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.

Fiza (2000)

Fiza (2000) is concisely described at IMDB here: In 1993 Fiza’s brother disappears during the riots in Mumbai. In 1999 Fiza is tired of waiting and goes looking for him. But there’s a little more to it than this, since when he’s gone he becomes a TERRORIST!  And this makes me think, can I write the word terrorist without being put on some kind of a watch list?  I’ll let you know.  I suppose the movie’s poster hints at what happened to the lost brother.

Fiza (Hindi: फ़िज़, Urdu: ﻓﻀﺎ) is a 2000 Indian film written and directed by Khalid Mohammed.  The film stars Karisma Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan and Jaya Bachchan. Although the film failed at the box office, it was well acclaimed by critics. Originally Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan were supposed to have cameo appearances, but their scenes were removed due to considerations about the length of the running time. The film is about Fiza (Karisma Kapoor), whose brother, Amaan (Hrithik Roshan), disappears during the 1993 Mumbai riots. Fiza and her mother Nishatbi (Jaya Bachchan) desperately hold on to the hope that one day he will return. However, six years after his disappearance, Fiza, fed up with living with uncertainty, resolves to go in search of her brother. Driven by her mother Nishatbi’s fervent hope and her own determination, Fiza decides to use whatever means she can—the law, media, even politicians—to find her brother, which brings her into contact with various characters and situations.  When she does find him, to her horror she sees that he has joined a terrorist group!!!!! (source)

One of the first gorgeous songs in the film is Piya Haji Ali by A.R. Rahman (who will be embarking on a world tour this year) which plays as we see the stunning views of  Haji Ali Dargah Mosque in Mumbai. All the music from the film is composed by Anu Malik.

The Filmfare for Best Actress went to Karisma Kapoor, and Best Supporting Actress went to Jaya Bachchan for their performances in Fiza. I always enjoy the intensity Karisma Kapoor brings to her characters, and for my tastes, the more hysterical the better!  Kapoor has plenty of opportunities to be her most animated and outraged best in portraying Fiza.

Fiza is fietsy and surly as it is, but she’s put on edge even more than usual since the ’93 bombings, and the fact that her brother has mysteriously vanished.  Her mother (Jaya) processes her grief over her missing son differently than Fiza and she’s trapped somewhere between denial and faith, but Fiza’s frustrations are manifested in her acting out more than is acceptable for a nice Muslim girl.  Her mom gently warns her about this…

Fiza sometimes goes out to the club and on one occasion she seems to attempt to pick a fight through a dance. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the film, but I’m sorry to report that I think this was a girl fight over a guy.  I hate to see the ladies stoop so low, but hota hai.

Here she is in the club about to show her dance/fight moves. It’s like she’s a hybrid Capoeira master, Bollywood style. It’s one of those item numbers that makes you think What on earth am I watching and why? In other words the type I love most! Not a lot of people know this, but I choreographed this number:

Fiza has a fiery personality as it is, but too often she is pushed to the limit and her very sharp tongue and tantrums are justified.  There are some scoundrels who follow her making lewd comments and generally sexually harass her;  as they say in India they are eve teasing. Isn’t that a crazy term, twisting the fault back to the woman?

Idiots!  They go to a further level at  taunt her with threats of throwing some acid at her.   Look how casually these n’er do wells toss up the acid bottle here:Well, boys will be boys afterall, (kidding) and nobody messes with the Fiza, and she just snatches the  bottle of acid, taking control of the situation!

If Fiza can speak her mind in the face of extreme harassment, have cool nightclub dance challenges, can’t she go to infiltrate some top-secret terrorist group to try to find her missing brother? YES SHE CAN! So she sheds her salwar kameez and puts on her polar fleece jacket, some acid wash jeans, and her backpack and heads Kashmir or where ever they train terrorists, to handle things! Does she have time to buy a puppet?  NO!

After slipping on her high waisted, acid wash jeans, Fiza happens upon Shusmita Sen grooving out to Mehboob Mere, with playback singers Sunidhi Chauhan and Karsan Sargathia.  I was listening to  Curry Smuggler’s podcast last week, and they made reference to the film, which reminded me that in my ever-growing backlog of movie screen caps, I had several images from Fiza.  This was reminder enough to help get to posting about it. It’s the eclectic mash-up of  Mehboob Mere with Slave 4 U by Britney Spears (which was based on Nasty Girl by Vanity 6 ) that reminded me to do this post.  You can find that HERE: episode 2 track 4.

Fast forward to find that Fiza locates her radicalized brother outside of a gift shop.

Fiza brings her brother back to Mumbai, but he’s different, sort of stressed out and tense since he’s an undercover terrorist! Mom tries to help him out by taking him to a relaxation/friendship group in the park called the Ha Hi Hi club, lead by Johnny Lever. I think a better naam for the club would have been The LOL club.

