Tulunad cultural art, Huli Vesha presented at Dubai Expo 2020

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By Shodhan Prasad
Bellevision Media Network

Dubai, 19 Oct 2021: As Expo 2020 Dubai opened its doors to the world, crowds flocked to the spectacular site, eager to witness the first World Expo in the region. Excitement levels were already high before the gates were opened at 10 am at the Sustainability Entry Portal, with visitors lining up after travelling from all over the UAE and around the world to be among the first to see Expo 2020. With up to 60 live events each day and more than 200 pavilions, the Expo site is coming alive during its 182-day feast for the senses.


Dubai Expo’s dynamic, diverse and ever-changing entertainment programme features an array of internationally celebrated names and the sounds, rhythms and sights of a global cast of performers.


One of the rarest and historical performance recently was on October 15, 2021, 6.30pm when ‘Team PHILI NALIKE Dubai’ performed by a group of Talented Dubai Phili’s which was a graceful feast for the eyes of people of various countries to witness on the International Dubai Expo 2020 stage. The news of this prior to the event had made so much of noise in and around UAE that enthusiastic viewers popped in from different Emirates to watch and whistle. Getting an opportunity to perform in this great stage itself is a blessing in disguise and the Team really enthralled the spectators.



Phili Vesha or Tiger faced dance is a dance form unique to coastal Karnataka. Phili Vesha is performed by local youths of Tulu Nadu during the Navratri Festival (the 9 night’s long festival which often falls in the month of October) and very few groups have honor of performing in the State. This is performed to pay tribute to Goddess Durga, whose official animal is tiger.


When the Expo opportunity came in our multi-talented artiste Girish Narain Katipalla grabbed the life time offer and with the association of Gautam Bangera and his Soul & Beats Dance Academy formed a Team to present this Coastal Karnataka’s one of the oldest folk dance form on to International Stage. It is a special tribute to the Dance Form itself to take it to next level globally. Well-known Stage Artiste Vishwanath Shetty voluntarily came forward to boost this team a moral support.


Need to mention the names of the Phili Artiste – dancers Abhishek, Yajnesh, Tushar, Mukesh, Rohith & Rakshith with differently tiger painted bodies presented vibrantly roaring on the stage of Expo Dubai, mesmerized the spectators who whistled and enjoyed every bit of it.  The band (Thase & Dholu) were tirelessly played by well-known singer Krishna Prasad Rao & Girish Narain himself who not only arranged the team but also choreographed & painted their bodies colourfully giving an elegant look. It takes hours together to paint all the dancers and very tiring job to do in one stretch which needs special skill. Girish Narain is a great paint artiste and mainly in Yakshagana his paintings are vibrantly reflected on the face of the Artistes and he himself portrays different character soulfully on stage in both Drama & Yakshagana performances.


Fire breathing, Hand Walking, Handstands, Gymnastic Moves, Picking Money from mouth by bending backwards and lifting Akkimudi (rice tied in straw, weighing 42 kg) in teeth and throwing it backwards etc. are some of the acts of the ‘Phili Dance’ who dance into the tune of Thase (drum) portraying different themes.


Before the presentation in Dubai Expo on the same day morning a ‘Oudh’ Pooja, as per the tradition was done in the premises of Businessman-cum-Producer Harish Sherigar’s Acme Building Materials Company wherein he along with his brother Dinesh Sherigar, Vishwanath Shetty, Gautham Bangera, Vasu Kumar Shetty,  Rajesh Kuthar, Donald Correa and his wife Asha Correa were present.


As per tradition the costumes of Tiger Dancers comprising of Headgear, Tiger masks, Tiger Tail, Tiger skinned shorts and the drums will be displayed for ‘Oudh’ pouring while the dancers join the prayers after a shave and shower purifying their body for the Pooja. Soon after the Pooja the drummers will beat the drums while the dancers first seeking blessings of their ‘Guru’ start dancing to show their perfectness after their weeks practice. Later they will be standing all through for the body painting which goes on for hours to complete.


For your information Expo 2020 Dubai is open every day until March 31, 2022, from 10.00am to midnight from Saturday to Wednesday and 10.00am to 2.00am on Thursday and Friday.



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