Now Paris courts Bollywood, Indian tourists

By Sumeet Chatterjee, IANS
2/10/2004 12:00:00 AM

Reflecting the growing popularity of Bollywood in Switzerland, this year's annual Street Parade would have a special highlight from Bollywood - an Indian Love Mobile.

The 15th Street Parade, set to take place on the streets of Zurich, will for the first time showcase Bollywood. The Street Parade is a demonstration in favour of love, peace, freedom and tolerance.

The Indian Love Mobile - described as "a wagon decorated in Bollywood style with Indian dancers, men and women" - is set to cast its spell on the youth of Zurich on Aug 11. It has been designed by Briss Mathur, the manager of ITS Euro Swiss, one of the sponsors of the event. For the music, Indian star DJ Aqueel and the DJ-Duo Medieval Punditz have been invited. The street parade day this year has been declared a national holiday.

A long time India expert Etienne Reiner is the brain behind this event.

Modelled on the Berlin Love Parade, the Zurich Street Parade began in 1992. The event has mushroomed from 2,000 people dancing on the few sound systems to encompass more than 30 "love mobile" sound systems and half a million revellers packing the streets lining Lake Zurich. This is a summer party to travel for.

Zurich mathematics student Marek Krynki was responsible for giving the city its own Love Parade, which he described as "a demonstration in support of love, peace, freedom, generosity and tolerance". The route for 2006 begins in mid-afternoon at Utoquai and proceeds along its customary stretch towards Bellevue, Quaibr?cke and B?rkliplatz, arriving at Hafendamm Enge at 10 p.m.

Pre and post-parade parties are organised in clubs and bars all over the city. Special trains and coaches are run to allow would-be party people to join the colourful procession of dancers. House and techno music predominate and proceedings are broadcast on the parade's own official radio station - Radio Street Parade - on the air in the Zurich region at VHF 88.8MHz.

The visitors demonstrate in favour of non-violent cooperation - no matter what race, skin colour, religion, sexual orientation or interest groups people belong to.

The last 14 years have shown that this peaceful, tolerant coexistence and cooperation is possible at the Street Parade. Many of the city's youngsters are enthusiastic about gyrating to Bollywood tunes.

Says university student Rafeala Ruch, "We've been dancing to this music at our parties. Now it will be fun to do so at the street parade."