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Why London is celebrating India

By Radhieka Pandeya in New Delhi
April 03, 2007 12:15 IST
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When it comes to going ga-ga over India, London just takes the cake. Even as you read this, the city is gearing up to celebrate India in a never-before display of culture, food, art, theater and films.

As a run-up to the Mayor of London's proposed visit to Delhi and Mumbai in November, where he plans to set up offices to increase trade between London and India, the 'India Now' festival that commences on July 16 in London and continues for three months is London's attempt to attract increased business investments from India, primarily in the form of Indian giants setting up their international headquarters in London.

Over 150 of London's cultural organisations and attractions will be participating in the festival, at an investment of almost $2 million and an expected attendance of close to 5 lakh, the festival is being funded by Visit London and London Unlimited, besides the Mayor of London.

Mark Prescott, head of cultural campaigns at the Mayor's office says, "We have spent close to eight months on planning the festival because London cannot afford to not be interested in India, its culture and economy any longer." In fact, the line up of planned activities is nothing short of innovative and tempting.

While the festival organisers are hoping to take artists, cooks and performers from India, they also have London-based Indian artists and European artists influenced by India taking stage.

Among the highlights, on September 2, the city's premier shopping street, Regent Street, will adorn a look a la Dilli Haat, complete with food and shopping stalls, while on September 7, the prestigious Victoria and Albert museum will play host to a top Indian fashion designer's work.

The most captivating programme, though, seems to be Bollywood Premier - the Indian film season that promises a joyride with films that trace the journey of Indian cinema from the 1930s.

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Radhieka Pandeya in New Delhi
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