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Saturday, November 10, 2007

So Long Europe, Hello Banaras!

In the 1960's, A film called "Sangam" was made and was one of the most popular films of that time. In fact, it is still remembered and cherished today. One of the reasons for its popularity is-- it was the first Bollywood film to have a been filmed in Europe.

Since then, whenever the actress dreams of dancing with her lover, or when a couple goes on their honeymoon, the scene goes straight to some beautiful location in Europe. In fact, Yash Chopra, master of romantic films, received an award from the government of Switzerland, acknowledging how many scenes he has filmed in their country.

But this type of foreign fascination is dwindling in Bollywood. Last year, the film "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna," which was filmed purely in New York, received mix reviews and was the least popular of the director's films, which in the past have always reeked of American-European obsession. The films that succeeded last year took place in rural India, New Delhi, or Mumbai.

If you take a look at the next big releases for this year, such as "Taare Zameen Par" or even "Aaja Nachle," which is in fact about an Indian returning to her country from America, both take place in India. The best movies and the biggest successes of 2007 were all located in India as well, some in small towns, others in Mumbai or New Delhi, including two films that were filmed primarily in the holy city of Banaras (not including Chak De India-- but that's a different story-- they went abroad for a hockey tournament, not to dream).

Speaking for myself, I definitely won't miss the lead couple running through fields of flowers in Switzerland. Dancing on a rickshaw is much more fun.