On Saturday evening, the sprawling lawns of Delhi’s India Gate will come alive with a digital wall highlighting the history and connections between India and France. The event is one of the highlights at the third edition of Bonjour India, a four-month extravaganza celebrating cultural and economic ties between the two countries. “The festival will tell the story of a rich relationship between the two countries, highlighting what they can do together in terms of technological, social and environmental innovations,” said Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India, while announcing Bonjour India 2017-2018 in Delhi last week. The festival, which will be launched by Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, along with MJ Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs, will be thrown open to the public next week. Titled “The Experience”, it will be replicated in Mumbai and Kolkata during the duration of the festival.
To be held between November 2017 and February 2018, Bonjour India will cover 100 programmes in 33 Indian cities and showcase concerts, literary meetings, film festivals, debates, conferences and food festivals, besides educational and scientific exchanges. The festival was launched in 2009 as a hallmark of Indo-French diplomacy, which was followed by Namaste France, the festival of India in France. The second edition of the festival took place in 2013, however, Bertrand de Hartingh, Counsellor for Cooperation and Cultural Affairs and curator, Bonjour India, says that there has been a tremendous scaling up in the current edition.
The iconic Ganesh Pol at Jaipur’s Amer Fort, which is the south side of the courtyard of the palace, is the chosen venue for the opening of Bonjour India. The opening will see video painter Xavier de Richemont and Chef Alain Passard present their creations with India as their theme. While Bhargal, a 20-minute video painting by Richemont, aims to tell the story of India and France as seen by the artist, three-time Michelin-starred chef, Passard, will rustle up a special menu with locally sourced vegetables.
All that Rocks
In a series of 11 concerts, two French rock bands — Colt Silvers and Last Train — will share the stage with homegrown rock bands in every city. The tour will take off at the metros and travel to the Northeast, home to some of the finest rock bands of the country. Hailing from the city of Strasbourg, Colt Silvers produces indie electro rock while Last Train is a true-blue rock band from the East of France, comprising four childhood friends who have been making music together for over a decade. The concerts will be held in Delhi, Bengaluru, Pondicherry, Shillong, Mumbai and Chennai.
The festival also includes a project on heritage conservation in Chandannagar, a former French colony near Kolkata. The initiative entails a collaborative project between Indian and French schools of architecture, involving Chandannagar inhabitants, where students will work to restore one of the city’s heritage buildings — the Registry Building.