Indian cricket team coach Ravi Shastri is “happy” that the UAE will host this season’s Indian Premier League (IPL) “because they did a great job last time around”. “I feel it’s going to be a runaway success, Covid-19 or no Covid-19,” Shastri said during a virtual session on Tuesday that saw the UAE and India agreeing to explore new areas of cooperation, especially in the fields of media, entertainment and sports.
“The relationship between India and the UAE is on a very firm footing at the moment. It was a great gesture by the Indian government to take cricket to the UAE and the UAE government was kind enough in responding to it.
“These times have been depressing and unforeseen and to just get some sports or action back on television day in and day out will lift the spirits of a lot of people and it’s much needed in these times,” the Indian cricket coach said during the session called ‘Arabian Sea Dialogues’.
During the session, Noura Al Kaabi, the UAE’s Minister of Culture and Youth, said she grew up watching Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan. “I have always been a fan of his. Watching Bollywood films did influence the way we understand the Indian culture. Yet, if we go back by 4,000 years, there were already cultural links between India and this part of the world. Our cuisine was also influenced due to the geographic and cultural proximity. This proximity enriched the culture in both countries,” she said.
Talking about the forthcoming cultural collaborations, Al Kaabi explained: “A cultural relationship with India is the easiest to forge. It’s constant, strong and a transparent relationship. Our Zayed-Gandhi Exhibition, a version for which was supposed to take place in India as well, could not happen due to Covid-19. But that exhibition will be our next stop.”
Dialogues through culture
Veteran film maker Shekhar Kapur, who is also on the international advisory board of the Dubai Expo 2020, stressed the expo would envision the future.
“We have ideated to create a studio at the Dubai Expo that a world famous musician like AR Rahman will kick off. This studio will be used by musicians from the entire region later. So we thought let’s create something at the Expo that will go on for a long time. It’s not just the Expo, it’s nation building. It’s ideas that will go into the future.
“This is the chance for people to come in and explore and experiment with new ideas,” he added.
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