NEW DELHI(PTI): President Pranab Mukherjee will host a dinner for Barack Obama at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Sunday night, for which around 250 guests have been invited. The list includes illustrious names from various fields. Apart from political heavyweights, including Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, it includes Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, AR Rahman, Gulzar, Priyanka Chopra and Sachin Tendulkar.
The invitees are expected to arrive by 7:45 pm and dinner will be served by 8:45 pm. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food is on the menu, with the choice left entirely to the guests.
The dinner will be a carefully designed spread of select Indian delicacies from North and South Indian cuisine. Galauti Kababs and the Gujarati kadhi will be included as will be sondesh and paan.
The President’s banquet will also feature a one-hour cultural programme by the renowned dance troupe Seher of the Ananya festival fame. Five dance gurus — Madhavi Mudgal (Odissi), Prerna Shrimali (Kathak), Geeta Chandran (Bharatanatyam), Rajendra Pillai (Kathakali) and Charu Sija Mathur (Manipuri) — along with 30 dancers will present a 25-minute-long concert at the Rastrapati Bhawan auditorium.
“It’s a great way to showcase the rootedness of the art form in all its purity. Mostly Indian music abroad is represented as fusion. This will probably be one of Obama’s few brushes with the colours and the diversity of the Indian dance styles in their full glory,” said Sanjeev Bhargav, the founder of Seher.
Rehearsals have been on at the Rashtrapati Bhavan premises for the last 25 days. Mudgal, also a Padma Shri, is leading the choreography. The concert will open with an invocation from the Rig Veda, followed by short presentations in each style, ending with a rhythm-heavy finale.