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Umrao Jaan…Re-Imagined by Akademi

A Grade II-listed country mansion in leafy Hertfordshire is as far removed from a 19th Century Mughal Court in Lucknow but incongruity apart, Hyver Hall in Barnet was the setting on Friday 05 June for a quite marvellous amalgamation of East and West.  Billionaire Indian property investor H S Narula, chairman of Delhi-based DSC Limited, and his philanthropist wife Surina – the brains behind the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature – opened the doors to their magnificent UK home for a unique re-imagining of the Urdu-language classic ‘Umrao Jaan’.  The sprawling grounds were turned into a Mughal Court with all that that entails – from pugilistic poetry readings to myriad dancers and performers.  The lavish and authentic production was the brainchild of Mira Kaushik and her Akademi South Asian dance company which specializes in taking South Asian dance into the most unconventional spaces – and it doesn’t get any more unconventional than this.  Much like a Mughal Court, the event attracted a wide variety of personalities from the British Asian community – from the fabulously wealthy to artists, socialites, magicians and opinion-makers – quaffing champagne and enjoying Mughal cuisine, all for a good cause.  The event raised funds for Akademi’s unique charity and community projects in the UK and India.

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