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.
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).
While in Chefchaouen, Morocco, I did see this colorful Indian gear, but that’s as close to Bollywood as I got:
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.
Click on the links below to find out more.
Bollywood Insider Friday 01 May 2009: Tributes 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
From November 7th, 2008:
Golmaal Returns makes UK Top 10 – Roadside Romeo Blues – Kat steals the show
From October 31, 2008:
Kuch Kuch Haunting Hai – Dostana, Karan Johar on KKHH and Dostana
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.
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!
From October 30, 2008:
Lovely Manissha Lamba – Abraham’s high hopes – Guaranteed hit Gomaal
Click on Suzi to watch:
From October 24, 2008:
Pooch pulling power – Heroes heroine Preity Zinta
From October 17, 2008:
EMI cashes in on credit crunch – Hello!! struggles to get attention – Ajay Devgan exclusive!
From October 10, 2008
Priyanka Chopra’s stylish role in Fashion – Kidnap captivates UK audiences – Kareena Kapoor calls the shots
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!
London hosts Love Story 2050 Premiere – Khan and Kumaar are inseperable – Hard Kaur is a party animal
Shilpa makes a comeback – Kumar lives like a Kinng – Career lift-off for Harman
Kaif’s birthday surprise – Priyanka turns 26 – Bolly brand is big bucks
Bolly stars unite for Unforgettable Tour – Salman and SRK run-in – Govinda relives his youth
Jewel in Kat’s crown – Chopra choppy waters – King Kumar cashes in
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