'Seven is our lucky number': Sanjoy K Roy on the India by the Nile festival's new edition

Ahram Online , Wednesday 6 Mar 2019

The festival's seventh edition takes place 5-17 March across three cities

India by the Nile

The Indian Embassy in Egypt and Teamwork Arts present the seventh edition of the India by the Nile Festival (IBN) in Cairo, Alexandria and Port Said, 5-17 March.

This annual cultural festival is organised in coordination with the Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture (MACIC) and a number of Egyptian partners. 

Supported by TCI Sanmar, the festival brings the vibrant, colourful and diverse facets of India’s artistic traditions to Egypt.

In the past few years India By the Nile has become the biggest regular international festival held in Egypt, providing audiences with a flavour of India’s spirited aesthetic traditions while strengthening artistic collaborations and bilateral ties between the two countries.

"A brainchild of Teamwork, India by the Nile is one of the dozens of successful festivals managed by the company across the globe. The festival includes scopes spanning from the performing arts, to music, to literary events, always aiming to entertain the audience with high quality cultural events while creating a fascinating platform for the artists and literary figures to network, cooperate or exchange thoughts," writes Ati Metwaly in one of the articles about India by the Nile published in 2014.

As Indian Ambassador to Egypt Rahul Kulshreshth noted during a press conference at the Semiramis InterContinental Hotel on Monday, 5 March, “The festival over the past seven years has received immense appreciation from audiences in Egypt. This year the festival is slated to be even wider in its grasp and canvas of activities.”

The growing success of the festival shows that it is not just a formal diplomatic activity, but rather solid proof of the genuine connection between two peoples that share a taste for celebrating life through artistic expression.

Over the past years, the festival brought a large number of arts to the Egyptian audience. In the first years of its presence, the festival usually opened with a big Bollywood style show held at the Cairo Opera House's stage. Though this elements has been removed, the many other parts of the festival and a number of new creative initiaitives in its programming continue to attract the viewers to the kaleidoscopic culture of India.

The past editions presented numerous art forms such as classical dance forms (Kathak, Oddisi, dancers from Manipur, Kathakali, etc), musical fusions, dance workshops, folkloric troupes from different parts of India, crafts and photography exhibitions taking the viewers onto the many cultural journeys through India, film screenings, yoga and wellbeing sessions, seminars and literary discussions, among many other elements of this fascinating festival. India by the Nile hosted stars of the country's cinema with the biggest one being undeniably Amitabh Bachchan, an actor who is widely admired by the Egyptian followers of Indian cinema. 

“From cradle to grave, we celebrate the arts, which is part of India’s DNA," commented Sanjoy K Roy, Teamwork Arts managing director, during the press conference.

"Seven is our lucky number. Many festivals don’t reach number seven, and I wish to continue in spreading Indian art and culture in Egypt,” he said.

What will be new in 2019?

The festival schedule for 2019 is all-encompassing, aiming to convey the essence of India through classical and contemporary performance, visual arts and popular culture, cuisine and business.

In the performing arts, India by the Nile 2019 has an eclectic programme with a variety of shows, including performances by the Grammy Award-winning Vikku Vinayakram representing three generations of percussion (12-16 March) and an Odissi performance by Ratikant Mohapatra’s SRJAN that will explore the intricate interplay of philosophical ideas, infused with images from Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Sikhism through shows titled Bishwas (Trust) from 10 to 11 March.

Harpreet, with his sonorous voice, will bring to life the works of renowned poets such as Kabir, Bulleh Shah and Faiz, presenting Indian folk music in a contemporary idiom (8-15 March).

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, Dadi Pudumjee’s Ishara Puppet Theatre group will bring to Egypt Gandhi’s message on non-violence in a non-verbal performance, using puppets and entitled Images of Truth.

Meanwhile, the Semiramis InterContinental Hotel will play host to an Indian Food Fiesta from 8-12 March. Acclaimed Indian celebrity chef Picu will curate an exquisite gastronomical journey in Indian fine dining from the country’s vast cuisine repertoire.

Well-known Bollywood choreographer Gilles Chuyen will provide a Bollywood dance experience through multiple workshops in Cairo and Alexandria.

The festival also offers a three-day film festival, catering to different age groups. It will feature special screenings of popular Bollywood films and workshops on the art and techniques of yoga and the ancient science of Ayurveda and well-being.

The IBN 2019 seminar series will include a seminar on business engagement that will facilitate and demystify economic opportunities in India for Egyptian investors, 11 March.

As a part of the 7th milestone chapter of India by the Nile, TCI Sanmar will bring to Port Said a day of exciting activities that will let everyone discover the magic of India on 15 March.

The day will include exclusive performances and various workshops in yoga, dance and music engaging families and the larger community with a carefully curated programme.

Egyptian partners with IBN include the Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Tourism, ElSawy Culturewheel, the Cairo Opera House, and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, among others.

Check the festival's programme here

India by the Nile
Press conference of India by the Nile. L-R: Sanjoy Roy, Indian Ambassador Rahul Kulshreshth and Iman Hamdy from the ministry of culture. (Photo: courtesy of the India by the Nile festival)

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