Mayor of the West Midlands is Bringing Bollywood to the region for this year’s Diwali celebrations.
Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], October 20: Preity G Zinta – one of the most beloved and recognisable stars of Indian Cinema – is coming to Birmingham in November to mark Diwali. She will be welcomed by Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street and both Andy and Preity are set to preside over a weekend of events on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th November 2023 – in conjunction with the Consulate General of India.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Diwali is a special time for the Indian diaspora and communities right across our region are looking forward to celebrating the Festival of Lights. From the very outset of my time as Mayor, the WMCA has worked closely with local groups and the Consulate General of India to mark this occasion in suitably grand style – with dance, special guests and entertainment. This year, events will be spread across the weekend of Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th November including a star studded gala dinner at Millennium Point with Bollywood star turned self-made businesswoman Preity Zinta and a cultural programme at Birmingham Town Hall. I look forward to seeing local people at the festivities and joining in the celebrations myself.”
Preity G Zinta’s life story has captivated audiences worldwide including across the Subcontinent, Asia & the Middle East. The winner of two Film Fare awards (India’s equivalent of the Oscars), she is perhaps most fondly remembered for her role in the legendary film ‘Veer Zara’ among many others blockbusters. Now based in LA, Preity has achieved considerable success in the world of business – becoming one of the richest self-made Indian females on the planet thanks to her investment interests, production company and co-ownership of the PUNJAB KINGS cricket team in the IPL. A former UN AIDS ambassador and was on the Global Entrepreneurs Council for UN., she has undertaken extensive charity work which she continues to this day.
She is expected to be honoured by some of the city’s leading civic and educational institutions – and will no doubt get a rapturous reception from the hundreds of Indian students enrolled at Birmingham colleges and universities as well as the city and wider region’s substantial diaspora. Preity’s last appearance in the UK was over a decade ago when she spoke to Oxford University students at the Oxford Union Society.
Preity speaking about her forthcoming visits has said ‘I’m very excited to be part of the Diwali celebrations in Birmingham. Looking forward to meeting all the wonderful people there and celebrating the Festival of Light with them.’
Saturday 4th November
Preity will tour the burgeoning creative district of Digbeth – home to Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight’s Digbeth Loc studios, the Creative Content Hub at The Bond and a host of film & media schools. The intention is to showcase the area’s potential for attracting filmmakers from around the globe – including the multibillion dollar Bollywood film industry and to explore opportunities to forge links and partnerships.
Drinks & networking reception at Millennium Point
Evening gala dinner at Millennium Point – Dress code – black tie or traditional dress.
Diwali Dinner with Preity G Zinta at Birmingham’s landmark Millennium Point is expected to attract over 250 guests including business leaders, political dignitaries and special guests from the UK, India and global Indian diaspora with evening speeches & entertainment.
Sunday 5th November
Cultural Programme at Birmingham Town Hall
A free of charge Community Event open to the public.
Preity G Zinta set to make a guest appearance on stage to light the divas.
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Diwali is the five-day Festival of Lights, celebrated by millions of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world. For some, it also coincides with harvest and new year celebrations, is a festival of new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness.
The festival usually occurs between October and November, with the date changing each year. This year Diwali takes place over five days with the main day of celebration on Monday 12 November.
The word Diwali comes from the Sanskrit word deepavali, meaning “rows of lighted lamps”. Houses, shops and public places are decorated with small oil lamps called diyas, as well as fireworks being used to add more light and excitement to the occasion.
Each religion marks different historical events and stories.
Hindus celebrate the return of deities Rama and Sita to Ayodhya after their 14-year exile. They also celebrate the day Mother Goddess Durga destroyed a demon called Mahisha.
Sikhs particularly celebrate the release from prison of the sixth guru Hargobind Singh in 1619. But Sikhs celebrated the festival before this date. In fact, the foundation stone of the Golden Temple at Amritsar, the most holy place in the Sikh world, was laid on Diwali in 1577.
The founder of Jainism is Lord Mahavira. During Diwali, Jains celebrate the moment he reached a state called Moksha (nirvana, or eternal bliss).
About the West Midlands
At the heart of England, is the vibrant and culturally diverse region that is the West Midlands, home to nearly three million people. Nestled in the central part of the country, the West Midlands is a treasure trove of history, innovation, and creativity. From its bustling cities to its tranquil countryside, this region has something to offer everybody. It is a proud diverse community, that makes it the perfect place to celebrate the Festival of Lights, especially with its substantial South Asian diaspora community that makes it so unique.
Andy Street serves as elected Mayor of the West Midlands, a region that is shy of bringing the community together and putting on a show, demonstrated by the roaring success of the 2022 Commonwealth Games hosted in Birmingham.
The games brought together different races, genders, ages and faiths to celebrate an historic time for a jubilant city. Tangibly, the legacy of the games lives on as you walk through Birmingham New Street and view “Ozzy” the mechanical bull who was a fan favourite during the games after being introduced during the opening ceremony. However, the legacy of the games is prevalent in so many other ways, including spirit, collectiveness and pride in our region.
This Diwali celebration is the perfect opportunity to extend this feel-good feeling, as the West Midlands is an openly proud region rife with diversity, we are excited to be able to bring the community together and help ignite the excitement surrounding the Festival of Lights.
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