Searching for Bollywood in Spain, Portugal, and Morocco

I’m back! I took a trip in earlier in the month to Spain, Portugal, and Morocco.  While I was there, I kept my eyes peeled for any signs of the Indian film industry.  So allow me to provide you with data from my trip.  In Spain, I looked around for  crews filming  Zoya Akhtar‘s Zindagi Milegi Na Dubara, but no luck seeing its stars stars Hrithik Roshan, Katrina Kaif, Abhay Deol, Kalki Koechlin or Farhan Akhtar, but maybe they saw me.  I was in the Andulician zone where they were said to be filming, but no luck!  The closest I got to Bollywood in Spain was a fabulous commercial I saw in Madrid starring Arjun Rampal being inexplicably jilted by Nicole Kidman. You will also notice little Rubina Ali from Slumdog Millionaire in the commercial. Take a look:

Well I do have to admit that those Schweppes’ citrus drinks are delicious, so maybe I understand a little. For a better look at the commercial, click HERE.

Next off to Portugal, where on this street in Lisbon:

I met Tibetans in a shop selling a great selection of Bollywood films.  I asked the shopkeeper who he liked most, but there were too many to mention, but he did say he found Saif Ali Khan arrogant.

Look closely at the solid collection, I  was impressed to see Dance Dance (1987), look behind the screen in the second photo here:

No this is a stretch, but I’ll include it anyway, also in Lisbon I found this colorful restaurant in Bairro Alto district.

What caught my eye was the couple dancing with the sticks, which reminded me of Dandiya Raas, hai na? See them dancing with the sticks, just below the guitar?

As you can see I had to ammend my search for Bollywood, to a search for Indian-ish stuff.  Moving on to southern Portugal, I reached the city of Olhão in the Algarve.  There was another shop selling Bollywood DVDs and Indian clothing,  and my lodging was across from this restaurant, which I was told to avoid, by several different reliable sources.

One of my sources saw the restaurant’s  drunk and stumbling cook, and she said “If he can barely stand and speak, how could he cook!?”  So no Sindu pizza (see menu board in photo) for me!

But the Algarve wasn’t that disappointing as far as Bollywood goes, since I saw this dashing lifeguard on the beach of  Culatra Island, and if my life were a Bollywood movie, one day he’ll realize my feelings for him and he’ll find me!  I’m playing hard to get for the time being, since I only snapped his photo(s) from afar, much like a stalker, and never spoke to him.  He doesn’t even know I’m alive, but one day, we will be together!  Just like in the movies!

Maybe you’d like a closer look at him, and I’m sorry that other guy was in the way! He really ruined everything, because it looks like the lifeguard was trying to look for me, but this guy in the blue wouldn’t stop talking! Idjit!

Next I was off to Morocco.  I was excited to read some of the following in Lonely Planet’s Morocco book

Bollywood in the Sahara ‘Namaste, mohabbat!’ (Greetings, my love!) If you’re South Asian, you may be met with a warbling chorus of Hindi hellos even in remote Moroccan oases.  If this strikes you as a scene straight from a movie, you’re exactly right: for 50 years, Morocco has been completely besotted with Bollywood.  When Morocco gained its independence in the 1950s, the anti-colonial themes and social realism of Indian cinema struck a deep chord.  Morocco’s small but influential resident Indian community began distributing Indian films that soon earned a loyal local following.  Top Moroccan acting talents were recruited to dub and subtitle Indian movies into Darija and French, and generations of  ‘Bollyphiles’ learned to sing along with the movie themes in Hindi.  Not surprisingly Bollywood stars were among the first honourees at the Marrakesh Film Festival, and at open-air screenings in the Djemaa el-Fna, there’s no mistaking the Indian-import crown favorites.  In 2005, more than a third of the movies shown on  Morocco’s 105 screens were Bollywood films, and 264 Hindi  films were screened in Morocco in the first six months of 2006. Among the biggest Moroccan marque draws are Salman Khan, Aishwarya Rai, and Shah Rukh Khan – a 2008 Casablanca screening of Chalte Chalte (2003) starring Shah Rukh Khan with an in-person appearance by co-star Rani Murkherjee drew 50,000 devoted fans.  After half a century of ardent admiration, Bollywood is finally returning the love: in 2008, two Bollywood productions filmed scenes in Morocco.  While you’re visiting, maybe you can be an extra in the mountain-top dance sequence… (pg. 61, Feb. 2009 edition source )

No such luck for me, I didn’t get any extra work, I saw no films screened in the Djemaa el-Fna, instead it looked like this during my visit:

And from the other direction it looked like this, the Koutoubia Mosque is in the background, and that crescent moon was out, since the place is Muslim and it was Ramadan.

