Mela drama

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The Independent Online
The best things in life are free, so if your idea of Indian culture is limited to bhangra, bhajis and Bollywood, make your way down to the Lambeth Mela 95, taking place this weekend on Streatham Common. Wander around a diverse range of workshops, including one teaching the art of facial hair removal using just two pieces of thread. Alternatively, discover how to paint your hands and feet with henna or take part in a Carrom competition - a board game that resembles snooker, where players flick draught-like counters into pockets.

Meanwhile, two stages will provide music, dance and comedy, with an impressive line-up that includes the up-and-coming Nitin Sawhney Band, the Safri Boys, Irene Perveen, the Bannerjee Sisters, Latafat Ali Khan and veterans of the Asian comedy circuit, the Secret Asians and Nina Wadia.

Now in its ninth year, the Lambeth Mela is a platform for Asian artists to display their talents and wares. "It is important to give something to the community that exposes Asian culture," Navteg Mudhar, organiser of the Mela, explains. "It is a way of opening their eyes to the richness and array of talent that is erupting - even I was surprised to see the number of clued-up people who are out there."

At a time when media attention has focused on more violent happenings in Asian areas, Navteg insists that "there is a strong need for Asians to focus on the positive aspects of their community and to relax and chill out with one another".

Sat, Sun 2pm-7.30pm, Streatham Common, London SW16 (0171-926 9343) free