Not every day does an experiential agency get the opportunity to produce events such as these. Events that mount the spirit of the India, that is today. Not every agency rises to the occasion the way this one did and always does.
Team Wizcraft stood by Mumbai and India to produce this very important event - 26/11: Stories of Strength at the Gateway of India, Mumbai on the 26th of November this year. I had the privilege of standing in as anchor, as the voice of the event and was also responsible for steering some of the proceedings on stage.
The mood was sombre and resolute. Every single element of the event reflected this colour. The colour of solidarity, oneness and resolution. Every note that filled the air, every word that was spoken, every movement that spread, every expression that unfurled resonated with the spirit of one story. The story of oneness. The story of standing united against the global business of terror.
To mark ten years of the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, a blot on humanity that can never be erased, The Indian Express hosted the third memorial event remembering those who lost their lives, those who lost their loved ones and those who rendered the ultimate sacrifice in the service of the nation. The tribute was genuine, heartfelt and valuable.
This event bathed in poetic lighting, mounted on the waterfront at Apollo Bunder area at the end of Chatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj Marg in South Mumbai, against the backdrop of the Gateway and the stormy Arabian Sea, was executed by Wizcraft International and conceived and directed by renowned theatre and film director, the inimitable Feroz Abbas Khan. The evening was dotted by valuable insights by the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri Devendra Fadnavis and Union Minister for Railways and Coal Shri Piyush Goyal, Amitabh Bachchan and Javed Akhtar, all delivering tributes to the spirit of Mumbai. “Stories of Strength” had fine performances by celebrated performers Kaushiki Chakraborty, Neeti Mohan, Harshdeep Kaur, Rahul Deshpande, Mahesh Kale, Javed Ali, Ani Choying Drolma, Shivam Mahadevan with the Shankar Mahadevan Music Academy, flautist Rakesh Chaurasia, composer and pianist Merlin D’souza, the Nritarutya Dance Company led by Mayuri and Madhuri Upadhya, the Mumbai Police Band and the Indian Navy Band.
The stories of strength were presented through a series of heart-rending films which captured the fortitude and perseverance of each of the victims and their families. Father of Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan delivered a straight-talk speech that enumerated upon the hard truth and the young Anjali Gupta presented a poem about change. The Indian Express also released a compilation of these stories in a book titled: Stories of Strength.
Corporate leaders Anant Goenka, Executive Director, Indian Express, Ankhi Das, Director Policy for South Asia and Sudhanshu Vats, Group Chief Executive Officer of Viacom18 spoke briefly about the need to counter terrorism and shared their commitment to the cause of Unity and Oneness.
Wizcraft delivered end-to-end management with world-class production standard on this event that reached out to the millions in the country, as the event was streamed live. The event witnessed the presence of some of the biggest names in the industry like Siddharth Roy Kapoor, Lok Sabha MP Poonam Mahajan, BJP leader Shaina NC, Indian Hotels Company Limited Managing Director and CEO Puneet Chhatwal, author Oounam Chadha Joseph, designer and writer Shweta Bachchan, actor Shabana Azmi, Centrum Group Executive Chairman Jaspal Bindra and diplomats from various countries.
Feroz Abbas Khan said “We needed to pay homage to the victims, share the pain of the survivors and stand in solidarity with families of the victims. We also needed to convey that we as a nation and democracy are one in our resolve to defeat terror.”
Speaking on behalf of the co-founders Viraf Sarkari, Andre Timmins and the team, Director and Co-founder of Wizcraft International, Sabbas Joseph pointed out, “There are important stories that we as a people have learnt from 26/11. The victims, the survivors and the martyrs need to be remembered and celebrated for their sacrifice and commitment to the country. Supporting the initiative led by Indian Express and directed by Feroz Abbas Khan is a humble effort to remind ourselves of our continuing commitment, lest we forget.”
The event is scheduled to be broadcast on Colors TV on December 9th at 1 PM, so we may never forget the fall of humanity and this rise of human oneness.
So, we may never forget that good will always win over evil, if the good in all of us comes together as one.
A salutation, a slogan or a battle cry.
Whatever the future asks of us.