India seen as major economic player in Switzerland: Envoy

August 8th, 2011 - 10:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Locarno (Switzerland), Aug 8 (IANS) Apart from Bollywood song and dance, India is also seen as major economic player in Switzerland, Indian ambassador Chitra Narayanan said.

“India is seen as a major economic player here and Switzerland itself is a very large and important financial and industrial centre for technology in Europe, and they have lot of knowledge and interest in India,” Narayanan told IANS on the sidelights of the Open Doors section of the ongoing 64th Locarno International Film Festival.

“It is not just Swiss business, European business is also based in Switzerland, so definitely people have great optimism and admiration for India,” she added.

Narayanan also said that Indians have added to the economy of Switzerland by coming as tourist. “But now I feel it should happen in reverse,” she added.

“Approximately a million of Indians come here. I think all Indian tourists to Europe make a stopover in Switzerland. Indeed, Swiss people go to India, but their population is only seven million,” she said, adding that there is a great knowledge about Indian philosophical heritage here and people love Indian culture.

“In fact, at the ongoing Festival of Geneva, India is the guest country. And it was huge promotion showing rest of India and it is a 10-day long festival promoting traditional folk dances, and that I think will be a spin-off in encouraging Swiss people to go to India for tourism,” the ambassador said.

Talking about the spotlight on independent Indian filmmakers at the Open Doors section at Locarno film festival, Narayanan said: “India is known for Bollywood as it has a large market. But we also have a history of serious cinema, with the 1970s as the highlight, and we have produced absolute genius directors in the 1970s, which we used to call parallel cinema. We had Mrinal Sen and Mani Kaul and many brilliant directors since then.”

“But now independent films face serious challenges. Today, it is not the same as it used to be….it is extremely useful that the Open Doors programe of the Swiss government has encouraged young independent filmmakers from India to participate and get an exposure to other serious filmmakers of the world because Locarno is only about serious and independent filmmakers,” Narayanan said.

She also pointed out that like elsewhere in the world, the Indian film industry is called Bollywood here too.

“They say Bollywood, but we forget about advanced south Indian cinema, which doesn’t get so much exposure as the word Bollywood has caught on and used as a generic term for Indian cinema. But it doesn’t matter, because it is an introduction to India and after they see that, they get interested to know about cinema industry in India and other kinds of filmmakers as well,” she said.

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