UK India Year of Culture 2017 was officially launched on 28 February 2017 at BFI Southbank, London after a royal opening at Buckingham Palace the previous evening.
British Council, Indian High Commission and UK government have planned a celebration of the long-standing relationship between the UK and India featuring cultural events, exhibitions and activities taking place in both countries.
Speakers included ME MR Y.K. Sinha, Indian High Commissioner; Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Digital and Culture; and Rt Hon the Baroness Prasher, British Council Deputy-Chair and Chair of the Board of patrons of the Year of Culture.
The BFI National Archive also announced the restoration of Indian, British and German co-production Shiraz, a film rarely seen in India since 1928. it will be screened once again with the Taj Mahal as its backdrop. Indian composer and sitar player Anoushka Shankar will provide a specially commissioned score live.
Keep an eye on our UK India 2017 Year of Culture major event tag for a comprehensive list of events and dates.
Programme highlights announced include:
Organised by the Indian High Commission, Ministry of Culture and Inidan festival producer Teamwork Arts in association with Globe Theatre, British Library, Young Vic, Birmingham Rep, Barbican Centre, Sadler's Wells, Tramway, Edinburgh Festival Theatre and the Royal Festival Hall.
Five strands in the UK will showcase the cultural diversity of India throughout 2017 in a year-long cultural programme celebrating deep cultural ties and the 70th anniversary of Indian independence. These include: ZEE JLF@ British Library, India @ Edinburgh, The Independence Gala @ Southbank Centre, a season of Dance & Theatre, and the UK premiere of the Freedom Symphony by Dr L Subramanium and the London Symphony Orchestra. India @ UK2017 will support several high-profile events including Ravi Shankar's opera Sukanya receiving its world premiere in May, the London Indian Film Festival, and Darbar Festival.
Studio Wayne McGregor will tour 'FAR' across India
BFI India On Film
Running from April to December 2017, the BFI’s India on Film programme will include Bollywood 2.0, focusing on ‘New Bollywood’ films pushing boundaries of conventional Bollywood filmmaking.
Around India With A Movie Camera, courtesy of the BFI National Archive, will make a collection of 300 newly-digitised films shot in India during the early 20th century available to audiences in UK and India for the first time.
Science Museum’s Illuminating India
From September 2017 to May 2018, Illuminating India will centre on two exhibitions; an ambitious survey of photography in Indian from 19th century to present day and an exhibition to highlight the long tradition of scientific thought in India celebrating observation, calculation and innovation.
British Library: Jaipur Literature Festival, Two Centuries of Indian Print and Documenting Histories
For the first time, in May 2017, British Library will host the illustrious Jaipur Literature Festival. They will also have events throughout the year exploring South Asian culture. Two Centuries of Indian Print, a digitisation project or rare Bengali books, continues in 2017. They will partner with the Library of Birmingham from July for Documenting Histories, a project celebrating how South Asian culture has shaped British identity.
Art Council’s Reimagine India
Supporting artistic exchange, in collaboration with British Council, the projects include a series of commissions and exhibitions or performances by mid-career Indian artists developed with Manchester City Galleries; a partnership between Asian Arts Agency and Watershed, Bristol; and Outlands, a project with female choreographers by 2Faced Dance.
British Council and Aardman Animations: Saptan Stories
Seven world-class artists from India and the UK will illustrate a seven-part story resulting in seven different visual interpretations of one story. An interactive digital platform will enable the public to contribute their story ideas and vote on how the story develops before being crafted by the artists.
The Hungry (a contemporary Titus Andronicus)
Film London’s Microwave program and India producers Cinestaan, The Hungry is a ”contemporary remodelling” of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus realised by Indian director Bornila Chatterjee, co-writer and producer Tanaji Dasgupta and London-based producer Kurban Kassam. It will premiere in autumn 2017 on the international festival stag before simultaneous premieres in London and Mumbai and global rollout through Amazon Prime Video.
India Wales Fund programme
A joint fund of £450,000 from Arts Council Wales and British Council India will fund 12 arts projects to enable Welsh and Indian creative professionals to collaborate and produce new works. Participants include National Theatre of Wales, Chapter Arts and Cardiff Dance Festival.
Scotland & India
A collaborative music programme with workshops and interactive activites by EODU & Paragon and Brian Molley Quartet; a new collaborative project by Glasgow-based Counterflows Festival, Littlei, EarthSync & Pepper House; a touring exhibition and digital photography exchange by Fòcas Scotland & National Institute of Design. British Council and Creative Scotland will support more projects as the season continues.
Random Acts – Big Dance Shorts
Jointly produced by Channel 4/ Random Acts, Big Dance and British Council, four 3-mionute dance film ideas have been selected and commissioned for the Random Acts Programme. Each film will have an element of collaboration between UK and India.
The Selector and Selector Live
British Council’s international radio station, The Selector, will partner with leading music festivals across India for Selector Live showcasing emerging musical talent from the UK. Previous festivals have had an attendance of 25,000 people across three cities in India with abnds including Dinosaur Pile Up, Rosie Lowe, Eagulls and Django Django.
Mix the City and more digital initiatives
Specifrically aimed at engaging young people, focusing on collaboration and interactivity will be launched for the year. Mix the City showcases the diversity of sound, music and cultural influences of four Indian cities featuring 12 Indian musicians and four UK curators: music producers Boxed In, Django Django, Anna Meredith and Kutiman.
Image provided by British Council; photo by James Glifford-Mead