Speeches/Statements Ambassador’s Remarks at the Inaugural Session of ‘cinemaSCOpe’ (12 December 2020)

Ambassador’s Remarks at the Inaugural Session of ‘cinemaSCOpe’ (12 December 2020)

Embassy of India

Your Excellency, SCO Secretary General Vladimir Norov & Madame Mamlakat Norova;                                                   

My fellow Ambassadors,

Deputy Secretaries-General, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dobryy vecher!
Dobro pozhalovat!
          It is a privilege and a pleasure for me and my colleagues at the Embassy of India to welcome you this evening or, should I say, this late matinee show. We are honoured by your presence for the inauguration of ‘cinemaSCOpe’. I am particularly grateful to Secretary General Norov and Madame Mamlakat Norova for gracing this evening as our chief guests. I am also happy that so many fellow Ambassadors and diplomats have joined us for today’s opening of ‘cinemaSCOpe’, which is a special event being organized by the Indian Embassy for the SCO Family in Beijing. I very much hope that this event will play its own part in bringing all of us closer together.

          Excellencies, at the Qingdao SCO Summit in 2018, Prime Minister Modi had proposed the organization of an SCO Film Festival. This proposal is under consideration by the member States. Meanwhile, we at the Embassy have decided to make a small beginning on the road to build relationships through the medium of cinema. As the distinguished guests would be aware, India recently hosted the Council of Heads of Government (CHG) meeting on 30 November, which resulted in important outcomes based on initiatives taken by India in the fields of Startups and Traditional Medicine and the organization of the first ever Young Scientists Conclave, a Consortium of Economic Think-tanks and an online Buddhist Heritage Exhibition. Today’s event is both a way to celebrate the successful conduct of the CHG meeting and start a new track of bringing the SCO Family together.

          This initiative, which we have dubbed ‘cinemaSCOpe’, aims to showcase Indian movies dubbed in Russian for our friends in the SCO as well as the larger Russian speaking family. We currently have more than two dozen Bollywood movies dubbed in Russian, which will be screened on a monthly basis in this Auditorium beginning today. We propose to carry on this activity till India’s chairmanship of the SCO Council of Heads of State in 2023. I look forward to the support of the Secretary General and the Ambassadors to make this series of movie screening events a grand success. We would also be happy to take this initiative out of our Embassy and screen the movies in your Embassy premises should you wish that.

          Excellencies, in 2013, we in India celebrated 100-years of the journey of Indian cinema. Over this period, Indian cinema has transcended boundaries and rapidly evolved into an international medium connecting people across nations. My own favourite screen moment is when the actor in an Indian movie says that Bollywood movies are about three things – entertainment, entertainment and entertainment. Indeed, Indian movies today are a byword for entertainment, including the signature song and dance routines, but, for a very long time, they have also carried strong social messages, which perhaps partly explains their cross-border appeal. Many of us, as also Russian and Chinese speaking friends, have grown up watching ‘Awaara’, one of the first Bollywood movies to be screened in the former Soviet Union and in China. From Raj Kapoor to Mithun Chakraborty to Amitabh Bachchan, many Indian actors and actresses have attained iconic status globally, including in the households of Russia and Central Asian countries.

          The movies that you will watch in the series starting today have been carefully selected for their content and resonance with the audience. As you will see, today’s movie, ‘3 Idiots’, while high on entertainment, also has a particularly important social message. I hope you will all enjoy this evening.

          Before I finish and invite His Excellency Secretary General Norov to say a few words, I would like to present him with a token of our appreciation for all his support and I would like to therefore invite him on the stage to receive a memento on behalf of the Embassy of India.

          Thank you. Secretary General Norov, please.