The British Council, the Indian High Commission and the UK government have officially launched the UK-India Year of Culture, a celebration of the long-standing relationship between the UK and India which will see cultural events, exhibitions and activities taking place in both countries throughout 2017. Audiences will have the chance to experience innovative and exciting creative work from some of the best UK and Indian companies, artists and institutions.
The UK India Year of Culture follows the joint announcement in 2015 by Prime Minister Modi and then-Prime Minister David Cameron of a bilateral initiative to mark cultural ties between the UK and India; as well as Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to India in November 2016, which further strengthened the relationship between the two countries.
The Year of Culture will include programmes celebrating India’s heritage and contemporary culture with events across the UK developed by the Indian High Commission in London and the British Council.
The launch took place at BFI Southbank, where the BFI National Archive’s restoration of an Indian/British/German co-production Shiraz was announced. The film will premiere as the Archive Gala at the 61st BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express on 14 October at the Barbican. Silent film Shiraz tells the love story of the 17th century princess who inspired the construction of the Taj Mahal. Later in the year the film, which has rarely been seen in India since 1928, will be screened in Agra with the Taj Mahal forming a backdrop to the event. Both screenings will be accompanied by a live performance of a specially commissioned score by the Indian composer and sitar player Anoushka Shankar. Subsequently Shiraz will screen at festivals and cinemas across India as a powerful symbol of the partnership between India and the UK. The BFI will present an extensive Indian film programme from April – December 2017, including the UK Premiere of Baahubali: The Conclusion on 27 April.
Arts Council England has invested more than £2.5 million in collaborations between artists in England and India, with over £1.8 million awarded from the lottery-funded Reimagine India fund to help English artists and organisations exchange ideas and develop partnerships with their counterparts in India. A range of grants schemes in collaboration with Creative Scotland and Wales Art International will also generate opportunities for younger organisations and companies.
The full programme for the year will be available on this website.
Programme highlights include: