The ELINEPA, in collaboration with the St. Xavier College in Kolkatta and the Open University (The Ferguson Centre for Asian and African Studies) in London submitted a project in line with the objective of the EU-India Economic Cross Cultural Programme on June 3rd 2004 at the office of the EU delegation in New Delhi.
The project entitled, “Exploring the present cultural interface between India, Greece and the UK through early Greek drama, Shakespearean drama and Indian film” will give an opportunity to people, especially young students, to confront cultural products of other countries. For instance, students in Greece would be shown five Indian films which would be properly introduced. After the film shows, the students would discuss their reactions to the films. Then social scientists would interview the students’ reactions. Of the five films two would be Indian films of the era when Indian films were very popular in Greece. Some of the questions to discuss would then be “This is a film your dads liked very much, what do you feel about it? If you feel differently, then what is the difference? How do you explain it? Do you like contemporary Greek films? Are they in line with traditional performing arts? if not, what is the difference? How do you explain that you like both art forms? What do you feel about contemporary American films? etc. there would follow an international (3 nations) essay competition among the students.
In addition, each of the three countries would make a video film in another country. For instance, an Indian team will document the wave of interest in Indian films in Greece, and a Greek team might come over to India to document and study the staging of ancient Greek dramas in various parts of India.
All these activities would be prepared by an on-line symposium on performing arts, ancient and modern, leading to the production of a book and a corresponding Compact Disk (CD) that would be given to the students for their personal preparation to the film shows (Greece, UK) or drama performances (India).
Dr. Helen Abadzi, who is one of the most knowledgeable Greeks on this subject, has been appointed as the director of the project on behalf of the ELINEPA. She would look for all the people needed to implement the project if it will be finally accepted – something that we shall know by November 2004. There is of course no guarantee that EU will sanction the project. Last year only 26 projects were cleared out of 126 applicants. But since the project is so powerful – literally being a study of Western and Indian Cultures – it has at least a reasonable chance. The project is expected to last the two years of 2005-6.
Photo: The entrance of the Athenian cinema Kotopouli in 1960’s. (from the book: “Revelation of Indian songs” by Helen Ambadzi and Manolis Tassoulas).