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75-day 'Namaste India' festival opens across 10 French cities

By Ians English

New Delhi, Sep 16: A sarod performance by Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and a Kathak performance by Kumudini Lakhia had the audience in Paris as a 75-day 'Namaste France' festival opened in the French capital on Thursday evening. It will run across 10 cities in the country.

Organised by the Indian embassy in France in collaboration with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), the festival will conclude November 30.

France: 'Namaste India' festival opens

"Namaste France is a wonderful opportunity to boost the vitality of our cultural exchanges. Culture, fashion and art are strongly related to the images of both France and India, and these areas are the best to enhance what I call a strong 'partnership from the heart' between our two countries," the ambassador of France, Alexandre Ziegler told reporters here ahead of the festival.

Highlighting the long-standing historical ties between France and India Ziegler said: "The festival will enable a whole new generation of youths in both countries to discover the common vision that they share of the world and novel ways of expressing it."

"We hope that Namaste France festival will meet the expectations of the public and that it will further reinforce the friendly relations that bind the peoples of these two countries together," he said.

The festival will be held in Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, Bordeaux, Marseille, Nantes, Nice, Rennes, Saint-Tropez, Strasbourg, and Toulouse. French overseas territories like Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint-Martin and Reunion are also participating to pay homage to the splendor and diversity of Indian culture.

Many internationally renowned artists, including dancer-choreographer Astad Deboo, Kuchipudi dance couple Raja and Radha Reddy, Pandit Bhajan Sopori, L. Subramaniam, Ustad Sayeduddin Dagar, Sivan Namboodri, and Girish Karnad will showcase their exxpertise for the French audiences.

Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, fashion designer Rahul Mishra and starred chef Vineet Bhatia will also participate in the festival.

The festival will also celebrate Navratri and Diwali in France, see "East marries West"-themed concerts of Odissi, Bharata natyam and an Indo-French Kathak jugalbandi, as well as feature lectures on spirituality.

The curtains will come down on the festival with a violin performance by L. Subramaniam and a Kuchipudi dance led by Raja and Radha Reddy.


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