UK India Year of Culture Launches to Celebrate Indian Heritage

UK India Year of Culture launches to celebrate the relationship between the UK and India. It will showcase events to celebrate the heritage of India.

UK India Year of Culture Launches to Celebrate Indian Heritage

The cultural event kicked off at Buckingham Palace on 27th February 2017

Following a special reception at Buckingham Palace, the UK India Year of Culture launched on the evening of 27th February 2017.

It marks a year-long celebration of the strong relationship shared between the UK and India.

It also looks to celebrate India’s heritage and culture.

Throughout 2017, UK India Year of Culture will hold special events, exhibitions and activities in both the UK and India. Major UK and Indian institutions will participate such as the BFI National Archive and India@UK2017.

In 2015, ex-UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi first announced the year-long event.

They viewed the UK India Year of Culture as a way to further strengthen the relationship between the two countries. They are also keen for young people to engage with Indian culture.

HE MR Y.K. Sinha, the Indian High Commissioner, says: “The Year of Culture assumes special significance in light of the 70th Anniversary of India’s independence.

“These celebrations indeed offer our two countries a unique opportunity of renewing and revitalising the common threads of our cultural heritage and to enhance our engagement at the people to people level.

“I am hopeful that the partnerships forged during the year between people and organisations in both countries will serve us well in the years to come.”

A Royal Welcome

The cultural event kicked off at Buckingham Palace on 27th February 2017, as Queen Elizabeth II hosted a gala event.

Top Indian celebrities arrived at the event such as Anoushka Shankar, Gurinder Chadha and Shiamak Davar (who DESIblitz recently reported that he accepted his invite).

Additionally, The Big Bang Theory‘s Kunal Nayyar, Ayesha Dharker and Nina Wadia were also in attendance.

Kunal said: “What’s lovely is seeing the two countries come together, to promote culture. The Indian culture is one that is 5,000 years old, and we’re making some wonderful strides, and we’re getting a lot of global attention.”

Nina also added: “India and Great Britain have always had a close bond. And 70 years on since Independence, I think it’s particularly important for all of us to ensure that bond is even greater, and that we move forward. India has a lot to offer. Indians in this country contribute a lot to British culture and we’re very proud of it.”

On arrival to the British landmark, guests watched an Indian dance performance entitled “Ekam” in the reception. Various members of the Royal Family welcomed the high-profile guests, such as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The Royal couple visited India in early 2016 where they met the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and  Shahrukh Khan.

Chefs at the palace created British Asian dishes, using flavours from various areas of India.

During the gala event, Buckingham Palace displayed a special projection to mark the UK India Year of Culture.

Showing various depictions of Indian musical instruments and dancers, it reflected the message this event brings. Celebrating the culture of India.

A Year-Long Celebration

The UK India Year of Culture marked its launch as the BFI National Archives announce a restoration of silent film Shiraz.

On 28th February 2017, the BFI hosted a special event at the BFI Southbank to mark the annoucement. Anoushka Shankar attended the event as news revealed she would compose the music to Shiraz.

She found the process: “challenging…as it also includes a passionate kiss. I wonder how to put it to music. Personally I was fascinated to see eroticism in an Indian film at that time.”

Anil Kapoor also attended the event as a special guest. Shiraz looks at the 17th century love story behind the construction of the Taj Mahal.

The British/German/Indian film will premiere on the 14th October 2017 at the 61st London Film Festival. India will also get a screening of the film too, by the Taj Mahal.

The BFI also plan to screen the “India on Film” programme from April to December 2017. It will showcase a wide range of exciting Indian films, including Bollywood 2.0.

Amanda Nevill, Chief Executive of the British Film Institute, says: “Film and storytelling has tremendous cross-cultural power and India and the UK are two great filmmaking nations with thriving film industries and vibrant film cultures and heritage.

The 2017 UK India Year of Culture programme gives us an incredible opportunity to exchange the richness and variety of our creativity and talent, deepen our understanding of each other and bring exciting and important work to new audiences.”

Other key events to look out for include ‘India@UK2017’ and ‘India and the World: A History in Nine Stories’.

‘India@UK2017’ will present five strands of dance shows throughout the year. They plan to showcase the huge diversity of Indian culture.

Shows will be held in various cities, including London and Edinburgh. They will also support other Indian productions, such as Ravi Shankar’s Sukanya and the London Indian film festival.

‘India and the World: A History in Nine Stories’ will be an exhibition held at the British Museum to coincide with the 70th Anniversary of the Partition.

It will showcase objects and artworks from multiple Indian museums. They are depicted through nine stories, each story looking back on key moments in India’s history.

It opens in November 2017, in time with the Partition’s anniversary.

With various exciting events planned throughout 2017, don’t miss out on the UK India Year of Culture. If you feel keen to indulge in Indian culture and learn more, make sure you keep yourself in the know about future events here.

Sarah is an English and Creative Writing graduate who loves video games, books and looking after her mischievous cat Prince. Her motto follows House Lannister's "Hear Me Roar".

Images courtesy of James Gifford-Mead and Helen Messinger Murdoch via The British Council.

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