Grand French festival in Bangalore to enthral art lovers


The festival is being organised by the Embassy of France, New Delhi, and Culturesfrance in association with the Indian government.

The festival will travel across 17 other Indian cities before it winds up next February.

"The festival will have a series of exhibitions, concerts, literary meetings, film fests, and debates reflecting the evolving facets that define French culture, arts, science and much more," Uma, cultural coordinator of Alliance Francaise de Bangalore, the social and cultural hub of Francophones and Francophiles here, said.

The festival, called Bonjour India, "will mirror the cultural changes that are taking place in France. The festival will further try to bring both India and France closer," French Ambassador Jerome Bonnafont said here last week.

The festival aims at strengthening bilateral, political, cultural and economic ties between the two countries, he said. It would feature close to 250 artists, designers, researchers and entrepreneurs.

Graffiti, street art, installations, opera, dance and music of the French in addition to a series of science-based seminars on technology, economy and education will be highlights of Bonjour India.

According to Alliance Francaise de Bangalore, the festival will be celebrated in a grand manner in Bangalore as the city is a "melting pot of world cultures".

The other cities to host the festival are Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Chennai, Chandigarh, Delhi, Panaji, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Kochi, Mumbai, Nashik, Mysore, Pondicherry, Pune, Thiruvananthapuram and Varanasi.

"Bangalore is one of the most favourite destinations for French students and professionals to study and work. The flourishing information technology industry is an added advantage for the city to be liked and preferred by the French government," said Bonnafont.

An estimated 200 French families stay in the city. An estimated 35,000 foreigners live or work in Bangalore, according to the Foreigners Registration Office, office of the Commissioner of Police, Bangalore.

"France is keen on building stronger trade ties in India. We are investing a lot in India's IT industry. The French IT and outsourcing company Capgemini currently employs 20,000 people in India and a large number of them are in Bangalore," added Bonnafont.

As a step to further strengthen the Indo-French bond, France has rolled out a host of initiatives, including relaxation of visa rules to attract more Indian students to study there, said an official at Alliance Francaise de Bangalore.

As a part of the visa relaxation initiative, from now onwards during the first year of stay of any Indian student in France, the visa would be considered as the residential permit.
Students will also be permitted to work part-time while studying. After graduation students will be given six months to find employment.

Currently there are around 1,500 Indian students studying in France. The French government aims at tripling this number in the next few years.

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