The theme for MSLF 2023 is Raqs – o – Mausiqui, through which we explore the rich musical and dance traditions of Awadh.

Awadh has long been a land of artists and their equally knowledgeable patrons and connoisseurs. This is the land that gave birth to Thumri and Khyaal styles of music, the land where Kathak, Sozkhwani & Marsiyakhwani not only flourished but reached the pinnacle of their artistic expressions. This is where Tabla, Sitar, Sarangi and Ghazals formed their inimitable quartet to wow millions, even to this day. Home to innumerable poets, musicians, and songwriters, this region has contributed talents and made an indelible impact on the popular music of the Mumbai film industry as well. As we explore the artistic heritage of this region, we also hope to shed light on the traditions that ingrained dance and music into the socio-cultural tapestry of Awadh. Be it Qawwali at dargahs, marsiyakhwani in imambadas, bhajans in temples, mujras & musical baithaks in mansions and halls of power, from grand musical operas at the parikhana, to the rich folk music reverberating through the countryside, the story of Awadh is inseparable from the story of its Raqs – o - Mausiqui.

The festival will host several performances of indigenous musical and dance forms, apart from a well-researched, experiential exhibition on the theme. It will also host a series of panel discussions, workshops, art installations, storytelling sessions and films on the subject with the aim of not only documenting but also reintroducing the visitors to the fabulous artistic heritage of Awadh.