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.

Bollywood Insider for May, 2009

Here’s the latest chugli from Suzi Mann with Bollywood Insider for May, 2009:

suzimann.may08

Click on the links below to find out more.

Bollywood Insider Friday 01 May 2009Tributes from stars to Feroz Khan, IIFA venue and nominations announced, Shahrukh takes IPL break to cast vote

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Bollywood Insider Friday 15 May 2009:  Our Insiders at Cannes bring us Aishwarya and Abishek on the red carpet – IPL filling movie void with Shahrukh, Shilpa, and Preity

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Bollywood Insider Friday 22 May 2009:  This week in Cannes, we ask Barbara Mori and Hrithik Roshan about ‘those’ rumours, and speak to them about all things ‘Kites’

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Bollywood Insider Friday 29 May 2009:  Bipasha Basu gets together with Billy Zane – Kal Kisne Dekha – It’s a Wonderful Afterlife

Bollywood Insider: from 10/31/08 and 11/7/08

Here to deliver Bollywood chugli is our favorite spunky correspondant, Suzi Mann, with her latest Bollywood Insider’s reports.

From November 7th, 2008:

Golmaal Returns makes UK Top 10 – Roadside Romeo Blues – Kat steals the show

Click on Suzi to view:suzimann11708

From October 31, 2008:

Kuch Kuch Haunting Hai – Dostana, Karan Johar on KKHH and Dostana

Click on Suzi to view:suzimann103108

 

I’d noticed that several of the Bollywood Insider reports posted in the past would become unavailable.  Then last week on once such post I was lucky enough to get a comment from Suzi Mann-ji herself:

Firstly thanks for posting our Bollywood Insider videos really appreciate the coverage given. Just to let you know we have contract terms of 30 days with youtube after this period the videos are removed. They are however available on MSN, Blinx, AOL, Bebo, My Space and a number of other sites independently. Many sites do still line them from youtube. BI is a weekly made for mobiles and online show therefore if you could kindly link it weekly that way you’re subscribers won’t miss out.  Enjoying the comments.

Kind regards

Suzi

How exciting to get the news about the best ways to link to the videos directly from Suzi herself!  And thanks to Suzi Mann for working hard to keep us all up on the latest Bollywood news!

Bollywood Insider: Latest reports from October, 2008

Back with the newest Bollywood chugli is Bollywood Insider’s Suzi Mann. Here’s what I found going on in October, 2008.

From

Bollywood Insider: Latest reports from July & August, 2008

Dosto, it’s time to get the latest Bollywood chugli from Suzi Mann, Bollywood Food Club’s favorite entertainment correspondant. Suzi gives us the latest news hot off the press on all your favorite Bolly stars!  Sorry I’m a bit late in passing this news on to you.  Enjoy!

 

 

From July 04, 2008:
London hosts Love Story 2050 Premiere – Khan and Kumaar are inseperable – Hard Kaur is a party animal
From July 11, 2008:
Shilpa makes a comeback – Kumar lives like a Kinng – Career lift-off for Harman
From July 18, 2008:
Kaif’s birthday surprise – Priyanka turns 26 – Bolly brand is big bucks
From July 25, 2008:
Bolly stars unite for Unforgettable Tour – Salman and SRK run-in – Govinda relives his youth
From August 01, 2008:
Jewel in Kat’s crown – Chopra choppy waters – King Kumar cashes in

 

Bollywood Insider: Latest reports from June, 2008

Once again it’s time to get the latest Bollywood chugli from Suzi Mann, Bollywood Food Club’s favorite entertainment correspondant. Suzi gives us the latest news hot off the press on all your favorite Bolly stars!

 

 

From June 6, 2008:

Emraan cashes in, Fresh start for Akshay

From June 13, 2008:

Get the latest on Bollywood’s biggest stars in a special feature on the 9th International Indian Film Academy Awards hosted in Thailand.

From June 20, 2008:

Sanjay Romances Ash, Kaif voted sexiest woman

From June 27, 2008:

Bolly goes futuristic in Love Story 2050

Bollywood Insider: Black and White, Race, and Dutt marriage problems

suzimann308.jpgBollywood chugli from our favorite correspondent, Suzi Mann:

From 2/29/08: Bollywood Insider – Black and White, Race, Dutt wedding probs!

The latest chugli – Showman Ghai back with Black and White, Race for the biggest shades as movie speeds onto big screen, Dutt marriage probs.

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!

