Following the successful first edition of 'India by the Nile', A Festival of Performing and Visual Arts, which took place between 13 April and 13 May 2013, the event's organisers have their hands full preparing its second edition planned for same time in 2014. They are also challenged by growing expectations.
Dedicated to Indian arts and culture, and bringing together Indian and Egyptian artists and writers, India by the Nile is collaboration between the Indian embassy and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) working with Teamwork Arts, India. Teamwork Arts is a company that annually produces over 20 visual, performing arts and literary festivals dedicated to promoting Indian culture across many countries including Austria, Germany, France, Spain, USA, Hong Kong, South Africa.
Ila Gupta from Teamwork Arts says the festival has received such an excellent response in Egypt due to Egyptians' great affection for Indian culture. "We hope to build upon this by providing quality events packaged for the Egyptian audience," Gupta commented to Ahram Online during her short visit to Egypt last month.
"We aim for the second edition of India by the Nile to be even bigger and more widespread than the last one."
India by the Nile will be held at venues in Cairo and Alexandria, with the possible addition of Port Said.
Gupta points to the opening event: The Bollywood Love Story, which will incorporate 35 dancers flown in for the show.
"The exact dates are yet to be confirmed, yet we know that The Bollywood Love Story will open at the Cairo Opera House on 3 April and will continue until 6 April. The musical will then travel to Alexandria with performances on 10 and 11 April," Gupta continues.
The festival will also include a Bollywood dance workshop, along with a workshop for the classical Indian dance form Kathak. Last year the focus was on Odissi, another traditional dance.
Gupta points to other elements of the festival. "Rajasthan Josh, a band that performs traditional folk music from the state of Rajasthan, will perform at some outdoor venues. The intellectuals and writers in conversation event will include noted historian Ramachandra Guha, whose work on India after Gandhi is being translated into Arabic."
Prominent actor Shabhana Azmi and poet Javed Akhtar will also visit, with screenings of their films. There will also be a Sari exhibition, which will feature a number of Egyptian models.
"Like last year, the effort is to build enduring partnerships between Indian and Egyptian artists and performers. One of the areas where we hope to cooperate is in the field of a caricatures and cartoons. One of India's most prominent caricaturists, Sudhir Tailang, will visit Egypt during the festival and he will work with the Egyptian Caricature Society, with a possible joint exhibition in the offing.
"In addition, academics and writers such as Ramachandra Guha and Javed Akhtar will meet their counterparts at the Writers Society and at universities. And of course, the sari exhibition will feature Egyptian women themselves adorned with saris, in an exhibition titled Six Yards of Grace," Gupta concludes.