I hope you’ve enjoyed some of the more peculiar screen caps I found from Fiza and I’d love to hear about your impressions and memories of the film.  I will always take a screen cap when I see the word melodious, so I’ll leave you with this one from Fiza:

Filmfare Bollywood for Minneapolis for the next 5 weekends!

FILMFARE AWARDS 2008 Film Festival

at Brookdale 8 theater starting  this weekend!

For 5 weekends – every Saturday @ 3:30!

from March 28th to April 25th, 2009

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Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! – Saturday, March 28th @ 3:30 PM

·        Best Actor Critics – Manjot Singh

·        Best Dialogue – Manu Rishi

 

Rock On – Saturday, April 4th @ 3:30 PM

·        Best Story – Abhishek Kapoor,

·        Best Actress Critics – Shahana Goswami

·        Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Arjun Rampalfilmfare-award-statue

·        Best Debut – Farhan Akhtar

·        Outstanding Performance of the year – Purab Kohli

 

Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na – Saturday, April 11th @ 3:30 PM

·        Best Debut – Imran Khan

·        Best Music – A R Rahman

·        Outstanding Performance of the year – Prateik Babbar

 

Fashion – Saturday, April 18th @ 3:30 PM

·        Best Actress – Priyanka Chopra

·        Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Kangana Ranaut

 

Jodha Akbar – Saturday, April 25th @ 3:30 PM

·        Best Film

·        Best Director – Ashutosh Gowariker

·        Best Actor – Hrithik Roshan

Watch all 5 films for $10 or each film for $3. Hey those are recession friendly prices, hai na?

Also showing this weekend and or in the coming weeks:

slumdog-millionaire-poster-full1   delhi62

TIMES & DIRECTIONS

Bollywood Insider: Catching up for 2009!

Here’s a better late than never update on Bollywood Insider, with my favorite correspondant of Bollywood chugli and news, Suzi Mann.  Many of the links I’ve added here before from ITN/Bollywood Insider  through youtube eventually disappear.  Hopefully these newer links from AOL,  Bebo,  Joost, and MySpace will last. 
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Enjoy the updates yaar:
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India was rocking hai! I’m back & I saw many balloons.

india0809-5151india0809-004Sat Sri Akal! I’ve returned from my whirlwind trip to India. It was my best trip ever and I’ll be posting about it more in the future and post photos on picaweb soon and provide the link if you’re interested. Imagine my delight when I boarded the plane and heard the man in the next row saying things like Iowa, professor, Hindi. Like a stalker I said, “Hey, are you Philip of Philip’s Fil-ums?!” india0809-2361Well of course it was him, since real life mimics Bollywood and is full of coincidences. Professor Lutgendorf kindly tolerated my many questions and it was a treat to speak with him. I’ve included a photo of us on the plane in Delhi. And to add a perfect ending to my trip, I arrived home to see that generous Beth Loves Bollywood had sent me a movie in the mail! So you can see that Bollywood bloggers started and ended my trip. I was able to attend a wedding, or as the Indians say, a function in Ludhiana. In addition to the marvelous array of wedding functions, I saw the Golden Temple in Amritsar (and drank the holy H2O), the Taj Mahal, the Red Fort in Agra, Fatepur Sikri (Hrihik and Aish’s pad in Jodhaa Akbar dude!) and Sikandra. I ate great food and was treated like a rani. Thanks India! Here’s a little visual proof of my visit:

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india0809-234That was the M. S.  Anand Band of Lahore’s rendition of Aaje Nachle, complete with a Balloon Walla in the background. Now if you’d like to hear something very beautiful, click HERE, HERE, and HERE to listen to one of Ludhiana’s most famous citizens, the late Ishmeet Singh on Star Voice of India.

Bollywood Insider: Latest reports from March & April, 2008

Time to check in with The Bollywood Food Club’s favorite entertainment correspondant, Suzi Mann with the latest Bollywood chugli:

 

From April 4th:

Shahrukh and Hrithik dance off for Krazzy 4, One Two Three too many rude gags? Will Smith ever ask Aishwarya Rai to work with him again?

From March 28th:

Shahrukh and Amitabh pals after Bhoothnath shoot, Race a winner but how permanent is Saif’s Kareena tattoo?

Bollywood Insider: Chugli from 2/15/08 and 2/25/08

suzimann208.jpgBollywood chugli for the last 2 weeks in February, 2008, from our favorite correspondent, Suzi Mann:

From 2/15/08: Bollywood Insider – Berlin, Deepika and Valentines!
The latest chugli – SRK ensures Bolly goes great guns in Berlin, Deepika trumps Kareena for top role, who’s dating who this Valentines?

From 2/25/08: Bollywood Insider – Dutt wedding, Preity next? Akbar success, Bac

The latest Bollywood chugli: Why Goa for Dutt wedding? Preity next to tie knot? Jodhaa Akbar success, Bachchans strike back!