The third edition of annual cultural festival “India by the Nile” was officially opened on March 31 by Indian movie star Amitabh Bachchan. Excited about his three-day visit to Cairo, Bolliwood actor thanked the organizers for holding such an event.
“This is a very important festival as it is encouraging the cooperation and friendship that exist between the two cultures and countries,” Bachchan said during a special reception hosted by the Indian Ambassador to Egypt Navdeep Suri at the India House to mark the formal opening of the festival.
According to Bachchan, it is his fourth visit to “this wonderful country”. “Every time I come to Egypt I feel as though I come home; every time I have been here it has been such an experience. And that’s the feeling I am going to carry home when I go back to India. I really want to thank the Ambassador for conducting this very important festival and encouraging the cooperation and friendship that have existed between our two cultures and countries,” the actor stated.
The Indian Ambassador to Egypt in his turn added that the festival, which displays films, shows, music, dances, cuisine, conversations, ayurveda, also offers the audience two events of special focus – a “Wellbeing Weekend” at Al Azhar Park and a “Handicrafts Exhibition and Symposium” at Fustat and Hanager.
On March 31 Bollywood star participated in a conversation with outstanding film journalist and author of three books Sidharth Bhatia in Cairo Opera House, where afterwards was screened the movie “Amar Akbar Anthony” featuring Bachchan.
The same evening he visited the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx in order to attend a gala event and officially inaugurate the festival. Here he met thousands of his fans and promised them to bring his family.
“Thank you so much for the adulation. I am touched to see the rousing welcome I have been getting. I love coming to Egypt. This is not the first time we have met each other; neither will it be the last. I promise that the next time I am going to bring along Jaya, Abhishek and Aishwarya with me,” the actor said.
According to him, Egypt has a very good atmosphere for film shooting. “There are many facilities here, the atmosphere is very good and people are very friendly. Every time we come here to shoot a film, we find cooperation from the state. So, yes, we will love to shoot films in Egypt,” Bachchan assured.
“May the great guardian Sphinx of Giza above us tonight lend metaphor to the strong and enduring friendship between India and Egypt and unite us in its gaze; may we grow ever closer in mutual understanding; may we connect through the exploration of each other’s culture,” Bachchan added.
Egyptian Minister of Tourism Khalid Rami hailed Bachchan’s visit to Egypt, saying this will help to promote tourism in the country as it sent a positive message about Egypt's image abroad.
The ceremony attended by the diplomatic, social and business circles of Cairo was anchored by famous Egyptian actress Bushra.
Performances from Indian fusion band “Advaita”, a Bollywood dance by a Delhi-based group and a show by Egyptian drummers were also presented during the evening.
The next day Indian actor received an honorary doctorate from the Egyptian Academy of Arts. A secretary at the Indian Embassy said the event is launched in coordination with Egypt, with the purpose of promoting Egypt’s tourism and sending a message to the world that security has been restored. “A star like Amitabh Bachchan will not come without the presence of safety and security,” the diplomat stated, Egyptian Streets informs.
From April 1 to 6 five pictures with Bachchan were shown at Cairo’s Artistic Creativity Centre. In frames of film panorama the Bollywood-drama-lovers were able to watch “Anand” (1971), Sholay (1975), Agneepath (1990), Black (2005) and “Paa” (2009).