Bonjour India, The French Kaleidoscope

 
The inaugural event in the state will see a lively electro music performance by the Scratch Bandits Crew. It is scheduled at Tito’s Mambo Café, Baga-Calangute, on February 8, from midnight onwards
BY RAMNATH N PAI RAIKAR | NT NETWORK
 
There is a French expression that goes ‘Les jours se suivent et ne se ressemblent pas’, which roughly means, ‘There’s no telling what tomorrow will bring’. The schedule of the ambitious ‘Bonjour India’ event, jointly organised by the Embassy of France in India in association with the Alliance Française India network, and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, however, opens before us a showcase of French treasures including 40 spectacular events with more than 150 shows in 16 cities across India, celebrating the Indo-French Cultural Exchange, over the next three months. 
 
The timeline narrates the ambling of elephants down the famous Esplanade du Trocadéro in Paris towards the Eiffel Tower way back in 1985, thus heralding the ‘Year of India’ in France, offering glimpses of Indian dances, music, art, theatre, handicrafts and cuisine. This cultural exchange, opened by the then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi left an indelible impression on French people. In 1989, the then French President, François Mitterrand made a reciprocal gesture with French artists recreating their magic with ballets exhibitions, conferences, and film festivals, in India. The city of Mumbai still fondly recalls the breathtaking fireworks that lit up Marine Drive, drawing people in droves.
 
After the stillness of two decades, the Festival of France in India returned as ‘Bonjour India’ in the winter of 2009, giving a fresh boost to Indo-French relations. The three-month-long celebration travelled to 18 Indian cities, which included dance, music, literature, science, new circus, design, exhibitions, opera, architecture, and economics, reflecting on the wide spectrum of exchanges between the two countries. The best of French trends in all these areas came to India and were spiced up with Indian flavours, yielding an enriched programme of collaborative projects. ‘Namaste France’, the Festival of India in France, soon followed in Paris.
 
Riding the wave of success of the first edition of ‘Bonjour India’ (2009-2010), the second edition of the festival has now commenced in India, and will enthral residents of various cities from Mumbai to Chandigarh, Jaipur to Kolkata, Delhi to Trivandrum, Hyderabad to Panaji among many others. 
 
Coming out with details about the diverse programmes to be held in Goa as part of the ‘Bonjour India’ spectacle, the deputy director of the Alliance Française, Panaji, Ms Karine Christophe said that the inaugural event in the state will see a lively electro music performance by the Scratch Bandits Crew. “The performance is scheduled at Tito’s Mambo Café, Baga-Calangute, on February 8, from midnight onwards,” she informed. 
 
The musical event will present a new approach to electronic music. Scratch Bandits Crew will have musical performance by Supa-Jay, Geoffresh and Syr, three pirates who love hip-hop. They will play with voices – soul, hip-hop, funk – and mix these voices to create surrealist collages. Scratch Bandits Crew will further combine analogous and digital, acoustic and electronic music in a unique signature style.
 
“The second event in Goa is titled, ‘An Evening with Short Films’, and will witness screening of 18 short films like ‘The Piano Tuner’, ‘A Shadow of Blue’, ‘Winter Frog’, ‘Edmond Was a Donkey’, ‘The Postcard’, ‘Specky Four-Eyes’ and so on,” Ms Christophe informed, mentioning that the four hours of French cinema would captivate audiences at Maquinez Palace I, on February 23, 6 p.m. onwards. From documentary to animation, narrative to experimental, the best of French short films will be projected on the occasion.
 
“The next event is titled, ‘Gastronomic Picnic’, and will open up French culinary delights for the connoisseurs of food at the Green Acres, Tonca on March 16, from 7.30 p.m. onwards,” the deputy director of the Alliance Française, Panjim stated, maintaining that an assortment of dishes, combination of French and Indian cuisine, prepared in the kitchen of the French Restaurant Le Poisson Rouge would be served on the occasion. “The visitors would be able to enjoy the colours of France with a glass of wine in hand under the stars,” she added.
 
The final event of the French fiesta is an interaction with Chowra Makaremi, between March 26 and 28. Ms Makaremi is an anthropologist and tenured research scholar at the National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris. She has published books like ‘Le Cahier d’Aziz’. Ms Makaremi, during the winter of 2004 discovered a notebook containing the memoirs of her grandfather, Aziz Zarei, who had disappeared ten years ago. ‘Le Cahier d’Aziz’ traces events during the heart of the Iranian revolution with the aid of this notebook. 
 
The event, no doubt will bring fresh Caviar and sparkling Champagne from the banks of the Seine to the city located on the banks of the Mandovi. The extravaganza is about to begin! [NT]