Queen Elizabeth II on Monday hosted a reception at the Buckingham Palace to launch the UK-India Year of Culture 2017 with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley representing the Indian government at the historic event.
Organised by the British Council together with the Indian High Commission in London, it aims to inspire people to celebrate the 'long-standing relationship and vibrant cultural history' between the UK and India– a particularly crucial relationship for post-Brexit Britain.
Jaitley was joined by an Indian delegation that included the likes of actors Kamal Hassan, Suresh Gopi, cricket legend Kapil Dev, fashion designers Manish Arora and Manish Malhotra and sitar maestro Anoushka Shankar, at the grand event this evening.
Even our Punjabis were on the list of invitees. Joining the entourage were our Punjabi artists - singer and actor Gurdas Mann along with Sukshinder Shinda and Director Gurinder Chadha.
The Band of the Grenadier Guards played Indian themed music for the launch of the 2017 UK-India Year of Culture.
The reception brought together the best of British and Indian culture and creativity. The most recognised chefs were called for preparing the flavours to savour. Around 5,000 delicious canapes, from Raj Puri and Soya Gujjia to Salmon Blinis and Crème Brûlée, were served.
The guests were greeted with this dance group..
A special projection was designed for the front of Buckingham Palace to mark the start of the 2017 UK-India Year of Culture. It featured a peacock design, which is celebrated as the national bird of India and dancer motifs, representing the country and culture.
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A Royal Collection display also gave guests a chance to see items from Royal visits to India, as well as gifts and manuscripts from the Royal Library.
Sharing his excitement on social media, Sukshinder Shinda stated, "Dreams do come true! I had the great honour to meet Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace yesterday evening at the launch of the UK-India Year of Culture 2017 event. It was a surreal feeling and I am still bursting with pride to have received an invitation and then attend this historic event inside Buckingham Palace and meet Her Majesty as well as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Philip, Prince William, Prince Edward and Princess Eugenie. For a Punjabi boy like me from Handsworth, Birmingham, to be at the Royal house is an amazing experience and one that I will never forget. I remember being on top of my dad’s shoulders in 1977 for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and now to be shaking her hand and exchanging a few words is unbelievable!
Furthermore, to be alongside living legend Gurdas Maan ji during the evening, we were both in awe of the surroundings of one of the most famous landmarks in the world. It was also very pleasing to see so many stars of sport, film, music, culture and Indian society representing India alongside the Indian High Commission on this special night. I would like to thank my family, my fans and all the Punjabi music lovers for raising the flag and showing the world that our music, culture and traditions should be recognised on the world stage.
A heartfelt thanks and appreciation for your continued support!"
Shinda even bumped into Gurdas Maan's car and they were seen greeting each other!
UK-based Indian-origin filmmaker Gurinder Chadha described the evening as a "perfect combination" of the two cultures while Gurdas Maan said, "I am ready to do the bhangra if I get the chance".
He, on reaching London, shared a tweet as well :-)
Check out more pics of the event HERE