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Festival of India in France to begin April 14

The 'Namaste India' festival will be flagged off in Paris April 14 to seal the Indo-French cultural exchange that began with Bonjour India, the three-month festival of France in India.

india Updated: Mar 20, 2010 12:51 IST

The 'Namaste India' festival will be flagged off in Paris April 14 to seal the Indo-French cultural exchange that began with Bonjour India, the three-month festival of France in India.

Karan Singh, president of the Indian Council For Cultural Relations, will inaugurate the festival of India in France that begins with dance choreography by Mallika Sarabhai and her ensemble.

"The festival of India in France will feature a whole gamut of cultural activities like classical dance, classical music, folk dances, Indian cuisine and fashion festivals. We have designed the programmes in such a way that it represents the multi-faceted culture of India," Karan Singh told IANS.

"For me, this reconnection with France is special because I was born in a hotel suite in Cannes in 1931 where my father was attending a round table conference. I was born in Hotel Martinez in suites 318-319-320, which were occupied by my father. The weather was misty and cold outside and my mother was closeted in the suites. The bond I share with France is spiritual," Karan Singh said.

The ICCR chief said the resurgence of the cultural festival in 2008 after a hiatus of 20 years has been a shot in the arm for the promotion of Indian culture abroad.

"The trend which was in vogue during the reign of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had stopped after his assassination. The government has revived it," he said.

In 2008, Russia showcased its culture in India with a yearlong Festival of Russia in India followed by the Year of India in Russia in 2009.

"On April 7, the external affairs minister will inaugurate the festival of India in China," he said.

French Ambassador Jerome Bonnafont said that Bonjour India, which began in December, featured 200 events in 18 cities with 250 artists, designers, entrepreneurs and researchers.

The festival included exhibitions, concerts, literature, cinema, arts, debates, economic and scientific exchanges. It was jointly organised by the Culturesfrance and the Embassy of France.

"The festival was different because it brought to India the diverse components of the contemporary French culture including ethnic and immigrants' culture with which Indians were not familiar. But it is not enough. We intend to organise another festival in one-and-a-half years to keep the momentum alive," Bonnafont told IANS.

The festival ended with a tribute to celebrated European classical composer Frederic Chopin on his 200th birth anniversary in a hour-long piano recital at the Embassy of France Friday evening.