 for the second and third days.

Clearwater-based Homeowners Choice Insurance is the event sponsor. The three-day festival is expected to screen around 24 films, including feature films, documentaries and short films. Limited sponsorship opportunities are available. For individual film timings, check www.IIFFTampa.com

For more information about the festival or to join the volunteer team, call (813) 719-0303.   



                                                By NITISH S. RELE

The festival marking the Sun�s northward journey goes by several names in different parts of India. Some call it Makarsankrant. Others say Uttarayan. Or Lohri. Or Pongal. Here are some of the communities celebrating the kite-flying day in Florida:

TAMPA: The Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay will celebrate Uttarayan from 11 a.m. Jan. 17 (rain date may be the following Sunday) at Rowlett Park (shelters 202 and 218), 2548 River Hills Drive (near intersection of east River Hills Drive and Rowlett Park Road). The Samaj will sell kite and thread. Refreshment snacks and lunch will be served. Food will be provided by the Samaj. The event is free for 2010 Samaj members; non-members and guests pay $10 per person; for more information, call Samaj President Himatbhai Parekh at (813) 969-1661 or visit www.gujaratisamaj.org

Also, the Maayboli Melawa Tampa Bay (MMTB) will hold its annual Makar Sankrant program on Jan. 30 at Carrolwood Cultural Center, 4537 Lowell Road, Tampa. For information, e-mail [email protected]

ORLANDO: The Gujarati Society of Central Florida Uttarayan will be held from about noon Sunday, Jan. 17, at Ralph V. Chisholm Regional Park, 4700 Chisholm Park Trail, in St. Cloud. For more information, call Society President Nilkanth Kapadia at (407) 832-3835 or visit www.gujaratisocietycfl.com

Also, a Lohri � Bonfire Celebration will be held 6 to 10 p.m. Jan. 16 at the Hindu Society of Central Florida, 1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry. Prepaid tickets are $12 per person and include snacks, dinner and cultural program. It is free for children younger than 8 years of age. For information, e-mail [email protected] or call (407) 805-9198.

And the Marathi Mandal in Orlando will hold its Makarsankrant event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 16 at Barnett Park, Pavilion No. 3, 4801 W. Colonial Drive, Orlando. For more information, e-mail [email protected] or call (407) 829-3211.

MELBOURNE (SPACE COAST AREA): The date has not been fixed at the time of going to the press but the Indian Association of the Space Coast (IASC) will celebrate the kite-flying festival at Sandpoint Park in Titusville. For details, visit www.iascbrevard.com

JACKSONVILLE: The Hindu Society of North East Florida in Jacksonville will hold a Makarsankrant and Lord Ayyappa Puja on Jan. 14. For details, call the temple at (904) 268-7630.


BOOGIE WOOGIE RETURNS JAN. 17 TO SOUTH FLORIDA                                                            


Boogie Woogie (Bollywood dance competition) will be hosted once again in the South Florida area. The auditions will be held from 11 a.m. Jan. 17 at Tamarac Community Center, in Tamarac.

Several competitions will be held, including a solo for juniors ages 6 to 13 and seniors ages 14 to 21. For the first time, there also will be Mummy�s Championship (ages 22 to 35 and age 36 and above) and Group Competition (ages 6 to 10, 11 to 16 and age 17 and above). �Contestants from all over Florida and beyond will be participating,� said Anita Amin, founder of Nrityanjali International Performing Arts (www.nrityanjaliarts.com) in Fort Lauderdale, which is organizing the event. �It is a golden opportunity for folks to showcase their talent on international TV.�

Also, for the first time in Fort Lauderdale, there will be SET-Asia cameras to cover the event as well as a Bollywood celebrity guest. This time, the international finals are being held in the United States.

Last date to submit an audition form is Jan. 9. To participate, fill the inquiry/application form at www.boogiewoogiefl.com or call (954) 2821-BOO (266).  





THE RIDE: Four-door, five-passenger 2010 Nissan Maxima 3.5 SV midsize sports sedan.

DOWN THE ROAD: A carryover from 2009, Nissan�s flagship sedan boasts tremendous power with impressive ride and handling. No wonder it can scoot 0 to 60 mph in a little under 6 seconds.

TECH & PERFORMANCE: A 3.5-liter DOHC V-6 engine pumps out 290 horsepower at 6400 rpm and 261 pounds-feet of torque at 4400 rpm. The front-wheel-drive car is mated to a quite and smooth standard Continuous Variable Transmission with manual-mode capability. Suspension duties are ably handled by an independent strut with coils springs up front and a multilink rear system. The power rack-and-pinion steering system is razor-sharp with an admirable on-center feel. Bringing the quick car to a slowdown or stop are 12.6-inch front and 12.13 rear vented discs.

