In yet another instance of Bollywood diplomacy, India and Indonesia have decided to engage with each other through Hindi films, music and dance. Both countries are looking at the possibilities of co-production, shooting in both countries and bringing together common screenplays and scripts to enter the vast entertainment markets in India and Indonesia. The India embassy and Directorate of Film Festivals in Jakarta organised a special symposium titled “Our Films, Their Films” as part of the weeklong celebrations to mark the centenary of the Indian cinema.
To attract young Indonesians to Hindi cinema, the embassy also organised a cultural programme, where students danced to a medley of popular Hindi songs belonging to various periods. There was also an exhibition of 50 Hindi film posters. The function also saw Sujoy Gosh, the maker of Kahaani speaking about his experience as a young filmmaker and what today’s filmmakers look for, beyond the traditional formulas of successful filmmaking. He was joined by several Indonesian filmmakers such as Harry Dagoe and Ve Handojo, script writer Putut Widjanarko, producer Rahayu Saraswati, actor Sha Ine Febriyanti.
Indian ambassador Gurjit Singh said Bollywood had provided a useful idiom for cultural engagement between both countries. He underlined the fact that India and Indonesia, with strong historic and civilisational connections, cultural appreciation of each other and great acceptability for Indian cinema in Indonesia, were well placed to start a new area of cooperation.
He also invited Indonesian filmmakers to participate in the annually held International Film Festival of India and asked Indonesia to avail itself of the hospitality of the Directorate of Film Festivals to show Indonesian films to Indian audiences. Interestingly, it was only last week that the Indian embassy in Cairo announced the return of Bollywood movies to Egyptian theatres after a gap of 25 years. The SRK-Deepika starrer blockbuster Chennai Express is all set for a trip to Egypt in October.