 

Now I like Katrina Kaif. Video of the Day: “Rafta Rafta” from Namastey London (2007)

namastecover.jpgI watched Namastey London yesterday and expected it to be one of those fluffy mediocre movies made for an NRI audience. I watched it only because I’ll watch almost any Bollywood film and went in with low expectations, especially because I haven’t enjoyed Katrina Kaif’s acting so far. Now I have to say something I never thought I’d say: I love Katrina Kaif. There, I said it! I could maybe chalk this bold statement up to me spending another cold lonely winter night in Minnesota, thus being more vulnerable to Bollywood’s spell, but nahin! Dosto, I would say the same thing if I were watching this movie with a wonderful boyfriend at an outdoor movie festival on a beautiful summer night. Do you understand NOW what a bold, bold statement that is? She drew me in immediately, and I liked her through the entire movie, she could do no wrong. This is one of the things I love about Bollywood, I will just fall in love with the stars in one movie, and will do it with stars I had no idea I’d like, ones who I detested in other movies; like Kaif in Sarkar, Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya and Partner. It happened to me with Karisma Kapoor in Dil To Pagal Hai. It happened to me in with Kareena Kapoor in Omkara, and it’s happened with others. Most of the stars have me from the first time I see them, but I like it even more when I didn’t like them and suddenly switch my opinion. So how thrilling to shock myself by say things like, “I love Katrina Kaif!” I love to prove myself wrong! I remember seeing Partner with Nandini, and thought Kaif was so stiff and looked so vacant. Then Nandini explained that Kaif needed her lines dubbed by someone else for the film as she didn’t have command of the language. Nandini said this gave her hope that she herself could then even be a Bollywood star if Hindi fluency wasn’t a requirement. Me too! I’ve heard about the Katrina/Akshay chemistry, and now I truly understand it after seeing Namastey London. I love how Kumar checks her out in these scenes, like a gentleman predator:

namaste aksay katrina chemistry

namasteintro.jpg

kaifNamaste.britishSure it was a light movie, but I was pleasantly surprised with Katrina’s character.

Kaif successfully captures that Jazz loves the independence that living in England has provided her, yet she loves her Hindustani roots.

Ahh! Back home taking in the Ganga! I mean I have to hand it to her, she looks really in love with her mother India here.

namastelondon.kaif.india

She even gets to share some serious Bollywood pearls of wisdom:

wisdom of bollywood.love.katrina in namaste london

I especially liked the stupid one dimensional portrayal of the Britishers all (except for Charlie Brown’s father) being shallow bigots. They even have bad teeth! These Britishers said great lines like:

namastebigot.jpg namaste london bigots

At BFC, we’re always looking for chances to break into Bollywood, and here’s another example of how it could be done. How fun it would be to play a dastardly racist! I’ve put it out there Bollywood, now come and find me! I dare you! Nandini, are you in? And one final thing, the movie also included the brutally handsome Upen Patel. Here he’s warned by his father (Javed Sheikh) and the picture of Mecca on the wall, not to shack up with a girl:

namastecrime.jpg

Look at him tell off his fiancee’s racist parents here:

namasteunacceptable.jpg

I’ll tell you what’s a crime and what’s unacceptable, that Patel is so stunning! It sets the standard just too high for most humans. And now that I look more closely, I see Avril Lavigne is playing the role of his girlfriend. Now here’s a bit more about the movie.

Namastey London (Hindi: नमस्तेलंदन, Urdu: لندنNamaste Landan) is a Bollywood film directed by Vipul Amrutlal Shah and set in London, England, United Kingdom. Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Nina Wadia, Upen Patel and Rishi Kapoorstar in the film. Jasmeet “Jazz” Malhotra (Katrina Kaif) is an Indian girl, brought up lovingly by her father Manmohan Malhotra (Rishi Kapoor). Jazz loves everything that is British – something her father, a very Indian man with very Indian values, does not approve of. And he’s not alone. Parvez Khan (Javed Sheikh), Manmohan’s best friend, has a son, Imran Khan (Upen Patel), who also embraces Western culture. In fact, he lives with his British girlfriend, something Parvez simply cannot tolerate. Jazz is forced to marry a local from India: Arjun Singh (Akshay Kumar), Punjabi farmer. When the couple come back to London, it turns out that they are not married under British law due to Jazz’s deception to her father. Arjun Singh is crushed to find this out. Furthermore he realises that his beautiful bride still intends to marry her British boyfriend, thus being forced to watch as Jazz flirts with another man. However, Arjun won’t give up without a fight and sets out to make his wife fall in love with him. (wikipedia)

From Namastey London, “Rafta Rafta” by RDB (Rhythm Dhol Bass) and Himesh Reshammiya, lyrics by Javed Akhtar: