The River to River Festival in Florence has slowly been fueling the Italian love of Bollywood and all things Indian. This year, 35-year-old director Selvaggia Velo has confirmed it will feature a retrospective of Raj Kapoor’s work, including Awara, Shri 420 and Bobby.
“India and Italy have so much in common. Both societies have large families and people are equally emotive yet Indian cinema is not yet as popular here as it is in France and in Germany,” says Selvaggia.
The River to River festival has grown in size every year since it started in 2001 and now the authorities have woken up too and the Italian Ministry of Culture has joined hands with the Tuscany Film Commission and the Municipality of Florence to facilitate the annual festival of Indian films – whilst the Indian embassy in Rome plays patron. The festival will be held in December and a full list of movies and events will be released later.
The festival doesn’t focus on Bollywood but looks at the wider world of talented independent cinema in India. Nor does it focus on Hindi as Selvaggia wants Italians to realise that Hindi is not the only language spoken in India.