A film festival to strengthen India-China cultural bonds

New Delhi, March 28 (IANS) Cinema acts as a cultural bonding between countries and the China Film Festival is a step towards promoting cultural exchanges between India and China, said officials at the inauguration of the fest here Friday evening.

"I hope this film festival will promote co-operation and exchange of Chinese and Indian film industries, and contribute to the development of the cinema of both the nations," said Tong Gang, director general of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) China.

"The cultural exchanges have become smooth with both countries hosting film festivals of each other and attending the international film festivals," he added.

Commenting upon the bilateral co-production, he said: "'Chandni Chowk to China' is the first step in the area of co-production." The film, slated for release in 2008, is being directed by Nikhil Advani and stars Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone.

Director Xiao Feng's "Gun of Mercy" kick started the festival, which was attended by Neelam Kapur, director of Directorate of Film Festival (DFF), and Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yan.

Commenting upon China-India cultural ties, Asha Swarup, secretary Information and Broadcasting Ministry, said: "Cinema has been able to provide cultural bonding among countries. Cinema can strengthen our cultural ties too. Indian films are popular in China and Chinese films are popular here."

Director Xiao Feng was present at the function as also was Zhang Jianya, director of "Call for Love", and the two leading ladies of the two films.

Apart from "Gun of Mercy" and "Call for Love", seven other contemporary films will be showcased - "Honeymoon", "Perhaps Love", "The Silent Holy Stone", "A world without thieves", "Courthouse on the Horseback", "The Banquet" and "Fearless".

DFF in association with SARF and the Embassy of China is organizing the week-long festival.

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