Phnom Penh: President Pratibha Patil was
entertained at a state banquet, with performers rendering
famous Bollywood numbers along with compositions of former
King of Cambodia Norodom Sihanouk, who is an accomplished
Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni held a banquet in
honour of Patil and her husband Devisingh Shekhawat here
The highlight of the evening was an Apsara dance,
followed by the local Moni Mekhala Dance and the Fan dance.
The Apsara and Moni Mekhala dances seem to have been inspired
by Indian culture.
The Apsara (angels) were born from the foam of the
"sea of milk" during the struggle between the Gods and the
Yaksas, according to local legend.
Moni Mekhala (Goddess of water) is basically a dance
duet between her and Roeung Ream Eysaur (Storm Spirit). It is
the story of the "purest archetypal contest between the
masculine and feminine principles. It is acknowledged by the
local Khmer as one of their most popular legends".
The Fan Dance performers use fans as important
instruments in their performance. It is said to represent the
blessings of Lord Indra`s paradise and is traditionally
offered as a mark of respect and expression of best wishes to
the Khmer sovereigns.
The dance is said to have come into vogue during the
rein of Khmer King Jayavarman VII.
Some compositions of former king Sihanouk, who has
been unwell for sometime, like "Phnom Penh", "Un Bonheur
Evanescent", "Seduction", "Star of Love", "Passion" were also
The king is an accomplished performer himself. A total
of nine of his compositions were performed at the banquet.
Famous composer and Oscar winner A R Rahman`s
compositions were the toast of the evening. "Jai Ho" from
Slumdog Millionaire and his version of Vande Mataram (also
sung by Rahman) were rendered here by Cambodian singers.
Ace filmmaker and everlasting Indian ambassador for
friendship with countries like the erstwhile USSR, Raj Kapoor,
was also recalled with his famous Mera Jutaa Hai Japani and
Awaara Hun, sung by the orchestra.
The recent Hollywood hit from the movie "Hum Tum" was
also rendered by the artists. The President and the Indian
contigent here seemed visibly pleased with the performances.
The menu was a delight too.
It included Pan Fried Duck Foie Gras, Red Port and
Orange Glazed apples for starters, Double Chicken Consomme`
with Chicken Quennelles and Gold Straw, Ravioli with Spinach
and St Maure Cheese Creamy tomato sauce, raspberry sorbet,
pan-roasted veal tenderloin with Marquise Potato and spring
vegetables and Kampot Green pepper sauce, and dark chocolates
and nut tarts and red fruit tartar for dessert.