MARCH 2017
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida



A Kanniks production

Sanatan Mandir of Tampa and India Cultural Center will present “Krishna – The Joy of Living” – a grand musical theater production, on Saturday, March 25, in Tampa. The performance at ICC (5511 Lynn Road) serves as a fundraiser for Sanatan Mandir.

The unique production will portray the joy of living as a cast of more than 50 Tampa Bay singers and dancers come together under the leadership of visionary musician and composer Dr. Kanniks Kannikeswaran.

In the composer’s own words, “Krishna is revered throughout India as a popular form of divinity and is worshipped and celebrated through verse, drama and colorful festivities. The idea of Krishna pervades most known art forms in India; whether it is Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Mohiniattam, or temple sculpture or murals.”

This production examines Krishna as an idea central to Indian thought. It also seamlessly integrates history, poetry, choral music, multi-genre folk and classical dance forms and multimedia in a performance that transcends cultural boundaries. There are verses in Braj bhasha, Hindi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Marathi, Gujarati (covering a history of 2000 years) performed by a 30-member choir with orchestral accompaniment. There are dances and powerful visuals from all over India, tied together by a strong narrative Krishna and his relevance to today.

“When you express yourself fully through the arts, you are in the space of pure bliss. Krishna is that bliss. This production explores that unblemished joy.”


Dr. Kanniks Kannikeswaran

Award-winning composer Dr. Kanniks Kannikeswaran is credited with his new form of expression that skillfully blends Indian ragas with choral, orchestral music, multimedia and dance. His work has resulted in the flowering of community choirs in over 16 cities around the country. Kanniks is no stranger to the Tampa Bay area. His “Chitram” and “Sharad” were performed in Tampa in 2009, 2010 and 2014 with an all-Tampa cast.

“We are really thrilled to host ‘Krishna’ as a fundraiser for our mandir. This is more than entertainment, it is wholesome education and it represents the unity of India in a beautiful manner with the coming together of a large community to support it,” said Pankaj Patel of the Sanatan Mandir, 311 E. Palm Ave.

Practices have been going on at the Sanatan mandir for weeks and the enthusiasm among singers is high. “The sense of camaraderie, the joy of sharing music in a choir setting is something that I had never experienced before. It is a joy to have sung in all of these productions since ‘Chitram’ in 2009,” says Satish Ankalikar, a singer and music aficionado and a long-term resident of Tampa.

Several local choreographers and dance schools are involved in bringing Kuchipudi, Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Raas and other dance forms to the production. Sheila Narayanan and Swapna Komarraju, who had supported “Chitram” and “Sharad” are coordinating the work with choreographers and dancers.

“The music that integrates the verses of Narsinh Mehta and Mira Bai has a natural flow to it that has inspired the choreography,” says Dr. Kalyani Derasari, who is choreographing the Raas segment.

Tickets are priced at $200 (VIP), $100 and $50. Cost includes dinner. Table sponsorship is priced at $1,000. For more information, call Pankaj Patel at (813) 789-3005.


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Manav Mandir will present its 21st annual Indiafest 2017 on Saturday, March 11, and Sunday, March 12, at Wickham Pavilion, 3845 N. Wickham Road, Melbourne. There will be cultural and fashion shows, henna, arts and crafts, Indian cooking demo, food, raffle drawings, etc.

The theme is “Heavenly North India” to be highlighted at the Discover India booth. Timings are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children ages 12 and under and kids younger than 5 years are free. This year’s charity is Candlelighters of Brevard, which is dedicated to children with cancer and their families by offering emotional support and financial assistance. Manav Mandir is holding a ticket raffle for a seven-day Caribbean cruise. Tickets are $10 each or $25 for three.

For information, call Yasmin Majeed at (321) 720-8590, e-mail [email protected] or visit


Sounds of a Hundred ColorsPresented by Association of Performing Arts of India, “Sounds of a Hundred Colors - Solo Sarangi and Music for the Soul” concert will take the stage Saturday, March 25, in Fort Lauderdale. Performers include sarangi maestro Pandit Ramesh Misra, vocalist Mitali Bhawmik, accompanied by tabla players Tim Richards and Rajesh Bhandari.

Pandit Misra is the son and disciple of sarangi virtuoso Pandit Ramnath Misra and has studied with Pandit Ravi Shankar. The highly respected soloist is also a sought-after accompanist to many of India’s most esteemed vocalists. Bhawmik was featured vocalist in Mira Nair’s film, “The Namesake.” She learnt Hindustani vocal music at a young age from Sri Ajit Dutta. She was under the tutelage of famous violin maestro Padmabhushan Pandit V.G. Jog.

