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.

“AIDS Sutra:Untold Stories from India” with a touch of Bollywood

http://sajablogs.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451dd1469e20105361b738b970b-800wiFor time-pass I watch a lot of movies and I also read books.  I suppose it’s normal to find stories about films in books about India, since the film industry infiltrates the culture. Even in this anthology on the serious subject of AIDS,  I was able to find a bit of very uplifting Bollywood material.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is pleased to announce the publication of AIDS Sutra: Untold Stories from India, a landmark collection of essays that presents a complex and gripping picture of the disease. Sixteen of India’s most well-known literary writers go on the road to tell the story of people affected by the epidemic and the stigma that surrounds them. “This book reveals the human side of the disease,” write Bill and Melinda Gates in their introduction to this groundbreaking anthology. (source)

Bhoot Ki Kahaanian by Jaspreet Singh references Taare Zameen Par (2007).

Taare_Zameen_Par

 AIDSsutra.TZP.1

AIDSsutra.TZP

aamir-khan-with-children-in-taare-zameen-par

Umrao_Jaan_movie_poster

 

Return to Sonagachi by Sunil Gangopadhyay presented a delightful dilemma: where on earth do we hide the whisky?  I bet it was Johnnie Walker.  Read on to see how the dilemma reminded me a bit of Umrao Jaan (1981) and (2006):

 

 

 

 

AIDSsutra.Sonagacchi.p158

Now here’s the Umrao Jaan-ish part:

AIDSsutra.Sonagacchi.p160

(p.158)  

See!  A poetry writing prostitute with a heart of gold, just like Umrao Jaan.

still4

Love in the Time of Positives by Nalini Jones baghban00 describes how Baghban (2003), and in particular the part played by  Salman Khan, ended up saving someone’s life.

On the day he planned to die, he decided to spend his last afternoon at the movies. Basavaraj described the film he saw at great length-a family drama starring Amitabh Bachchan called Baghban. It is the story of loving parents who give everything they have to their son and look froward to a happy old age.  But their children have grown selfish, caught up in their own concerns, and the parents are left destitute until an unlikely saviour, a street boy the couple had adopted and educated, comes to their rescue.  Sitting alone in the theater, Basavaraj began to worry about this own parents. He realised he was their only son, their best hope for ‘a good old age’. He wanted to be like the adopted boy in the film, the only one who doesn’t forget what he owes his family.  Basavaraj went home, threw out the pills, pored away the alcohol, and cast himself as the unlikely saviour- the son who is secretly HIV positive. (source p.320)

baghban

 

So if you’ve seen Baghban, I suppose the credit would go to Salman Khan  for saving the life of Basavaraj! Who would have thought!?  I wonder if Salman-ji knows about this.

 

The Daughters of Yellamma by William Dalrymple includes an Amitabh Bachchan siting!  In some parts of India young girls are “married” or dedicated to the temple goddess as prostitutes.  Dalrymple interviews one of the women and she recalls the time she lived in Bombay:

I ate fabulous biryani at the Sagar Hotel and once when I was in the streets I saw Amitabh Bachchan pass by in his car. (p. 226)

06

As much as I enjoyed to Sunil Gangopadhyay’s piece, I enjoyed The Last of the Ustaads by Aman Sethi which both mentions and pays a great tribute to Gadar, Ek Prem Katha (2001).  Maybe I loved Sethi’s piece so much because Gadar is one of my favorite movies.

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Questioning the plight of truck drivers in India and their higher tendency to have HIV than the general population, Sethi interviews a truck driver:

Is it just ‘modern life’? When finding answers to sudhcomplex questions in a country infested with faux holy men, one must turn to the sole oracle of truth—Bollywood super hit film Gadar: Ek Prem Katha(Gadar: A Love Story), Tara Singh the truck driver, played by trucker demigod Sunny Deol, is asked a poignant question by Partition refugee Sakina, played by Amisha Patel.  ‘Tara Singhji,’ she asks as sh expertly ties hi turban, ‘why don’t you get married?’ Tho this, Tara Singh shakes his turbaned head, and gives her an answer that made practically every truck driver in India nod his head approvingly and say ‘Wah!’ ‘Madamji,’ says Tara Singh, ‘I live in Khana Buddur; today my truck is parked here, but tomorrow I might  be in Delhi. After that why would anyone want to marry a truck driver?’ Thought the movie is set in 1947, Tara Singh’s question touches upon an issue that is relevant even today.  Truck drivers aren’t particularly discriminated against when it comes to marriage partners; but some of the younger drivers I spoke with said that finding partners was becoming harder and harder.  I watched Gadar on the recommendation of Sanjay and some of his friends Played out against the backdrop of the Partition riots in 1947 in the border states of India and Pakistan, Gadar tells the tale of how a heroic Jat-Sikh truck driver rescues a wealthy Muslim girl from a rampaging mob; wins her trust, marries her, rescues her once more–this time from her rampaging father–and finally settles down, in a happy ending. While several films have had their heroes careen up and down highways in trucks, the heroes. are rarely truck drivers;l the truck just happens to be the closest vehicle at had to make good their escape, rescue their lovers, or run over their enemies.  Gadar is perhaps the only mainstream hit in which the protagonist is a truck driver who proves to be a good husband, father, patriot, and all round nice guy.  Unfortunately, Gadar  too starts with Tara Singh accepting that fate has dealt him a poor hand by making him a truck driver.  He obligingly sings and dances and plays the part of the happy truck driver, but he understands the distance between him and the object of his desire.  As he says, ‘Even if I wanted to, I can’t touch the moon, can I?’ The rest of the plot is a story of redemption–of proving that truck drivers are honourable, powerful , and patriotic.  Why does truck driving lack izzat?  Why are truck drivers victims of negative stereotypes?  Is it class? Is it their association with a high-risk behavior group? Does, in fact, being categorised as  a high-risk group stigmatise them even further? From Gadar to their portrayal in the Indian press, truckers are regarded as rough and ready and reckless, dirty and dissolute.  Prone to drink, driving accidents–and now disease. (p. 306-7)

For more about the book,  read a review  from The Telegraph, Calcutta India, and another from The Indian Journal of Medical Ethics. Listen to the NPR Podcast on the book: ‘AIDS Sutra’ Challenges Widespread Denial In India’

Also, if you want to get filmy with it, here’s something else.

