This year’s Diwali celebrations saw the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) organise a vibrant array of events, cultural showcases, and community engagements across the region, with Bollywood icon Preity Zinta as the starry guest.
The acclaimed actress was joined by Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, for a programme of exciting events over the weekend in conjunction with the Consulate General of India.
The festivities commenced with a visit by the Mayor and Zinta to the Digbeth neighbourhood of central Birmingham, home to ‘Peaky Blinders’ creator Steven Knight’s new Digbeth Loc film studios, the Creative Content Hub at The Bond and a host of film and media schools. The visit showcased the city’s potential as a global filmmaking hub and to forge international links and partnerships, not least with the multi-billion-dollar Bollywood film industry.
A gala dinner held at Millennium Point on the same evening became the pinnacle of the celebrations, hosting over 100 guests, including business leaders, political dignitaries, and special invitees from the UK, India, and the global Indian diaspora.
The headline guests partook in lighting divas and engaged in a Q&A session, where Zinta shared her personal journey to stardom. Fans were also treated to a cultural program at Birmingham Town Hall, offering the public an opportunity to meet and greet the popular Indian star.
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Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA Chair, said: “This year’s Diwali celebrations were a resounding success with the joyous participation of our vibrant communities on full display for the Festival of Lights.
“From the afternoon tour of Digbeth Loc with Bollywood superstar Preity G. Zinta to the evening gala dinner at Millennium Point to the cultural programme at Birmingham Town Hall, the unity and enthusiasm showcased over the weekend truly encapsulated the richness of our region's cultural heritage.
“I look forward to future festivities and hope the opportunity to showcase our creative strengths to a leading lady of Bollywood leads to new partnerships in the months and years ahead.”
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The weekend of celebrations were supported by Mahirs Experience, Millennium Point, Diva Partnerships, Lioncroft Wholesale, Jhoots Pharmacy, Birmingham City University, Edgbaston Cricket Ground, University College Birmingham, ICICI Bank, Birmingham City Football Club, Birmingham Airport, West Midlands Growth Company and Together Money.