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Grand French gala to open in different cities

Posted on Nov 28, 09:52PM | IANS

India and France are set to further their diplomatic and cultural ties January 2013, as the French festival in India, "Bon Jour", opens again under the aegis of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.

Announcing the festival in the capital, French ambassador Francois Richier said the the festival was an invitation to discover and re-discover France through its whole artistic dimension.

"As a real cultural dialogue between French and Indian artists, the featival will show the sheer friendship linking France to India," Richier said.

The festival will see 100 cultural events in 16 cities, highlighting for the first time three important aspects of India's growing cultural identification with France - cuisine, new age art and theatre.

"Bon Jour" debuted in India in 2010.

The festival January-April will begin with the ballet "And Then, One Thousand Years of Peace" by the Ballet of Preljocaj at Jantar Mantar in the capital.

The ballet, inspired by a reading of the apocalypse of St John, evokes what could be present in our world, even if hidden from our eyes. It speaks of revelation and unveiling.

Indian artist Subodh Gupta is responsible for the set design for this ballet performance.

An exhibition, "Architecture and Urban Development Design: Building Cities, Shaping Futures" in New Delhi and Mumbai, will take Indian urban planners and art lovers through plans of the metropolitan region of Paris, the French capital, to explore the concepts of new cities and new scales for the 21st century by re-imagining cities with concrete architectural blueprints.

"For the first time, we will be doing the cooking element. French cuisine has been declared a world heritage by UNESCO, but we want our cuisine to evolve and assimilate from other cultures," French envoy Richier told IANS.

Commenting on the gastronomic trends in France, he said: "More and more restaurants in Paris are offering vegetarian food." The envoy recalled that vegetarian fare was hard to find when he was a boy.

A book on Pondicherry cuisine is set to be released Dec 13 as a pre-festival offering.

"The cuisine of Pondicherry is Tamil in essence but has assimilated from French food because it was a French colony till its transfer to India in 1954. We want to people of India to taste French cuisine at a public cook-in," Richier said.

Two gastronomic festivals, "Picnic" and "The French Bistro", to be held in public spaces, will feature home-style cooking typical of France and the chic cafe ambience of the fashionable bistros of Paris.

Specific regions, local producers, importers and French restaurant owners in India will be involved with the projects.

The festival will also sponsor French writers and literary sessions at the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival, Hyderabad Literary Festival, DSC Jaipur Literature Festival and the World Book Fair in 2013, where France is the guest country.