Mumbai: A 250-strong Spanish troupe is making its way towards Mumbai to add a dash of foreign flavour to the celebrations this year.
The troupe will be competing against local groups to form the highest human pyramid.
The visit will be one of the highlights of the Dahi Handi organised by a city-based NGO
Sangharsh in which attempts will also be made to break the existing record for the highest human pyramid for Dahi Handi, in the Limca Books of Records.
Jitendra Avhad, president of Sangharsh, said, "250 members from Castellers de Vilafranca, a troupe based in Barcelona, Spain, will be visiting Mumbai in August.
This troupe holds the world record for making the highest human pyramid. They have promised to form a human pyramid during the Govinda celebrations held by our organisation, on August 22 this year."
The plans germinated after Avhad's visit to Spain last year, when he met the president of the troupe, Miquel Ferret i Miralles, and extended an invitation to his team to visit India for the Dahi Handi festivities.
The organisation has also roped in the support of the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC).
"The festival, which is otherwise observed in lanes and by lanes of Mumbai and its neighbouring regions, will be gaining international recognition with this event," said Avhad.
He added, "In Spain, making human pyramids is a sport, and Castellers de Vilafranca has about 400 active members, adept at building human pyramids.They are of all ages, from four to 70, and face no discrimination, on the grounds of race, religion, sex or social status.
They are united by their common goal of building human towers, and share democratic values, cooperation and team spirit.
They are driven by a constant desire to surpass themselves, and a will to maintain their lead over a select and competitive group of rival human tower associations. We are grateful that they have accepted our invitation."
Office bearers at Sangharsh, said that they had already made the necessary logistical arrangements for the accommodation of the 250 members, who are expected to reach the city on August 19.
A senior office bearer added, "The Spanish group's performance will be the special attraction in our 24th anniversary for Dahi Handi celebrations.
We offer the maximum prize money, that of Rs 25 lakh, for that group which breaks the Handi.There are consolation prizes ranging from Rs 15,000 to Rs 51,000, reserved for those groups which manage to build towers of a certain height."
Sangharsh organisers revealed that the team was eager to form their pyramid near the Gateway of India on August 21 or August 23, as a gesture to convey their solidarity and respect for the unflagging spirit of the city of Mumbai.
Documentary film on Govinda
A 90-minute documentary film on the sport of building human pyramids, popular in India in Spain, has been shot by Ram Devyani, a US national.
The film, shot last year, will be screened at the Busan International Film Festival, in Korea this October.
The documentary is based on the life of two boys from Jogeshwari, and their attempts to excel at the art of breaking the Dahi Handi. The film was shot during the celebrations held at Sangharsh last year.
According to Avhad, the film will also be screened at the Amsterdam film festival in early 2012, before it is officially screened in India.