Nick Hartgerink

Thousands flock to UOW’s festival of Indian culture

The University of Wollongong’s week of Bollywood-inspired activities and events culminated in a colourful finale with thousands of people on campus on Sunday for a celebration of Indian culture.

Activities ranged from dance lessons to yoga classes, pottery and cooking demonstrations, fashion, food and film, with an emphasis on family fun.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) Professor Joe Chicharo described Sunday’s festival finale as “sensational”.

“The grounds were packed and everyone was having a great time,” Professor Chicharo said. “There were thousands of people on campus so it was a fantastic exercise in community engagement and international cultural exchange. We even had busloads of people down from Sydney.”

The event coincided with the final day of the four-day-long Indian Film Festival, with a range of Bollywood hits and classic Indian films screening in the University Hall.

Bollywood in Wollongong was presented by UOW in partnership with coal company Gujarat NRE, whose chairman Arun Jagatramka took a personal interest in festivities, including choosing some of his favourite films for screening throughout the festival.

At Thursday’s opening night, Mr Jagatramka introduced the first film Band Baaja Baaraat, saying it was “an extravaganza of colour, dance and drama that I wanted to share with the people of Wollongong”.

Speaking at the opening, Professor Chicharo paid tribute to Mr Jagatramka and his wife Mona for the way they supported the Illawarra, saying they were two of the region’s greatest champions.

“The University is very proud to work with Gujarat NRE and our other sponsors to create this iconic event,” he said.

“We are celebrating Indian culture – film, dance and food. It’s about people and relationships … and gaining a greater understanding of each other’s culture.”

Check out the full gallery of Bollywood in Wollongong

Report: Nick Hartgerink
Pictures: Mark Newsham and Sean Maguire


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  • Bollywood in Wollongong was a hit with people of all ages

  • Thousands of people attended the festival finale at UOW’s Wollongong campus on Sunday

  • Indian dancers entertained guests at the opening night function at the University Hall

  • Deputy Vice-Chancellor (International) Professor Joe Chicharo (left) and Gujarat NRE chairman Arun Jagatramka welcomed guests at the Bollywood in Wollongong festival’s opening at the University Hall