Tabla player Richards became a disciple of the great tabla master Pandit Sharda Sahai of Banaras in 1972 and has been performing and teaching since 1976. He teaches students at his studio in Coral Gables. Bhandari started studying tabla at the age of nine at the East Indian Music Academy in New York from Pandit Ravideen Ramsamooj. He studied tabla, harmonium, and Indian vocal for four years. For many years, he has extended his music to many other genres and collaborations with other artists including hip-hop, jazz, fusion, Latin and African.

The 2 to 5 p.m. concert will be at Broward County Main Library Auditorium, 100 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets range from $10 to $30. For information, call (954) 885-1466, email [email protected] or visit



MARCH 12: HOLI; organized by Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. 301 N., Tampa; free for members; non-members $20/person; fee includes snacks and lunch; water slides for kids and professional DJ; natural colors available for purchase; nominal parking fee; for information, call Manish Patel at (813) 270-9896 or Ravi Patel at (727) 692-6399.

MARCH 12: HOLIKA DAHAN; 6 p.m.; Ambaji Mandir of Tampa Bay, 10991 58th St., Pinellas Park; for details, call the mandir at (727) 388-6685 or email [email protected]

MARCH 12: HOLI DAHAN: 6p.m.; Laxmi Narayan Mandir, 4615 George Road, Tampa; for information, call (813) 444-9786 or visit

MARCH 11: HOLI; 5 to 7 p.m.; Sanatan Mandir, 311 E. Palm Ave., Tampa; for information, call (813) 221-4482.

MARCH 18: RANGPANCHAMI CELEBRATION; organized by Maayboli Melawa Tampa Bay (MMTB); 10 a.m. onward; Lettuce Lake Park, 6920 E. Fletcher Ave., Tampa; for information, email [email protected] or visit

MARCH 11: HOLI FESTIVAL; presented by Telangana Association of Florida; Sri Ayappa Society of Tampa, 6829 Maple Lane, Tampa; 10 a.m.; for information, call Chandu Talla at (813) 476-9508, email [email protected] or visit

MARCH 26: RAJASTHANI GROUP HOLI PICNIC; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; John Chesnut Sr. Park, 2200 East Lake Road S., Palm Harbor; for other details, call Rashmi Jakhotia at (813) 962-4172.


MARCH 12: HOLI DAHAN; organized by the Bhartiya Samaj of Central Florida; Mary Holland Park, 2015 Shumate Drive, Bartow; dinner at Bartow Civic Center, 2250 S. Florida Ave., Barton; 6:30 p.m.; $25; for information, call Vinoobhai Patel at (863) 293-0942 or visit


MARCH 11: RANGPANCHAMI; organized by Orlando Marathi Mandal; live DJ music, dance and walk on the Trail; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Secret Lake Park, 200 N. Triplet Lake Drive, Casselberry; free for members and $12 for non-members; for details, email [email protected]

MARCH 12: HOLI CELEBRATIONS; organized by Gujarati Society of Central Florida; Dhuleti from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Turkey Lake Park, 3401 S. Hiawassee Road, Orlando; for information, call (407) 757-7086, email [email protected] or visit

MARCH 12: HOLI FESTIVAL; organized by the Hindu Society of Central Florida; 6 p.m.; HSCF Hindu Temple, 1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry; for information, call Dr. Aravind Pillai at (407) 718-8733 or e-mail [email protected]

March 19: HOLI 2017; organized by Indian Horizon of Florida and Lotus Insurance Group; Turkey Lake Park, 3401 S. Hiawassee Road, Orlando; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; free; $10 parking; for information, call Hari Singh at (321) 662-1887.


MARCH 26: HOLI PICNIC; organized by India Association of Fort Myers; Lakes Park - Shelter C1, 7330 Gladiolus Drive, Fort Myers; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; for information, visit


MARCH 18: HOLI; organized by the India Association of the Space Coast (IASC); F. Burton Smith Regional Park, 7575 W. Highway 520, Cocoa; 2 to 6 p.m.; for cost and other information, call (321) 271-7072, email [email protected] or visit


APRIL 8: HOLI; organized by Indian Cultural Society of Jacksonville; for time, venue and other details, visit


MARCH 19: HOLI CELEBRATION; organized by Indian Religious and Cultural Center (IRCC); C.B. Smith Park-Shelter No. 19, 900 N. Flamingo Road, Pembroke Pines; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; $5 per person for members and $8 for non-members; call Poonam Wadhwa at (954) 655-3080 or visit

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