You need not write an escapist Bollywood script to eat bhel puri at London’s Regent Street or boogie on Kajra re at Trafalgar Square.
From July, a three-month long festival celebrating everything Indian – including its cuisine, music, theatre, films and fashion – will be held across London.
Three members from London Mayor Ken Livingstone’s office are in Mumbai to promote ‘India Now’, the festival which will see over 150 London-based cultural organisations participate.
The festival aims to be a sort of a curtain raiser for Livingstone’s visit to India in November during which he will open offices in Delhi and Mumbai. "The idea is to strengthen cultural and economic ties between London and India. The Mayor on his visit will also exchange ideas on sustainable urban planning models needed to manage big cities like London and Mumbai," said Marc Presscott, member of the delegation.
The festival will showcase India’s contribution to world culture, its rich history and tradition. It also aims to raise awareness about trends in Indian arts and serve as a melting point for artists invited from India, European artists and prominent London-based Indians.
The organisers want to tap the mushrooming tourist market in India, especially with countries like Singapore and Malaysia increasingly on the Indian tourist’s radar. "Last year Indians were the third biggest spenders amongst tourists visiting London," delegation member Kate Garvey said.
The festival comes a year after the Mayor’s office hosted a Chinese festival.