I can imagine what an excellent venue the Djemaa el-Fna would make for an open air screening of a Bollywood film, can’t you?  In Fes, Morocco, I saw some halwa,  and what looks like  a gori extra in the medina, as as pointed out by BollywoodFanGirl (ChristyRae on twitter).

I also saw another gori extra in a shop in Fez. What’s her story?  She’s a mess!

While in Chefchaouen, Morocco, I did see this colorful Indian gear, but that’s as close to Bollywood as I got:

On my last evening in Madrid, I was flipping through television stations in my hotel room and saw this handsome guy on  Intereconomia who I thought resembled Rahul Khanna.  Take a look…

Now look at the real Rahul Khanna:

See the resemblence?

In the duty free shop of terminal 1 in Madrid’s  Barajas Airport, I found Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, shhhh, don’t tell anyone.

I’m so lucky to be able to travel, yet I’m always very happy to get home and relax to travel the world through films.

A tight slap from Charulata (1964)

I’ve had to spend time working and have been neglecting the blog.  Looks like I need a tight slap!

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I’ll get back to this more enjoyabe blog work soon dosto. In the mean time I hope you’ve enjoyed this image captured from Satyajit Ray’s Charulata (1964). See, even high brow Bengali cinama mentions the tight slaps of Bollywood!

Instead of working doesn’t this scene look like a nice alternative?

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The tune is “Phule Phule Dhole Dhole”  and the scene stars the lovely Madhabi Mukherjee and Soumitra Chatterjee sing the song by Tagore.

Read more about Charulata (The Lonely Wife) HERE and listen to another tune from the film HERE.

On behalf of the USA, mujhe maaf kardo Shah Rukh Khan-ji

In case you didn’t already know…

srkdetainedShah Rukh Khan, 43, known here as the King of Bollywood, was on his way to Chicago for a parade later Saturday to mark India’s Independence Day when immigration officials at Newark pulled him aside and interrogated him. The star of scores of top-grossing films was released after Indian consular officials vouched for him. “I was really hassled — perhaps because of my name being Khan,” he said in a text message to reporters in India. “These guys just wouldn’t let me through.” ….(source)

Forgive them SRK, for they know not what they do. Sorry bhaisahib, on behalf of America, mujhe maaf kardo Shah Rukh Khan-ji. I apologize for the USA detaining you at the airport, and sorry for the buzz kill to your Indian Independence Day.

On a related note…

And another…

And this is WHO he was going to see!

Explosion 2009 tour-spoiler alert!

If you’re planning on catching Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chauhan, Hard Kaur’s tour…Spoiler Alert!

Sorry, I just like the drama and warning of typing Spoiler Alert! At least this is a spolier alert for about 10 minutes of Sonu bhai’s segment. Check out a bit of the Explosion 2009 show from Washington D.C., USA. These videos are from the 7/29/09 show,  or for those outside the US, that would be from the 29/7/09 show.


Thanks to Prathamesh24 for posting these!

subhajitroy77 has also posted many video clips from the show.

Anil Kapoor cooks with Martha Stewart.

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I posted about Hillary Clinton and Aamir Khan a couple days back and now I have yet another famous American gori hanging out with an Indian Film Industry super star to show you.  Anil Kapoor on the Martha Stewart Show!  How did I miss this? Well I suppose because the show is on while I’m working is the reason I missed it when it originally aired.  The other day I watching Martha Stewart and chef Suvir Saran was her guest and they were making some cauliflower dish. Then I hear Martha casually comment on how when Anil Kapoor was on her show he also used asafoetida in the black dal recipe he made.  SAY WHAT!?  The search was on!  Better late than never.

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I found that Anil Kapoor had been on  Martha’s show April 1, 2009.

Just look at Martha acting so coy around our beloved Anil!

She is looking just like a gori extra in a Bollywood film.

Lekin, how can I blame her?

Can anyone resist his charms?

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Martha becomes more aggressive and it looks like she’s trying to accidently touch his hand here.

Nahin!

How dare she!?

Back off Martha!

Dammit!

