Be In! Be Bollywood!!

Géraldine LangloisThe essence of Indian cinema
Exhibition of photographs by Géraldine Langlois at Brussels in Belgium

Cinema which leaves people “with a spring in their step and a song on their lips”! Gautaman Bhaskaran, film critic. Prepare for the centenary of Indian cinema by viewing portraits of the stars of the largest cinema industry in the world through the photographs taken by Géraldine Langlois. The exhibition “The essence of Indian cinema” presents portraits in black and white of actors, actresses, directors and producers who are flavour of the month, belonging both to the world of “Bollywood”, with its financial clout and its glamour, and the more realistic and authentic so-called “parallel cinema”.

Pictures taken on film sets, at gala evenings and in relaxed settings somewhere between Mumbai, Chennai, New Delhi and Kolkata highlight the effervescence which prevails on set and the very particular atmosphere of filming this genre of cinema. Géraldine Langlois has shown a remarkable ability to capture the positive energy and the often exuberant joy, which flow from current Indian cinematography, to portray its essence in her ‘still cinema’. The event will be officially opened by Mr Dinkar Khullar, Indian Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union, in the presence (subject to confirmation) of personalities from the worlds of Belgian and Indian cinema.

Géraldine Langlois1The exhibition celebrates ten years of travelling around several European capitals and, after presentation in Mumbai on the occasion of the Belgian Economic Mission to India in 2010 with the support of the Wallonia-Brussels International (WBI) and the Walloon Agency for Exports and Foreign Investments (AWEX), it is stopping off in Brussels to celebrate the centenary of Indian cinema and as a prelude to the cultural events linked with India which will take place all over Belgium this autumn.

Exhibition will be open at Chapelle de Boondael,|10 Square du Vieux Tilleul | 1050 Ixelles From Thursday 12 to Sunday 29 September 2013. It will remain open Tuesday to Friday 13.00-19.00, Saturday and Sunday 10.00-19.00. A programme of joint creations, workshops, conferences and concerts organised in the morning and evening will run simultaneously during the exhibition as part of the “Be In ! 2013 !” project.



Indian celebs in Nepal to promote tourism

Himangini SInghTwo Indian beauty pageant winners are in Kathmandu to promote tourism in Nepal as well as the latest Shahrukh Khan movie “Chennai Express”. Himangini Singh, Miss Asia Pacific World 2012 and Akshitaa Agnihotri, finalist of Femina Miss India 2013, will be promoting “Chennai Express” and are also planning to raise funds for the recent flood victims of Nepal and promote tourism.

They will promote Nepal as the potential film shooting destination for the filmmakers of Bollywood, the official said. They will host a charity show of Chennai Express in Kathmandu and the funds collected by the show will be donated to the flood victims, according to the organisers. Singh and Agnihotri, both are visiting Nepal for the first time and they are planning to promote the country’s tourism after they return to Mumbai.

Nepal, famous for its majestic mountains, wildlife sanctuary and rich cultural heritage, can be attractive destination for film shooting as compared to the expensive cities of Europe. India and Nepal can cooperate and promote each other in this regard.

More Indians going to China

Main shopping street in Shanghai
Main shopping street in Shanghai

Whatever the political situations might be, even the border tension between the countries has not been able to deter Indian tourists from flocking to China. It started as a trickle a decade ago and is turning out to be a flood as China has steadily emerged as a new destination for Indians who are going to Chinese cities in droves, lured by budget tours and low cost shopping attractions. Over six lakhs Indians visited China last year taking advantage of the affordable group tour packages offered by Chinese tour groups. Name any top Chinese city, you can find Indian tour groups visiting places like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xian. It highlights the growing trend in the communist giant’s tourism sector. It appears that the ‘Mysterious China’ campaign unleashed by Chinese tour operators is paying off better dividends while the ‘Incredible India’ campaign in China is struggling to shore up the numbers.

Barely 1.5 lakh Chinese visited India 2012, according to the official figures though it is about 9.5 per cent higher than the previous year. Besides tourists, large number of the visiting groups from India are comprised of businessmen. Nevertheless, China is emerging as an important destination for India’s retired as well as wealthy who are interested in shopping at some of famous malls besides visiting the tourist hot-spots. Walk into some of the Beijing shopping malls for foreigners like Silk Market and Yashow Market one can come across the Indian groups animatedly bargaining for discounts with canny Chinese shop keepers to buy cheaper Chinese goods like iPads, touch phones, watches, winter ware, suits etc. So much so that the Chinese shopkeepers who cater to droves of groups from all over the world everyday are learning smattering of Hindi to greet Indians with a ‘Namaste’. A budget trip costs about Rs 1 lakh per person which includes travel, stay and food at Indian restaurants, which are mushrooming all over China.

Analysts say that more Indians are turning to China as most of the seasoned Indian tourists have visited Europe and US earlier would like to explore the South East Asian region. Where as Chinese who started to travel abroad in big numbers in recent years are still enamoured with the US and Europe. Though the tours are organised by Chinese and Indian tour groups but India gets very little out of this booming business as Indian airlines have few flights to offer to group travels. The business is grabbed by Chinese airlines, Cathay Pacific and Sri Lankan Airlines which are offering deals for group tours. With cheap shopping centres besides a well laid out tourism infrastructure which included three and four star hotels, China attracted over 68 million tourists from all over world last year. More importantly about 82 million Chinese went abroad mostly to US, EU and South East Asia, India is slowly but steadily figuring in the schemes of China’s tourists. Lack of Chinese translators in India besides expensive hotels are major factors affecting the ‘Incredible India’ campaign in China. But the big impact of the boom is felt by the Indian restaurants in China which increasingly getting benefited by the rush of the visiting in Indian groups. Besides tourists, a number of top Indian companies are also choosing to sponsor their group tours of their employees and their families. The tour group business is enabling more Indian restaurants to come up in Beijing and other Chinese cities.

Indian cyclist on 200,000 km trip

Somen DebnathAn Indian cyclist who is on a mission to peddle around the globe has reached Qatar after touring 79 countries. Somen Debnath, who plans to set up a global village near Kolkata in West Bengal, has already toured 79 countries and plans to visit 191 nations by 2020 and he will move to Saudi Arabia on August 15.

Debnath started his ‘Around the World on Bicycle’ initiative in 2004 to spread awareness on HIV/AIDS. Debnath said he expects the local government to award him eight hectares of land for his global village. He plans to cover 200,000 kilometres, reaching up to 2 million people by the end of his journey in 2020.

About his plans for a global village, the idea is to share and care for everyone in society irrespective of their caste, color or creed and give dignity to each of them. The young adventurist also claimed that all his expenses were covered by people he met during his journey.