Suresh Wadekar, Kunal Ganjawala to croon at Shimla Summer festival

Shimla: Hoping to restore the glory of Shimla summer festival that from the 60s to the 80s attracted the country’s top artists, the five-day event starting from June 2 would include performers suited for the newer generations as well as the older ones.

“We have tried to blend the artist mix that will perform this festival to suit all kind of age groups,” said Amar Singh Rathore, deputy commissioner who is supervising the festival arrangements.

For the older generation the organiser have got Suresh Wadekar, famous for his ‘Seene Mein Jalan’ song recorded in 1978 for film Gaman performing on June 5 and catching up with the times, Kunal Ganjalwala, whose Bheegey Hont from the film Murder topped the charts in 2005, is the star attraction performing on June 6, the concluding day.

To cater to the Punjabi tourist, Jasbir Jassi is scheduled to perform on June 4. Other star artists performing during the festive week include the Tamil – Telgu playback singer Mahaluxmi Ayir, who was introduced into Hindi songs by none other the Oscar winning composer AR Rahman.

While Ayir performs on June 3, for the inaugural show on June 2, Himani Kapoor, a finalist of the 2005 Sa Re Ga Ma Pa television show, would be the star artist performing, Rathore said.

Governor Prabha Rau would inaugurate the festival and chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal would be the chief guest for the closing evening.

From having been a showcase festival for many famous Indian film industry playback singers of yesteryears like Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhonsley, Mukesh and Mohinder Kapoor to newer generation artists like Udit Narayan, Abhijit, Kumar Shanu, Sunidhi Chauhan and Sherya Ghoshal, and also hosting famous ghazal singers like Mehandi Hassan, Ghulam Ali, Jagjit Singh, Talat Aziz and Pinaz Missani, rising costs of hosting live shows and having to compete with a booming entertainment industry, the Shimla festival is just a shadow of its earlier prime positioning.

We are attempting to revive the prestige of the festival that it once held, said Rathore. To provide a glimpse of the local culture as well as a platform for budding talent, school children and local dance troupes would also perform before the star artists are introduced to the crowds.

A flower show, a baby show, Himachal food festival, band display, dog show and a painting competition are other attractions of the summer festival that starts next week.

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