NEW YORK: Diwali came early to New York City this year in the form of a cultural and entertainment extravaganza called ‘Diwali at Times Square’ on Sunday, September 22, 2013. This unique event, organized by Event Guru, conceptualized and executed by ASB Communications, enthralled thousands at the crossroads of the world – Times Square. While rain was forecast, the day dawned bright and clear, as though nature itself was eager to witness this historic event through clear eyes. If so, it was not disappointed.
Featuring a magnificent array of cultural events ranging from Lavani to Bhangra, this first-of-its-kind international initiative to promote Indian culture, heritage and diversity filled up Times Square with vibrant colors and heart pounding dances. The finale, the “Light Up Times Square” concert featured a soul stirring performance from the versatile and mellifluous Shankar Mahadevan. While Shankar’s voice transported everyone present to another dimension, the presence of two generations of the legendary Kapoor family added even more buzz and excitement. The youthful heartthrob, Ranbir Kapoor, star of the upcoming movie, Besharam was seen on stage together with his equally famous parents, Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh Kapoor.
The vibrancy and the universal appeal of the event crossed over from just an Indian audience. Tien Le, who is not of Indian descent and was, volunteering with ASB for the event, felt the welcoming feeling. “Look at me,” she said. “I’m wearing their clothes, in their celebration and people have only showed me appreciation.” It is no wonder then that a huge portion of the crowd braved the chilly evening to stay for the entire event which lasted till 9:30 PM.
Speaking on the occasion Hon. Minister for Tourism (Government of Maharashtra), Chhagan Bhujbal said, “Due to this event, the image of Maharashtra is going to be boosted in all international markets, not just in the USA. We want foreign tourists to come to Maharashtra, explore its rich cultural heritage and UNESCO world heritage sites like Ajanta, Ellora and Elephanta caves. They should also visit Tadoba Tiger Sanctuary, near Nagpur, where any tourist would spot tigers. It is my pleasure to invite all international tourists to indulge in the luxurious Deccan Odyssey train which covers the beautiful Maharashtra.”
Mr. Satish Soni, Director – Tourism, Government of Maharashtra said, ‘It’s an extravagant event for Maharashtra tourism in a foreign land. We are glad at its grand success as thousands of people visited and enjoyed the event at the magnificent Times Square. We appeal to the people of the world to come to Maharashtra for an unforgettable experience.
Complimenting ASB Communications and Event Guru, Shankar Mahadevan said, “Congratulations for pulling this off. To do this at Times Square was close to impossible. God bless”.
“I came to the USA over 36 years ago and I still remember being awed by Times Square when I first saw it. I told myself even at that time that I will showcase the diversity and richness of India at this location. I am so thankful to all those who came here today. I am equally thankful to Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, Air India, MoneyGram, DishWorld, Wells Fargo, Bank of Baroda and all other sponsors without whose support this event would not have been possible”, said Neeta Bhasin, President, ASB Communications, the conceptualizer of the event.