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Indian envoy hopes upcoming fest will help boost cultural ties

Indian Ambassador Harsh Vardhan Shringla said recently that he hoped Indian contemporary culture could become part of life in Thailand like the Korean culture has.

There is a close historical and cultural affinity between India and Thailand. However, the closeness in terms of contemporary arts and culture needs to be re-emphasised and reiterated as India is in a flux of constant change," Shringla said.

He was speaking at a discussion held as a curtain raiser for the "Festival of India" scheduled to be held next year. He noted that Thais visited India for religious reasons, but had little knowledge about the country in terms of its culture, tourism and business.

"We are trying to propagate these unknown aspects of India among Thais and connect more with Thai people," he said.

Speaking at the same session was Sanjay K Roy, who won the National Award for Excellence and Best Director for his film "Shahjahanabad", said his production firm Teamwork Arts would help bring together Thai and Indian styles of dance, theatre, art, design and literature.

"We wish to create both tangible and intangible wealth through our cultures," the filmmaker added, explaining that Teamwork used the arts as a dynamic platform that is collaborative in nature. The aim is to be able to "create opportunities for artists from Thailand and India to understand each others' philosophies, history and cultural contexts. "We also hope to feature Thai writers and their work, and take it outside Thailand for the world to see," he said.

Apart from showcasing their work, artists and writers from both countries will also be invited to speak at the festival. Vikas Swarup, whose book "Q&A" was later adapted to the award-winning film "Slumdog Millionaire", will be one of the many renowned authors to speak at the upcoming festival.

Contemporary India will also be highlighted alongside its older traditions and cultures through performances such as "Bollywood Love Story - A Musical".

This Bollywood dance and drama, set against the Indian spring festival of colour Holi, will be performed in Thai and be set to electronic dance music.

Roy went on to say that he hoped the festival wins enough support so it turns into a long-term initiative that helps bridge ties between the two cultures.


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