26/11 Stories of Strength: A Night to Remember

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The Navy band in the foreground as the Gateway of India presents the backdrop for the memorial night, with a helicopter flypast.

We have, for four years now, been inviting you to the Gateway of India, to evaluate your view on the power of love and hate, and to provoke a dialogue between the humanist and the extremist inside each one of us,” said Anant Goenka, Executive Director, The Indian Express Group, at “26/11: Stories of Strength”, an event organised by the Express Group to pay tribute to the heroes and families affected by the attacks.

The evening began with a performance by the Maharashtra Police Pipe band, followed by the Navy Band; their set featured a two-helicopter flypast. They first unfurled the Indian flag, while commandos dangled from the second rotorcraft, holding coloured torches that made a tri-colour over the monument. Bollywood playback singers Divya Kumar, Harshdeep Kaur and Shilpa Rao set the tone for the evening with their rendition of popular film songs of patriotism, bravery and endurance. Actors Anushka Sharma, Vicky Kaushal and Radhika Apte appeared in the video segments of the show. The musical acts continued with classical vocalist Mahesh Kale's stunning performance of Abhang Des raag and Vande Mataram; Rekha Bharadwaj’s Sufi-inspired ode to peace and love; and a full-family performance by violin virtuoso, Dr L Subramaniam and his wife, Kavita Krishnamurthy, with their children Bindu and Ambi Subramaniam.

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Amitabh Bachchan at 26/11 Stories of Strength in Mumbai.

The most rousing applause of the evening was reserved for Amitabh Bachchan. Combining poetry and choreography, the 77-year-old actor joined dancers from the Shaimak Davar Dance Company, in a performance that explored the reasons India was saare jahaan se acchha.

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Union ministers Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari with Executive Director of The Indian Express Anant Goenka at the 26/11 Stories of Strength event at Gateway of India on Tuesday. (Express photo by Prashant Nadkar)

The event was directed by Anand Tiwari and hosted by film and TV actor, Samir Kochhar. Several dignitaries were in attendance: Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari and Rajnath Singh, Field Officer Commanding-in-chief, Western Naval Command, Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar P, actors Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, writer and columnist Shobhaa De, BJP spokesperson Shaina NC, BJP legislator Ashish Shelar, former legislator Raj Purohit, Municipal Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi, Mumbai Port Trust Chairman Sanjay Bhatia, Colonel Nitesh Kumar of the National Security Guard, and Group Captain A Sreedhar of the Indian Air Force.