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You may watch the episode at THIS LINK.  In the clip you’ll see that Martha doesn’t know a whole lot about Bollywood, but she tries to talk about it, and Anil is very polite about her lack of knowledge.  Mention not! Ahh, if she only knew of his vast mega-star fame and cinematic accomplishments!

Anil Kapoor’s black dal recipe.

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Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008) Beware, O beautiful Ones!

In Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008), I enjoyed seeing Ranbir revise his baap Rishi Kapoor’s Bachna Ae Haseeno tune from Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin (1977), with playback singer Kishore Kumar and music by R.D. Burman. Out of respect, let’s view the senior’s version first:

Now here’s a modern reworking of the tune with Rishi’s son, Ranbir:

Great job Ranbir, but sorry to tell you your dad wins this round, simply for the fact that he wore that great heart necklace. Old is gold. Which one do you prefer?   Now here’s a bit about the movie:

BachnaAeHaseeno.coverThe film follows the journey of Raj Sharma (Ranbir Kapoor) from the age of 18 to 30 and how he meets three girls at different stages of his life : Mahi (Minissha Lamba) – a small-town girl from Punjab, Radhika (Bipasha Basu) – a model from Mumbai and Gayatri (Deepika Padukone) – a NRI taxi driver and student from Australia. The film is about a boy who goes from one love affair to another, only to run into true love. (source)

Raj has had 2 girlfriends, Mahi and Radhika. He leaves them both without too much thought about their feelings and the consequences of his actions.  Then he finally falls for a girl who can’t commit to him, the taxi driving, convenience store working, college attending Gayatri.

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So now the shoe is on the other foot.  (Is that also a saying in Hindi? The shoe is on the other foot?) Finally Raj  understands how Mahi and Radhika must have felt when he wouldn’t commit to them. To make amends for his playboy living and redeem himself for true love, he goes back to apologize to the 2 women he’s hurt years earlier.

WBachnaAeHaseeno.mahihen he first met Mahi, Raj played into her romantic  DDLJ inspired fantasies. Mahi overhears him talking crassly about her to his friends at the airport. She’d been tricked! She’s devistated  and looses her trust in love.

Years later we return to Mahi’s home in the Punjab, and to place us in Amritsar, there’s a requisite shot of the Golden Temple.  Her husband is the super hot  Kunal Kapoor, I mean Joginder Ahluwalia. Joginder is a proud Sikh man, who loves his wife.  Joginder is wealthy, and wears a Hermes scarf.

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I must add that I was in Amritsar a few months back and saw nobody wearing a Hermes scarf, but I did see a guy wearing a shower cap covered in strawberries.  I drove by him so fast, but I wanted to shout to him, “Yaar, did you ever see Strawberry Shortcake?”  See the Strawberry Shortcake Sikh.

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So Raj makes the trek to Amristar to apologize to Mahi, but encounters her husband first. Jogi has all the trappings of marriage from Mahi, but not her love, since Raj robbed her of her belief in romantic love years before. Joginder takes Raj out to the woods to so he can talk man to man, drink some Johnnie Walker (Black Label) and threaten him with a gun.

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Raj finally gets his chance to apologize to Mahi who wears this smashing sari.  I LOVED that sari!

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Look at her bangles, and all that gorgeous fabric in the sari:

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The song I really loved from the film wasJogi Mahi.  Can you listen to  it and not move?  Impossible not to at least bob your head, or tap a toe to this. Vishal-Shekhar wrote the catchy tune and it’s picturised on Ranbir Kapoor, Minissha Lamba & Kunal Kapoor. The playback singers are Sukhwinder Singh, Shekhar Ravjiani & Himani Kapoor

The second woman Raj goes back to apologize to is Radhika (Bipasha Basu). They been shacking up in Mumbai are all set to get married.  Radhika and her pals plan on meeting Raj for a civil shaadi ceremony…

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He leaves her waiting on the stop of city hall in Mumbai, and she never gets that marriage license.

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Then he goes to Australia, just to make it clear he’s really gone.BachnaAeHaseeno.bipasha

Fast forward several years and Raj now wants to apologize to Rahdika, who has now become a huge diva with a new naam: Shreya!

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In order to gain forgiveness, Raj agrees to be Shreya/Rahdika’s personal assistant. For days she treats him horribly and attempts to humiliate him. Raj’s rejection fueled Rahdika to fame, yet she’s bitter and afraid to love.

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At last she breaks down and forgives him, only after telling him how she felt when he left her years before.

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As they say in India: Why buy the holy cow, if you can get the doud for free?

