Shiv Skakti dancer Annastasia Salikram is the 2017 Mastana Bahar winner, becoming the third member of the acclaimed Salikram family to be victorious in the popular talent competition.
Annastasia Salikram, 18, beat 11 finalists to win on Thursday night, performing dances choreographed by her uncle Michael Salikram, who won the competition in 1992. Her father Nigel Salikram, a ventriloquist, was also a winner in 1991. And even before her father and uncle, Annastasia’s mother Indira was crowned Mastana Bahar queen in 1987.
Annastasia’s dance titled Mere Dholna was adapted from the movie Bhool Bhulaiya. She dances with the Shiv Shakti Dance Company of Princes Town of which her uncle is a founding member.
“I am really happy that I could follow in the footsteps of my father and my uncle and actually win the first prize,” Annastasia said after the show at Rampersad Brothers Ranch, San Francique Penal.
She said the dance features intricate hand and foot movements and was difficult to master.
“I spent long hours preparing for this performance as I really wanted to make my family proud and I am glad I am able to accomplish this.”
Annastasia dedicated the award to her mother.
“My mum always taught me to be humble and to work hard at my art,” she said adding that her family’s mantra is “hard work brings good results”.
Since her parents are in the performing arts, Annastasia grew to like being on the stage ever since she was a toddler.
She is a past student of St Stephens College, Princes Town and is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in business management at the School of Business and Computer Science.
Also successful in this year’s competition were Simone’s Dance Academy of Rio Claro which placed second, and singers Neera Harripersad and Sita Sonnylal who came third and fourth respectively. Other finalists were Prudence Mathura, Ramdeo Balgobin, Chandroutie Rambaran, Kabir Mohammed, Albert Nandlal and Kevin Bislal.
Mastana Bahar producer Khayal Mohammed said the television programme is now in its 47th year and has showcased generations of talented performers.
“We continue to promote our rich culture as many of the youths are now gravitating toward song, music and dance as a result of this series,” Mohammed said, adding many business people continue to support Mastana Bahar after so many years.