To strengthen people-to-people exchange, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China will host a cultural extravaganza at the Kamani Auditorium here this Saturday.

For the first time China’s legendary artistes, who keep changing their masks to play divergent characters, will participate in the China-India Cultural Extravaganza which will also see performances by Indian artistes. There will be Indian and Western fusion music, an Indian magician’s show and Rajasthani folk dance.

Speaking to The Hindu, China Embassy’s Counselor (Cultural) Zhang Zhihong said the celebrated artistes have already arrived in Bangalore and will soon be reaching Delhi where apart from their act they will soak in the Indian culture by visiting major landmarks.

“In traditional Chinese opera, artistes keep changing faces to play different and interesting characters in plays. Face changing is a special skill used frequently in Chinese opera. It is a technique to express the character’s thoughts and emotions. Performers wear vividly coloured masks which they change instantaneously with the swipe of a fan, a movement of the head or wave of the hand.”

Noting that the event celebrates China National Day which falls on October 1, Mr. Zhihong said: “It is important to organise such joint cultural events as they give a fillip to people-to-people contact, increase mutual understanding and improve bi-lateral ties between the two countries. Indian films like Aamir Khan’s 3 Idiots and even British film on India Slumdog Millionaire have been appreciated by Chinese film lovers for their story, choreography and because they peek into the lives and culture of India.”

Stating that 2014 has been designated as the Year of India-China Friendly Exchanges, the Counsellor (Cultural) said this important development was announced during Chinese premier Li Keqiang’s recent visit to India. “In order to mark the 60 anniversary of Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence (Panchsheel), next year will see a series of cultural programmes. While classic Indian films like Awara and Do Bigha Zameen have left an indelible mark among Chinese of my generation, Chinese films are not that popular in India. Though Jackie Chan is a big name and his films do good business, we still need to popularise Chinese movies in India.”

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