Come November, art and culture enthusiasts, especially those with Francophile sensibilities, will have plenty to look forward to. The Indo-French festival, Bonjour India—in its third and most ambitious avatar—envisages a four-monthlong extravaganza that goes beyond merely the artistic. Technology, education and environment will also be in focus this time around. From Kochi to Kisama, Chandigarh to Chandannagar, Pondicherry to Pune, Bonjour India has close to 70 projects and programmes in its sights and will visit a total of 36 Indian cities.
With the various projects envisaging long-term engagement, running from five to 10 years, cultural counsellor and country director of Institut Française India, who is also general curator of Bonjour India, Dr Bertrand de Hartingh, is emphatic when he says, “Calling an exchange like this a ‘festival’ limits the scope of the projects. This is an exchange of ideas that aims to touch the lives of common people in areas as diverse as technology, medical advances, particularly in the surgical field, education and, of course, the arts.”
While de Hartingh may be loath to label this collaboration a mere “festival”, it is perhaps the most convenient descriptor as it will be a celebration of excellence and innovation in a multiplicity of fields. Rock and jazz music fests to game jams, “It-fashion” to IT, water conservation and management to sailing, women’s footb