16 August, 2006

Looking for Bollywood Movies that Reference Dubai

...or other parts of the Gulf. I have posted here before about how I am doing my PhD research on connections between South Asia and the Gulf, esp. Dubai. I am particularly interested in the way Dubai is imagined in Indian popular media. So I welcome any and all suggestions. Thanks!

24 comments:

MD said...

Hala!

As of now, I could only come up with the below; they have scenes/songs shot in Dubai. I don't watch a lot of desi movies but these are the only ones I could think of right now:

Deewane Hue Pagal
Boom
Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya
The Killer

archer14 said...

Heres the real truth, and it's going to hurt. All major holiday destinations of the world are whored by Bollywood movies. The early 80s and 90s were the ages of film-a-song-and-get-the-hell-outta-there routine. In the 90s, enough money was harvested within India to directly film at exotic destinations. Again, the film and the destination are worlds apart. The ensemble cast have just been transported thousands of miles, with the occasional psycho-with-the-american-accent to add a bit of spice. At no point does the destination ever link with the story.

And yes, till date there has not been one single Indian film to be shot in the UAE, even with generations of Indian expats based here. All movies reference Dubai to usually highlight the grandiose lifestyle.

Of late, even this is out of fashion. Now its running around trees in New York, Paris...the list is endless.

nativeinformant said...

md... thanks for that list. will definitely check them out.

archer14... I am aware of the international destinations of Bollywood films. A lot of this is done to market to the diaspora. Bollywood makes the majority of its money from NRIs so the representation of NRI experiences in films is important, no matter how much of a fantasy it is. Plus, I don't see how that is any different from Hollywood, which films all over too.

As for filming in Dubai, I was under the impression that they shot a couple scenes for a film in Ibn Battuta earlier this year.

Anyway, whether actually or fictionally in Dubai, or just talking about it, I am interested in all references.

Harsha said...

Try

Market
Stop
Om Jai Jagdish
Tumsa Nahi Dekha
Woh Lamhe

BD said...

I will echo Archer's sentiment.

Bollywood movies are pathetic and useless; that goes for Mollywood, Tollywood and every other derivation. It is a waste of human intellect. I think that's why Archer suggests it is hardly worth analyzing. It doesn't represent the lives or even the attitudes of the Indian population. It is all about a corrupt, moneymaking industry which has successfully managed to rip off the Indian public.

As for all the fans, I would give them the benefit of the doubt and just say they don't understand quality entertainment because they've probably never seen any produced in their first or native language.

The gangstar ridden Chinese film industry suffered from this same pathetic situation in the days when everything was about Kung Fu and Shao-lin. But that industry has development into an extremely admirable source of quality productions. I hope, the Indians, with all their advanced degrees will be able to turn their movie industry around in the same way.

Harsha said...

Majority of the Indian population doesnt have degrees.. so.. Indian movies work for them.


ppl who make Indian movies = happy

Ppl who watch Indian movies = happy

whats the problem?

Woke said...

Mainstream Bollywood is the wrong place to take any meaningful input for your research.

There is a parallel cinema which does not get publicity like bollywood does - but is socially relevant to that particular region and also a reflection of the realities. Bollywood generally shows Dubai as a backdrop of some silly songs or that place where the ultra rich big villain is. Sad.

And whats with the degrees and making/watching good cinema harsha? Some of the most renowned directors and script writers who hasnt had any formal education.

archer14 said...

Bollywood makes the majority of its money from NRIs so the representation of NRI experiences in films is important, no matter how much of a fantasy it is.

At the end of the day, the weary Indian wants to watch some song and dance to mellow his blues away. There are also some theaters out there which some people flock to - not for the movie - but for an air conditioned nap for a good 3 hrs at just 10 Rs. It doesnt get any better than that.

In this regard, Harsha...you have a point.

On the other side we have 'acclaimed' film makers aka Karan Johar who make, remake and regurgitate stale love relationships and multiplex romances. Big budget banners who have the cash to produce something truly spectacular - but will not - lest they scare the frontbenchers away. For the cream of their profits come from the frontbenchers and the family of frontbenchers found in the Indian diaspora. Initially I thought The Great Diaspora would bring out some people who'd produce good films. They have turned out to be people with horrendous tastes.

This lust for profit has stunted our film industry, which is the worlds biggest. Speaking of lust, it is the new canvas for our esteemed film makers to paint their tripe on.

Bd- thanks for reading my mind.

blogrosh said...

Many thanks BD - you echo the large majority's sentiments.

Indian movies is a bunch of BS - the crap that's churned out of "B"ollywood - is as innovative as the word Bollywood.

The ways of working, culture, creativity(?), production values?)-crap - crap-crap- and some more crap!!

There are no actors, but a buncha free loaders, corrupt, self centered midgets with worlds largest egos.

