Upcoming food and film festivals celebrate Prague's Indian community

October in the Czech capital is rich with events showcasing India's culture and traditions.

Leila Mekhdiyeva

Written by Leila Mekhdiyeva Published on 04.10.2022 14:00:00 (updated on 05.10.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Indians living in the Czech Republic are an active group of thousands that have left their mark on everything from technology to tourism.

While Czech-Indian relations date back to the medieval era, during the Czech National Revival of the 18th and 19th centuries Czech scholars became inspired by ancient Indian culture.

Today a community of around 6,000 Indians resides in the Czech Republic, according to the Embassy of India. Among its members are IT professionals, business owners, and students.

A couple of upcoming October events showcase the food, culture, and entertainment of this thriving community from the Indian subcontinent right here in Prague, starting with the Experience India 2022 event (Oct. 5) followed by the Bollywood Film Festival (from Oct. 12 to Oct. 15).

This week dig into Chicken Tikka Masala, spicy Tandoori dishes, and other beloved Indian cuisine at Prague's Anděl pedestrian zone. Indian ambassador to the Czech Republic Shri Hemant H. Kotalwar will open the daylong pop-up event Wednesday at 10 a.m.

The event, organized in association with the Indian Community in the Czech Republic, will also feature a lively accompanying program: try on a sari or turban, or get mehndi delicately painted on your hands. Shop for Ayurveda products and fashion and interior décor from Indian designers, do yoga, or try out Bollywood dance.

According to the Indian Community in the Czech Republic, the aim of the event is "to preserve the culture and traditions of India in the Czech Republic." Performances will also take place throughout the day. Admission is free of charge. Read more on the Facebook page for the event.

Another event worth checking out is the Bollywood Festival, slated from Oct. 12 to Oct. 15 at Kino Světozor. Held annually for 19 years, the festival presents Indian cinematography to local audiences with both Czech and English subtitles.

The event is devoted to films in Hindi produced in Bombay and known as “masala movies,” now experiencing a surge in popularity.

“After almost two decades, Bollywood has changed: the way we receive and perceive these films has changed as well. We could say that in a way we are now experiencing a comeback to the 'masala' principle,” organizers of the festival said.

Masala films emerged in the 1970s, and typically consist of a mix of action, comedy, romance, and drama or melodrama. They can be musicals that include songs, often filmed in picturesque locations. The genre is named after masala, a mixture of spices in Indian cuisine.

But don’t underestimate the significance of the movies presented at the festival. Many of them highlight social issues in the Indian community, such as the sex-selective abortions that are still happening in the country as shown in the movie "Y", or the reality of Indian pop culture that is the main focus of the documentary "URF." The rights of the country's female sex workers are the basis of the drama "Gangubai Kathiawadi."

For a full program or to purchase tickets visit the festival's website.

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