The AIDS Jaago (AIDS Awake) project is four short dramatic films which aim to dismantle myths and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS. These films were funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and made by acclaimed Indian filmmakers Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding; The Namesake), Vishal Bhardwaj, Santosh Sivan and Farhan Akhtar. Designed to use the immense power of moviemaking to wake people up about AIDS, the project was the brainchild of Mira Nair and was produced by her company Mirabai Films. (source)

Watch for Free on Jaman HERE

other Bollywood Movies on HIV

THAT Bollywood Pool!

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr! It’s cold outside where I live and being in some warm weather near a swimming pool sure would be nice.  All I want for Christmas is THAT pool!  No chance of that, so I’ll be happy to write about it instead. I think you’ve seen this pool if you’ve watched your share of Bollywood films. It took me a while to get hipped to this pool.  I like pools anyway, and the sight of them always makes me smile, so I was extra surprised to realize that this pool started showing up in a lot of Bollywood films.

hkknthatpool

When I’d see it I think “THAT pool again!” I would nominate it for best supporting background architecture if the Filmfare Awards had such a category.  I will heretofore refer to the pool as THAT pool, not to be confused with The Pool.  THAT pool is easily identified by the fancy arched diving platform with dual step approach. I know I’ve see THAT pool in Dil (1990) where Aamir Khan and Madhuri Dixit’s characters danced around it and announced their engagement. I am almost sure I saw it in  Hum Aapke Hain Koun…! (1994) where Salmaan Khan dove off the cool platform into the pool and splashed around in it with a flirty girl.

So the other day while watching Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin (1977) I saw it again! I thought “THAT pool!” and got around to finally screen capping it.  Here we see Kajaal Kiran grooving around the pool.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a closer image of Kiran so that you could see that she’s wearing funky platform shoes, and that those pants are leather. I merely captured her groovy spirit. This is how I’d look if I found myself at THAT pool.  I’d be dancing around it whipping around my scarf too.

hkknthatpool2

If you have some images of the pool, I’m sorry, THAT Bollywood pool,  send them this way.  If you have seen it in a Bollywood film tell me which one.  It would be nice to establish a filmography of THAT pool.

UPDATED  7.26.11

Thanks to Beth Loves Bollywood we now have full information on The Pool!

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

 

SOS! Or SOB, as in Save Our Blog! Help save a fellow Bollywood fanatic’s blog.

Calling all Bollywood bloggers and Bollywood blog readers! SOB!

I was hopping around the web tonight and found some spectacular photos of Bollywood stars. Let me tell you how it all happened. I finished watching the thriller Aggar (2007) and was doing my customary post movie research. I usually like to refresh my memory about where I may have seen the actors before and find out about the ones I don’t remember after I’ve finished a film. So this evening, like many other nights, I jumped over to IMDB & wikipedia, and checked out filmographies of the movie’s stars: Shreyas Talpade (hot!), Udita Goswami, and Tusshar Kapoor (also hot, hmm, where have I seen him before?) click:

Tusshar Kapoor( तुषार कपूर; born 20 November 1976) is an Indian actor. He is the son of Bollywood actor Jeetendra and Shobha Kapoor and brother of producers Ekta Kapoor & Sharan Kapoor. He studied at the University of Michigan. (wikipedia)

Then I think, “Hey, I still haven’t seen Jeetendra, maybe I’ll see Caravan (1971) since it also stars Asha Parekh who I also haven’t seen!” So I’m thinking I will kill 2 birds with one stone, hain na? Now I want to see some photos of them, so I do a google image search and find great stuff. Excellent stuff! So many great shots at this one place. For example, photos like these of Madhubala and Asha.

The blog source of these fantastic pictures About section reads:

About Me: Karen, Fanatic fan of hindi movies! Love the classical ones just as much as the new ones (pretty apparent from the blog)! Madhuri Dixit is my favorite actress and Salman Khan is my fav actor!

Ahh! a kindred spirit! Then I read this sad news there:

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Regarding anyone who has iterest in my blog if it hasn’t already become apparent, i have pretty much abandoned this blog. reason being that i thought that no one cared about this blog so i stopped doing stuff with it. plus i have so many pics that it became very long and tedious to upload pics. so i uploaded my pics into webalbums! which if you want you can view at http://picasaweb.google.com/home i have now also ran out of space here and i still have a lot of pics to upload! so i will i guess make another account! well thanx for all the comments and feedback! do checkout the webalbums!
NAHIIIIIIIIIN! I write this post to show that some one cares. Ek person cares and I’m certain many more care. You’re not the only Bollywood fanatic out there Karen! I feel like this is the MD telathon and I’m Jerry Lewis, asking for your help to save Karen’s Everything Bollywood, This is the Opium of the Masses blog. Yaaro, we can find a cure! At least now you will know where all these pictures are located and be able to find her goldmine of a webalbum if you haven’t already. Here’s to you Karen in Canada! I hope you get some more space on your blog or get another account. I’ll be watching. Hopefully some people reading this will shoot you a word of encouragement too. Thanks for taking the time to upload all those fantastic photos Karenji!