French film for building funds

The French embassy will make a short film to pitch for its crowd-funding initiative to renovate the derelict Registry Building in Chandernagore.

By Sudeshna Banerjee in Chandernagore
  • Published 15.01.18
Ambassador Alexandre Ziegler, flanked by district magistrate Sanjay Bansal and consul general Damien Syed, takes a walk down the Strand, Chandernagore
Participating students of the heritage workshop with the ambassador in front of an illuminated Joraghat

Chandernagore: The French embassy will make a short film to pitch for its crowd-funding initiative to renovate the derelict Registry Building in Chandernagore.

"A documentary will first be made to support the campaign," consul general Damien Syed told Metro. According to sources, the embassy is in talks with three platforms for the crowd-funding and will soon decide on one.

French ambassador Alexandre Ziegler was in Chandernagore on Friday in the company of consul general Damien Syed and counsellor for cooperation and cultural affairs and country director, Institut Francais, Bertrand de Hartingh to mark the closure of the Chandernagore leg of Bonjour India, the countrywide celebration of Indo-French partnership organised by the embassy and the Institut.

This was the ambassador's third visit in less than a year to the former French colony and he has declared the Registry Building restoration as his "dream project".

So it is now for the 32 students, from France and India, who spent a week at a workshop devising the possible use and look of the restored building. Their findings were exhibited on the Strand on Friday.

As the architecture students from Confluence, Lyon, and Jadavpur University, along with local pupils of Chandernagore College, showed how they planned to marry history and modernity by retaining the structurally stable parts of the Registry Building, building a glass panel to cover the caved-in floor on the first level as also over the walls embraced by roots, the ambassador exclaimed: "I love these ideas."

The logos designed by students for Brand Chandernagore. The ambassador liked one with incandescent bulbs on a black background and a circular one with a lamp post in front of a colonnaded structure. 
Pictures by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya

The importance given to the project is demonstrated also by the fact that TF1, one of the three major private channels in France, sent a team to cover the visit.

The French are going the extra mile to make the "dream" come true. The ambassador met members of the state heritage commission and called upon Hooghly district magistrate Sanjay Bansal to solicit state government assistance for the project.

Ziegler was felicitated at a valedictory session by Chandernagore College principal Debashis Sarkar and French department head Basabi Pal. The visit concluded with Metajingle, a juggling show by Francois Chat, and dinner at Nrityagopal Smritimandir, built by mayor of French Chandernagore Harihar Sett, and attended by junior tourism minister and local MLA Indranil Sen.