How Bollywood has been a bridge between Egypt, India | India News

Over the following few days, India-Egypt bonhomie might be additional burnished by a sequence of bilateral agreements and the diplomatic affability can even replicate in President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s presence because the chief visitor on the Republic Day celebrations.
However the cultural ties run deeper. Over a swathe of many years within the land of Mo Salah, many Egyptians have constructed a private bond with Hindi movies. They’ve thronged to look at Dilip Kumar’s Aan, gorged on Huge B’s Mard on grainy VHS tapes and queued up for Shah Rukh Khan’s My Identify is Khan in Cairo.
It isn’t simply the individuals, even presidents have beloved Hindi cinema. Not many know that Egypt’s (then) President Gamal Abdel Nasser attended the seventh Filmfare Awards in Bombay in 1960.

FROM TOI’S ARCHIVES: Then Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser on the 1960 Filmfare Awards in Bombay.

The attraction is mutual. Bollywood too has been fascinated by Egypt’s panorama and monuments, particularly the pyramids. From Bachchan in The Nice Gambler (1976) to Akshay Kumar in Singh is Kinng (2008) – Hindi cinema’s largest and brawniest have bashed up baddies and shimmied to songs there.
Historical as the 2 civilizations are, shared anti-colonial targets have crafted fashionable associations between Egypt and India. The Union ministry of exterior affairs mentioned in 2014 that Mahatma Gandhi and Egyptian statesman Saad Zaghloul had frequent objectives on independence of their nations. The ties have been elevated by the shut friendship between Nasser and Jawaharlal Nehru, resulting in a Friendship Treaty between the 2 nations in 1955. Nasser and Nehru, together with Yugoslavia’s Josif Broz Tito, have been thought to be the three pillars of the worldwide Non-Aligned Motion (NAM).

However past the world of politics and diplomacy, an invisible people-to-people connection was cast starting within the Thirties by means of the world of transferring photos in darkened theatres. In an insightful paper titled, The Ubiquitous Nonpresence of India, Oxford professor Walter Armbrust referred to the fan journal Al Kawakib (The Star) to indicate how Hindi cinema had come to be mentioned in Egypt, although not all the time positively, within the Thirties.
However the cultural kinship aspect of the cinematic affiliation wasn’t ignored both as a 1957 article in the identical journal confirmed. “The key to the success of Indian movies in Egypt is that they painting a standard lifetime of each the Indian and the Egyptian, with solely trivial variations attributable to environmental components. The music in these movies strikes us and lifts our spirits as a result of it springs from the identical supply: the magic of the East and its spirituality. ” Egypt boasts a movie business of its personal and the Nineteen Forties to Nineteen Sixties interval is thought to be “the Golden Age of Egyptian cinema”.

Filmfare Nutan Nasser

Commerce Information, a Hindi movie enterprise journal, acknowledged in 1963 that Egypt produces technically high-standard movies whereas additionally importing films from the US and UK. “The viewers is subtle and solely first-class movies with highly effective story and color ingredient might be a industrial success,” mentioned an article headlined, World Marketplace for Indian Movies.
The Eighties marked the arrival of video cassettes, which turned cinema-viewing into dwelling leisure for the primary time. Pirated VHS tapes additional expanded the worldwide attain of Bollywood movies and stars. From the1980s onwards, Bachchan turned a megastar in Egypt.
“Bachchan skyrocketed into Egypt’s cinema star constellation with movies like Geraftaar and Mard (1985) that viewers noticed in theatres or watched on video cassette. . . Again in India, Bachchan’s movies from the late Eighties didn’t entice audiences like that they had on the peak of his stardom, when he was referred to as the ‘Offended Younger Man’. However the later movies nonetheless had enthusiastic followers in Egypt,” wrote Texas-based educational Claire Cooley in movie journal Bounce Minimize.


Armbrust recalled two fascinating anecdotes that illustrate the extent of Huge B’s reputation in Egypt. He wrote, “One city legend circulating within the early Nineteen Nineties was {that a} aircraft carrying Amitabh Bachchan touched down briefly within the Cairo airport for refuelling. Phrase received out concerning the Hindi star’s presence, and tens of 1000’s of individuals got here to the airport hoping to catch a glimpse of him. I noticed a extra concrete instance of Bachchan’s presence within the shows of distributors in a preferred market close to downtown. A few of these distributors bought tee shirts emblazoned with the face of Bachchan.”
It’s a degree that Ahmad Mohd Ahmad Abdel Rahman, head, division of Urdu, Al-Azhar College, Cairo, reaffirmed in 2011. “If any Indian is noticed on the streets, the primary welcoming phrases individuals utter are ‘Howdy, Amitabh Bachchan,” he had informed TOI then. It’s a matter of educational exploration how a person turns into synonymous with a nation.

pyramid graphics (2)

Egypt’s love affair with Hindi cinema has continued in recent times. In 2015, journalist Ati Metwaly wrote on Ahram On-line how the Egyptians flocked to a Bollywood dance workshop on the Indiaby the Nile pageant. “Younger Egyptians hum Indian songs even when they don’t perceive the lyrics,” Metwaly mentioned.
Shah Rukh Khan is wildly standard in Egypt. King Khan’s immense draw is exemplified by a 2021 incident that Ashwini Deshpande, who teaches at Ashoka College, divulged on social media. She tweeted, “Wanted to switch cash to a journey agent in Egypt. Was having issues with the switch. He mentioned: you’re from the nation of @iamsrk. I belief you. I’ll make the reserving, you pay me later. For anyplace else, I wouldn’t do that. However something for @iamsrk…” Later Shah Rukh heartwarmingly despatched his autographed pictures and a handwritten observe to the journey agent.
The prevalence underlines the ability of cinema: the way it can demolish geographical distances and cultural variations and contact the guts, the way it can form attitudes in direction of a whole individuals and a rustic. Hopefully, there are extra stanzas to be sung on this enduring duet.

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