New York, Aug 20 Thousands of people watched as the sights and sounds of India took over Manhattan’s Madison Avenue for the India Day Parade led by Bollywood star Saif Ali Khan and cricketer Anil Kumble.
Saif, dressed in a crisp white kurta-pyjama as the grand marshal of the 32nd India Day Parade Sunday, waved to fans as the procession made its way over blocks with dancing, costumes and floats.
The Bollywood actor said he was proud to be a representative of India at the parade, an annual feature of the city’s cultural scene organised by the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA) to mark India’s Aug 15 Independence Day.
“Whatever fame we have is because of the movie industry and I am happy to see such a massive outpouring of love here. I want my fans in the US to know that we love them and are thankful to them and I hope they continue to enjoy our films,” he said.
Spin bowler Kumble, who was the guest of honour, said it was a matter of pride for him to be part of one of the biggest Independence Day events outside India.
“Indians have made cricket popular in the US and I hope America too becomes an important member of the cricketing fraternity,” he said.
A replica of the Cricket World T20 Trophy was featured at the parade.
India’s Consul General Prabhu Dayal joined Saif on the lead float as a contingent of the New York Police Department led the three-hour long parade while Indian-Americans wearing tri-colour sashes waved the Indian flag and patriotic Indian music filled the air.
Members of one performing group, the Swamibapa Pipe Band from Secaucus, New Jersey, wore plaid kilts as they marched and played bagpipes and drums.
Hundreds of New Yorkers joined thousands of Indian Americans who had come from neighbouring New Jersey and Connecticut to watch the parade showcasing India’s cultural heritage and diversity.
Last year, Bollywood actor Rani Mukherjee was the grand marshal of the parade.