A celebration of two cultures

Published: 21st January 2013 07:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st January 2013 07:48 AM   |  A+A-


Riding the wave of success of the first edition of Bonjour India (2009-2010), the Embassy of France in India and the Institut Francais en Inde, in association with the Alliance Francaise India network and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), are all set to unveil the second edition of the festival from January to March 2013.

A total of fifteen cities will play host to 150 outstanding cultural events.

These will encompass all dimensions of cultural exchanges between India and France: art, literature, cinema, education, sports, fashion, photography and the performing arts.

Bonjour India is a celebration of the friendship between the two countries. This pioneering platform honours the work accomplished and the bridges built between Indian and French professionals in the domains of art, education, literature and science.

A major focus of the festival is encouraging creation and collaboration between Indian and French artists. Bonjour India 2013 will present many events jointly conceived by Indian and French artists, including:

* A global platform of choreographic navigation for iPads and iPhones by French choreographers N+N Corsino with Indian dancers Revanta Sarabhai and Pooja Purohit

* Urban Ballet: Choreographer Anthony Egea’s skilful melange between classical music and hip-hop movements will be showcased in the Attakkalari Biennale

* France Heritage is a photographer’s take on French cultural heritage in India:  Photographers are Anay Mann, Gigi Scaria, Rishi Singhal, Serena Chopra along with Isabel Saij and Jean-Pierre Dubois. (Glimpses of France are still visible in the form of buildings along the Strand, city gates with inscriptions of ‘Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite’ as well as the rich merchant houses of the Bengali zamindars)

* Astronomical heritage: An Indo-French Seminar in collaboration with the Nehru Planetarium, Bangalore with Dr. B.S. Shailaja, Professor Denis Savoie and Jean-Marc Bonnet-Bidaud.

* The Floating Buffet, developed by visual artists Emmanuelle Becquemin and Stephanie Sagot, transforms a buffet into a space of discovery and sensory experience.

Bonjour India will also bring to India:

*  Luminocity, a grand show at JantarMantar Park featuring the exceptional work of light sculptors Patrick Rimoux and Nandita Palchoudhuri; a unique fashion show of LED dresses by design duo LeconeatHemant; and vibrant music by Scratch Bandits Crew.

* Ballet Preljocaj presenting  ‘And then one thousand years of peace’  on a stunning stage designed by Subodh Gupta;      

* Gates to India Song where theatre Director Eric Vigner presents an adaptation of Marguerite Duras’ work starring the renowned Nandita Das

* Composer Pierre Thilloy and the Avignon Symphony Orchestra in an original performance with sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan;

Other festival highlights include Christophe Chassol, who will present his new show: Indiamore. Shot in Kolkata and Varanasi in July 2012, Chassol honours India, with this film,  the recreation of a French bistro and a French-style picnic, the analogue-digital-acoustic-electronic signature music of Scratch Bandits Crew. In addition, Bangalore 360 by Puce Muse, a digital show, a graphical concert, invites one to “listen to images and watch music”.

During the festival, there will be a strong French presence at major literary events in India: France is the Guest Country for World Book Fair 2013 in Delhi, while Prix Goncourt laureate Tahar Ben Jelloun (2007) will participate in the Jaipur Literature Festival. Albert Camus’ birth centenary will also be celebrated across India through a series of events.

A French Film festival will unfold across India showcasing some of the best and recent offerings in French cinema. Six highly acclaimed and most recent French feature films will be showcased across seven cities in a span of one month.  An evening of short films, another exciting package of 18 short films, which have been part of various international film festivals around the world, will take place in 9 cities.

From innovation to fashion, revisiting the past (through baroque music interpreted by Amaryllis Dieltiens), navigating the present, and discovering higher education options, the eclectic offerings of Bonjour India 2013 promise something to delight everyone’s palate. Reflecting the longstanding ties of friendship between France and India, the events will express the common passion for art, and inscribe yet another significant chapter of the relationship between the two countries.

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