Let me know what you thought of the film, and as always my mitr, all the best!

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The Inner World of Shahrukh Khan (2005)

inneroutersrkinnersmoke The Inner World of Shahrukh Khan (2005) was sure a treat to watch.  If you haven’t already seen this documentary, I’m sure you’ve at least seen the many ads for it that run before you watch your Bollywood  DVDs, hai na?   It’s the first part of a set of documentaries, the second being The Outer World of Shahrukh Khan, which I’ll cover in my next post. The Inner World, by filmmaker Nasreen Munni Kabir, focuses on just that, SRK’s inner world, which is full of medical treatments for his back, spending time with his family at  Mannat, behind the scenes of Main Hoon Na, and lots and lots of smoking. I got second had smoke damage to my lungs from watching SRK in this film. King Khan has a true pyaar for his cigarettes!  He works hard.  He smokes hard.

The documentary titled: ‘The Inner Worldinneroutersrkinner1 of Shahrukh Khan’ is of 49 minutes duration and has tried to cover the snippets of star’s early struggling days to his reigning ones. The documentary starts with speaking of SRK born in a Delhi family in November 2, 1965. SRK was found be always an intelligent speaker and brought laurels to his college, Hansraj College. SRK completed his film television and Journalism degree from Jamia Milia Islamia. The film portrays struggling days in Mumbai, how he came to Barry John’s theatre classes, his mother’s death and then sister grew ill and the college romance with a Hindu girl, Gauri. Notwithstanding, Nasreen has done a wonderful job in keeping the viewers engrossed. Though Nasreen had earlier worked with Lata Mangeshkar, Javed Akhtar and Amitabh Bachchan, getting Shahrukh Khan to say ‘yes’ was quite an upheaval task. Firstly, SRK has a limited amount of time at his disposal and then SRK prefers privacy. But SRK ultimately gave in to Nasreen. Interestingly, Shahrukh later told that sometimes when he was clamoring for fame, he would have been anytime ready for a photo shoot or an interview. The documentary has been shot mostly on and off the sets of MAIN HOON NAA. Nasreen has traveled alongside SRK to his Delhi’s school days. The film traces moments of solitude as the king Khan prays for his back in his mother’s graveyard. Nasreen however ruled out any sparks of controversy to be any reason behind the documentary. She tried her level best to keep a clear picture of the person, but gave SRK enough time and privacy. SRK watched the film thrice before giving its approval and was in quite deep thoughts after watching it. SRK is a family-centric person and loves to be with his lovely wife and kids. The document comes to an end with Shahrukh’s birthday. Produced and directed the first television series on Indian cinema to be broadcast on UK channel 4; it surely is something that SRK’s fans would die for. (source)

There are some very sweet scenes with his family at their home, Mannat, celebrating diwali. Shahrukh explains that his son understands what he does for a living but jokes that his little daughter still thinks that he’s Aamir Khan.

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In case you decide to stalk Mr. Khan, his driveway and front yard in Bandra look like this:

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You can follow THIS LINK and as long as it lasts it will show SRK and his cute little beti and some scenes at Mannat that I’ve screen capped here.

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Khan’s back problems and treatment methods are covered.  He sees a doctor and physical therapist.

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He also sees an energy healer for his back pain. SRK even demonstrates his back massaging skills that he’s probably learned from his own treatments on his friend, director and choreographer, Farah Khan, behind the scenes of Main Hoon Na.

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One of the sweetest scenes for me in the documentary is Shahrukh’s trip back to the school he attended as a kid in Delhi.   The brothers are so happy to see him and SRK states that he felt so touched to be back in a place where people knew him before he was famous.

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The documentary did have one disturbing segment to me; Karan Johar fawning over SRK, giggling about how he would be so afraid to ever have Khan yell at him.  I recall Johar saying something like, “I just don’t know WHAT I’d do if he ever yelled at me.  I think I’d just start crying!  I’ve gotten a lot of help and advice from Gauri about how to handle Shahrukh and his moods.  When he’s angry, it’s best to stay away.  I would just never want him to yell at me!”  I wanted to get up and go through the TV screen and give Johar a tight slap to the face to snap him out of his fantasy.  I think he’d actually LOVE to have Shahrukh yell at him.  Then he could cry and hope that SRK would gently cradle him in his arms and stroke his hair.

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Alright Dosto, thanks for reading and check back for the next post which will be on The Outer World of Shahrukh Khan.