Folklore dances, musicals, food exhibitions, Bollywood films, concerts, handcrafts and yoga classes – all in frames of just one unique cultural festival “India by the Nile”. The third edition of the event will be formally presented by Indian movie legend Amitabh Bachchan.
The large-scaled festival will run in four Egyptian cities – Cairo, Alexandria, Port Said and Ismailia – from March 30 to April 17 . At 4:00 pm Bollywood dance workshop led by an India-based French choreographer Gilles Chuyen will give a start to the event. The classes will be held in Cairo’s Midan Theater for free.
The formal opening ceremony will take place next day in Cairo Opera House, where one of India’s most celebrated actors Amitabh Bachchan and famous journalist Sidharth Bhatia will address the public. At 6:30 pm, after the speech, there will be screened a 1977 Bollywood action comedy “Amar Akbar Anthony” featuring Bachchan.
“More likely the tickets for Bollywood show with Mr. Bachchan will cost 50-200 EGP, though this is the payment the Cairo Opera House requires. We on our behalf tried to make all the activities free of charge as our main goal is displaying our culture and sharing experience,” Head of Press and Information Department at Embassy of India Abu George informed.
Around 7:00 pm the 72-year-old actor, who is invited as the “Guest of Honour”, will participate in the gala event “Return of the Legend” at the Great Pyramids in Giza. According to Indian media, the megastar is impatient to meet his Egyptian fans.
“And then prepare for Egypt and Cairo for the ‘India by the Nile’ festival and activities, starting in a few days… Egypt was a revelation on my visit there in 90's. The enthusiasm and the love of the people was incredible and invaluable… It still remains presumably, and I hope that my short visit gives me ample time to reach out to my well-wishers and friends,” Bachchan posted on his blog, Indian Express writes.
Three chefs from India will introduce Egyptians with Indian street food; right in front of your eyes they will cook delicacies, succulent kebabs, sweetmeats and snacks. Those who love new taste should not miss this unique gastronomic experience. Between March 31 and April 3 food and tea festival will be taking place outside Hanager Gallery, on April 3-4 it will move to Masraweya Café at Al Azhar Park. A Tea festival alone will be held on April 16-17 at Fairmont Hotel, Heliopolis.
On April 1-6 five more movies with Indian cinema icon Amitabh Bachchan will be shown at Cairo’s Artistic Creativity Centre. In frames of film panorama the Bollywood-drama-lovers can watch “Paa” (2009), “Anand” (1971), Black (2005), Agneepath (1990) and Sholay (1975). The tickets are free of charge.
“A Tale of Passion, Love and Revenge” is a musical about two friends who have to fight to save their loved ones. Bollywood Extravaganza with songs and dances, feuds and confrontations “brings the grandeur of Bollywood musicals and their larger-than-life story onto stage”. The musical will be presented in Cairo Opera House on April 1-3 and in Alexandria’s Sayed Darwish Theatre on April 6-8.
"It will be a completely different show to what audience attended at the festival's past two editions," Navdeep Suri, the Ambassador of India to Egypt, told the press on March 8, Ahram Online reports.
The concert of Advaita, an eclectic fusion band from New Delhi, will be held in Sayed Darwish Theatre, Alexandria, on April 1. The next day the seven members of the musical group will move to Port Said and a day later the band will perform in Cairo Opera House; the show in Ismailia will crown their concert tour.
“Advaita’s music gives the listener the opportunity to enjoy the brilliance of Hindustani classical, as well as the thrill of rock. From the smooth, polished husky tone of the western vocalist to the deep and powerful delivery of the Hindustani vocalist, the music of Advaita is further elevated by the synthesis of guitars, keyboards, drums, the tabla and the exotic drone of the Sarangi. Of all Indian instruments, it is said that the sarangi most resembles the sound of the human voice,” the official website of the festival informs.
Literary evening “Words on Water: Preserving Cultures” will be held on April 2 at Supreme Council of Culture at Cairo Opera House.
The organizers of the festival dedicated four days to “Well-being Experience”. Free yoga classes will be delivered at Al Azhar Park on April 3-4; the next day you can practice yoga in Al Shams Club at Heliopolis and on April 7 – at Hotel Sheraton .
Well-known Indian experts in the field of crafts Laila Tyabji and Samir Kumar Biswas will speak about the crafts, craftsmen and marketing strategies on April 5-7 at Fostat and April 9-10 at Hanager Gallery.
“Handicraft is one of the fields in which Indian and Egyptian specialists collaborate beyond the festival frames. Small and medium enterprises exchange experience, Egyptian artists visit India to learn local crafts right at the spot, and Indian masters come to Egypt. They get to know each other in person, work together… This is exactly what we aim at,” Abu George stated, adding that the idea of the festival is to bring two great cultures and civilizations closer to each other.
Along with the symposium there will be an exhibition of Indian crafts samples, such as terracotta (a clay-based or glazed ceramic), Tarkashi (brass wire inlay work on wood), multicolored rangkat saris (female dresses), pattachitra (a cloth based scroll-painting, using vivid colors and striking characters originating in Odisha) and pashmina (a type of fine cashmere wool).
Between 11 and 16 April the festival will focus on the classical Manipuri dance, which originates from the north-eastern Indian state of Manipur. In Cairo the show will be presented on April 11 in Gomhoria Theatre; on April 13 the same event will be hosted at Ismailia Cultural Center; on the 15th – at Sayed Darwish Theater and on the 16th it will be back to Cairo, Fairmount Hotel, in particular. According to Abu George, Head of Press and Information Department at Embassy of India, the event will bring to Egypt a troupe of 35 dancers. “The total number of festival participants is nearing to some hundred people plus media representatives,” he added.
The festival is organized by the Embassy of India in Cairo and Teamwork Arts in cooperation with Egyptian Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Tourism and Cairo Opera House.
“We bring a rare blend of the best of Indian dances, music, crafts and films to Egypt… This year’s festival therefore is different in its offerings and has wide appeal across cities as we have seen in the last two years,” Ila Gupta of Teamwork Arts told Ahram Online.
According to the official website of the festival, the event aims at “collaborative exchanges between Indian and Egyptian literary figures, performers and visual artistes.”
Camila Sobhi, Undersecretary of Egyptian Ministry of Culture considers India by the Nile “a key cultural event”. “It is one of the main proofs of the real friendship between the two countries,” she said.
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