Sundeep Bhutoria

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How Hindi films and old songs connect....

Indian films and old songs connect Indians in ways like no other. I have heard in South Africa a boy settled in Tanzania humming Kabhi Kabhi…. though he and his family has had no direct connection with the Indian sub-continent for many years and neither did they have much idea about their place of origin.
I have always of believed that the Indian cinema is the best medium of spreading Indian culture in the world, not just among the NRIs or persons of Indian origin (PIOs) but among the people of other languages and culture across the globe.
One such incident was in Syria. While walking on streets I noticed a poster of Aamir Khan and Manisha Koirala outside a small theatre. When I saw it carefully I found it was a local language poster of the film Mann 
(picture).  Wow! It was unexpected and I really felt good and much at home though I failed to see any Indians, apart from that restaurant chef, in the locality. The chef informed me that since the previous year not a single Indian visited his restaurant where he had been working for the past 18-months. 
In Syria, I visited the world famous majestic ruins of Palmyra - known to the Arabs as Tadur. Palmyra was once a thriving desert metropolis that was made famous by Zenobia – the legendary Empress of the East. The desert in Syria (picture) was yet another beautiful experience of my life after ones in Jaisalmer, UAE and Chile. The ruins are en route to Baghdad. During our drive, deafening sounds of shelling and bombardments pierced our eardrums every five or six minutes. 
I couldn’t go up to Iraq but I did go till the Baghdad Cafe close to the border. At the ruins of the desert civilization I came across 10 to 12 year old boys, who provide camels and other services, fluently speaking in French, Spanish, German and English as they went about seeking custom from the tourists. It is a lifetime experience to see the ruins. 
Riding on camels makes it all the more wonderful and transports you to another era
(picture).
Recently Sunil da visited Syria as a part of a literary delegation. I asked him if things have changed there. He said, “Yes.” One positive change has been the lifting of the government restriction on television programs.
ess bee

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