LOOK & FEEL: The Maxima conveys an athletic stance, thanks to a wide grille with the centered Nissan emblem, which is flanked by wraparound L-shaped headlights and a �catamaran-style� hood. Step to the rear and you will notice once again L-shaped �stepped� tail lamps and dual-chrome exhaust tips. Peek inside and you�ll find touches of chrome on gauges, vent rings and knobs, and audio switches. Notable comforts include standard eight-way driver and four-way front-passenger power seats, automatic dual-zone climate control, 60/40 split fold rear seat, power-slide sunroof and power doors, mirrors, locks and windows. The electroluminescent instrument panel of gauges for speedometer, coolant temperature, fuel and a rotated tachometer are large and eligible. The three-spoke steering wheel offers a solid grip to tackle the rigors of daily driving. During long trips, a digital compass in the rearview mirrors will be useful.

SAFETY FIRST: Standard features include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, four-wheel antilock brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution and Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Control, antiskid system, traction control, Vehicle Dynamic Control, front seat active-head restraints, front/rear crumple zones and a tire pressure monitoring system.

OUT THE DOOR: $33,180, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges. Go for the $2,030 sport package if you want a sport-tuned suspension, rear spoiler, HID xenon headlights, heated front seats, power tilt/telescopic steering column, paddle shifters, metallic-link trim, among other goodies.

BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, 245/40VR19 all season; wheelbase, 109.3 inches; length, 190.6 inches; weight, 3,540 pounds; fuel capacity, 20 gallons; city, 19 mpg; highway, 26 mpg; Web site, www.nissanusa.com

WHY DIG IT: Nissan claims that the Maxima has it all: style, performance, comfort, technology and value. We are in full agreement. But paying some attention on making the cabin materials and gloss levels top-notch won�t go unnoticed either.

For more new vehicle reviews, visit www.motoringtampabay.com




[email protected]

THE RIDE: Two-door, two-passenger 2010 Mazda MX-5 Grand Touring convertible.

DOWN THE ROAD: A carryover from 2009, the MX-5 is a fun, entertaining sports car. Top-down motoring enthusiasts will have a blast cruising the highway or tackling the rigors of daily driving, thanks to the convertible�s quick and agile character.

TECH & PERFORMANCE: Power is derived from a 2.0-liter DOHC inline-4 cylinder engine, which makes 167 horsepower at 7000 rpm and 140 pounds-feet of torque at 5000 rpm. Guiding the nimble car toward its destination is a direct and accurate hydraulic power-assist, rack-and-pinion steering system. A front double wishbone and a rear multilink suspension absorb the blows of potholes, isolating occupants from road noise and uneven surfaces. Brake feel is excellent, mainly attributed to 11.4-inch vented front and 11-inch solid rear discs. Grip is solid, thanks to the 205/45R-17 tires.

LOOK & FEEL: Sitting on a monocoque, unibody structure are inboard-mounted headlights flanked by a chrome-sprinkled five-point grille, sculpted triangular fog lamp bezels and body-colored bumpers. Keeping true to the MX-5 tradition are the four circular air vents, arched hood over the T-shaped instrument panel and a black center stack. The driver�s seat height adjuster will be a plus point for multiple drivers in the family. Also standard are automatic air-conditioning, power windows and door locks, mesh aero board wind blocker, driver information center, three-spoke tilt steering wheel and a generous rear center console storage bin.

SAFETY FIRST: Dual front and side airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes with Electronic Brake Distribution, three-point seatbelts with pretensioners and force limiters, side impact door beams, anti-theft engine immobilizer and tire pressure monitoring system are standard.

OUT THE DOOR: $26,410, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges.

BY THE NUMBERS: Wheelbase, 91.7 inches; length, 157.3 inches; weight, 2,480 pounds; fuel capacity, 12.7 gallons; city, 21 mpg; highway, 28 mpg; Web site, www.mazdausa.com

WHY DIG IT: The MX-5 is an exhilarating and entertaining car to drive. Open-air motoring fans will be in awe of its snappy acceleration, impressive handling, alert steering and a laudable fuel economy.



By NITISH S. RELE - [email protected]

Have you opened a new store or restaurant in the last six months? Expanding or relocating? Has your business won an award or a mention in your local newspaper? We want to hear from you. Call Nitish S. Rele at (813) 758-1786 or e-mail us at [email protected]





                  Gro Styles                                             Angithi







Angithi Fine Indian Restaurant in Tampa recently celebrated its 13-year anniversary. Opened by the late Shyam Singh in November 1996, the owner today says that consistency, loyal staff and quality of food have been key factors in the eatery�s success.

Angithi, which can accommodate 60 to 70 patrons, offers catering for up to 1,000 people. On Tuesday night, there is a special dinner menu. Gujarati food is available on demand. Also, chaat and pani puri are now served. In fact, at a special request, the restaurant serves any kind of food.

The eatery is open from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday.

For more information on Angithi at 2047 E. Fowler Ave., call (813) 979-4889 or visit www.angithirestaurant.com

And while you are at the restaurant, you can shop just a couple of stores down in the plaza at Gro Styles, 2035 E. Fowler Ave. The boutique is owned by longtime Khaas Baat fashion columnist Kiran Bahl. For more information, call Bahl at (813) 843-9040 or visit www.grostyles.com

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