The Indian Ambassador to Egypt, Navdeep Suri, hosted a reception for the media on 25 September 2013, to celebrate the return of Indian films to Egypt after a gap of 25 years. Interestingly, this is coinciding with the 100th year of Indian cinema. The president of the Cairo International Film Festival, Mr. Samir Farid; Egyptian director and actress, Aida al-Kashef; and Egyptian actress Lubna Abdel Aziz were among the dignitaries present.

Welcoming the return of Indian films, Farid said that Indian cinema has a long tradition, and that the might of Asia was reflected in the global influence by Indian cinema. He further said that it was the right of Egyptian audiences to have the opportunity to see Indian films in theaters. Egyptian actress Aida al-Kashef, who was the lead actress in the critically acclaimed Indian movie Ship of Theseus, expressed her delight at the development, adding that working with an Indian director for her movie was a great experience. She hoped that a strong return by Indian movies would encourage further collaboration between Indian and Egyptian film industries.

Ambassador Suri, speaking on the occasion, said that he was amazed to witness the love and affection Egyptians had for Indian Cinema, even when they did not play in theaters. “It was an odd situation. India is the world’s biggest producer of feature films; Indian films are screened in over 90 countries; Egyptians clearly love Indian films . . .  and yet, they couldn’t find their favorite Indian films on the big screen! That’s where we intervened to connect Egyptian distribution channels with Indian film producers. I am delighted that they have come together to meet the demand of Egyptian audiences.”

A number of young Egyptians, including the coordinator of the Discover India in Egypt group, Ms. Maiosh Khafagi, also spoke on the occasion as to how they had been attracted to Indian culture and cinema. Ms. Khafagi said that Bollywood would prove to be a strong challenger to Hollywood in Egypt, due to the love of Indian cinema among the youth. The evening’s program also included a Bollywood dance performance by Egyptian artist Sameera, and a short film tracing 100 years of Indian cinema and highlighting some of the cinematic links between India and Egypt.

United Motion Pictures, facilitated by Gaurang Films and the Indian Embassy in Cairo, will release the blockbuster Indian movie Chennai Express, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone will hit Egyptian theatres in Cairo and Alexandria starting 2 October. In the initial run, the movie will run in eight theatres in Cairo and two in Alexandria, including at all major theatres and multiplexes. The film will carry Arabic subtitles.

For more information, please visit their Facebook page, Indian Embassy Cairo, or contact Abu Mathen George, Head of Press and Information, at info.cairo@mea.gov.in