As a young man, Rajen Kilachand indulged his love for stage and theatre, participating in the vibrant arena of Indian theatre and winning several recognitions and accolades. Since then, his interest in theatre, film and dance has led to mutually beneficial partnerships with cultural initiatives in the UAE, a country which has always celebrated a multitude of local and international art forms.
In 2011, Mr Kilachand sponsored the Ranga Rang Gujarat festival in Dubai to celebrate the golden jubilee of the formation of the Indian State of Gujarat. The event, initiated by the Gujarati Samaj was a showcase of almost every festival in the state with music, audio, dance and drama by 20 artists flown in from the Gujarat State Sangit Natak Academy, India.
In 2004, Mr Kilachand donated a Studio Theatre to Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre to encourage the city's theatre scene. DUCTAC is, today, one of Dubai's most popular community centres, with year-round international and local shows; including the Min Trio Concert, sponsored in early 2010, which featured performances by members of the London Symphony Orchestra. In 2009, he hosted a series of theatre events in Los Angeles, one of his favourite cities for culture. The Festival, eponymously titled 'Nina & Rajen Kilachand Festival of Plays' featured contemporary theatre and played to packed houses for a full excitement filled week.
Rajen Kilachand's interest in the art and culture of different civilisations has drawn him to support art festivals, auctions, private hosting of exhibitions and showcases by leading international and Indian artists, while building his own formidable collection with unique and rare art collectibles. He has supported several events and exhibitions at The Majlis Gallery in Dubai, UAE, a haven for artists and art lovers in the heart of old Dubai, which promotes the country's rich artistic history and showcases local artists. In 2010, he sponsored a book essaying the paintings of Rini Dhumal, one of India's leading artists, who embraces the traditional styles of Indian painters.
In 2007, Rajen Kilachand sponsored the 'Shaping the Future' exhibit at the Flight of the Falcons auction. One of the world's most successful projects, with an art-meets-charity directive, the ceramic falcons on display at the auction can now be seen on the streets of Dubai, with horses and camels from previous episodes of the initiative and subsequent auctions. The proceeds from Rajen Kilachand's exhibit went towards charities such as Al Noor, The Rashid Paediatric Therapy Centre, and the Dubai Autism Centre, among others.
Never losing touch with his global mandate, where he believes that art, whether international or indigenous, is important, Rajen Kilachand has donated generously to the Indo-American Arts Council in New York, USA since 2007. The Council's main focus is to help artists and art organisations in North America, as well as to facilitate artists from India to exhibit, perform and produce their work in the United States. By encouraging interest in Indian talent overseas, Mr Kilachand is proud of the Council's commitment to spreading awareness and a sense of community and belonging to Indian youth of the new generation and drawing them closer to the great Indian culture.
In honour of his mother's devotion to music, Rajen Kilachand has also been an annual sponsor of The Pune Festival, since 2004. The Pune Festival encapsulates various cultural vignettes of the state of Maharashtra. He has always been and continues to be proud of his association with events and festivals that promote a region's culture and help carve its identity by showcasing its talent and rich heritage.
Mr Kilachand's involvement in music and cultural festivals is not limited to India alone. Since 2001, he has been one of the key sponsors of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival to promote, preserve and perpetuate the music, art, culture and heritage of New Orleans and also help in rebuilding the city after its set-back in 2005. With a generous sponsorship over the past ten years, Rajen Kilachand, an ardent disciple of jazz and soul, has played a pivotal role in the city's drive to recreate the magic of its bygone era of music and joy in the French Quarter. For his magnanimous contribution to the Festival, Mr Kilachand was recently felicitated with a commemorative key to the city.
> View the key to the City of New Orleans
Perhaps Mr Kilachand's most cherished endowment is his sponsorship of the Flowers Underfoot Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) in New York, USA, in 1997. A true Indian at heart, Rajen Kilachand was pleased to be associated with the six-month long exhibition that commemorated India's 50th year of independence and featured a stunning display of Indian carpets from the Moghul era, collected from all over the world. In recognition of the event, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, for the first time ever, agreed to display the 'Rajmala' - a collection of miniature paintings, depicting the historical Moghul period that lasted over 600 years - from her private collection.
“The world's rich and colourful history of celebrations, adventure, accomplishments, victory, war and peace are embedded in the sensibilities of art and culture across every nation. I believe in a larger cause to build and broaden cultural intelligence and celebrate and raise the global inter-cultural quotient so that we can proudly call ourselves true global citizens of the world.”
Rajen A. KilachandPhoto Gallery