Harsha, given your logic (and apologies in advance)

Indian movies = crap & epitome of idocrases, hence Indian movie goers = epitome of idiots and lovers of all that's crap!

Hala - mercifully please do not disclose you performed "research" on Bollywood as part of your Phd program - surely, you stand the risk of devaluing the program - sorry mate, but my honest two cents!

Surely there's stuff with more substance you can work on.

Harsha said...

woke, my degrees comment was in reply to BD

Harsha said...

Many thanks BD - you echo the large majority's sentiments.

I'm not really some bollywood fan. rather.. i hardly even watch movies...

but b4 saying that statement..i suggest you look up some stats..

i hope you understand what 'large' and 'majority' both mean..

specially given that you've used both words one after the other.

And from nativeinformants post what i understand is.. hes looking for movies that show 'Dubai' as 'Dubai' not just for the song and dance routines.

blogrosh said...
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blogrosh said...

"but b4 saying that statement..i suggest you look up some stats..

Perhaps you should share some stats with us? I am curious to know, say (i) what %age of "B"ollywood movies made, in a given year, breakeven? or say
(ii) how many of 'em have received any form of critical acclaim from the Cannes or the Oscars in the past 30 years or so? - me thinks, the "stats" may speak for itself.

"i hope you understand what 'large' and 'majority' both mean..

specially given that you've used both words one after the other."

Lord Shakespeare - I realize it's an American slang, for instance, "by a large majority" come from Mark Twain's Gilded Age.

However, the slang is widely used across international Media and in most form of correspondence. My comment is a figure of speech, I assme, this is a casual blog?

BD - am I correct, perhaps you can shed some light?

Harsha said...

if you just google ur questions, they will all be answered.

look up the jury for cannes film festival for the past 5 years

and also Lagaan was nominated for the oscars...of recent times..


you shouldnt argue if you're so ignorant about bollywood.

if it doesnt interest you..fine.. let it be.. there are millions survivng on a base of bollywood.

Its a huge fooking industry.. why cant u just let it be?

blogrosh said...
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blogrosh said...

WHOA - who said anything about arguing? This is a public forum, a blog, and it's an open debate - hence please refrain from demanding, how to express my thoughts. I have an opinion, you have yours. You do not have to hear/read mine, and is free to ignore my comments, however don't give me advice on "arguing" and call me "ignorant" - when your claim to fame is google up "B"ollywood!

This is silly, I give a rats a** on "B'ollywood, it's pathetic (too light a word) folks and all else who make a "living" out of such crap! and that includes the religious bucnha followers.

Moreover, spare us the ignorance you claim to potray - whatever you say, it is pretty evident you are an admirer/fan/call it what you want - of the lousy town, it's buncha lousier folks & the trash churned out.

So yeah Ms Rai is a pretty woman, and if she sat on the Cannes panel for ONE year that's got minimum or zero amount of "recognition" to do with creativity of Bollywood movies! If anything, it's her pretty face (and no talent to speak off) which got her to Cannes.

Perhaps you still want to google up, and respond to my requests - " (i) %age of "B"ollywood movies made, in a given year, which break-even - which would alos give you an idea of it's viewership or(ii) the %age of the movies shelled out, which have received any form of critical acclaim from the Cannes or the Oscars, the past 30 years!"

Else please, take your talk on "ignorance" and "argument" elsewhere - let those who wish to debate, just be!

nativeinformant said...

Whoa. Didn't realize this would spark such debate! This is not my entire research topic but just a small piece. The issue is not the quality or intellectual value of Bollywood films. Popular culture is a place where ideas about society are formed and reflected (even through elements of fantasy and excess), just like other media and consumer products. In fact, there is a whole field called cultural studies that looks at this. Anyway, I am interested in the way Dubai is imagined and represented to be in Indian popular culture -- representations that mean a lot to people who may never have gone there and see Dubai through arenas such as film.

So, thanks to people who had film recs and if you can think of others I would appreciate it.

blogrosh said...

Well apologies native - guess the debate went a wee bit wary ; )

My two cents, from what (little) I know of how Dubai or the UAE has been potrayed in Indian movies;

Bollywood perhaps has potrayed the UAE, with some glamour, a "better" materialistic place where people can get away from realities of their native towns. However at the sametime, Dubai, is also potrayed as a safe heaven for international crime & criminals.

The Media, I think potrays all of the above and then some more - Dubai being a melting pot of neo-liberalism and subterranean economy, Sunni Arab Islam and low taxes, souks and artificial islands, a giant warehouse and a tourist paradise, life in the fast lane and post-modern slavery. The model spells out an apolitical, consumer-mad, citizenship-free society - ruled by the Bedouin Sheikhs.

Perhaps this helps?

nativeinformant said...

blogrosh - yes, I agree. This is how I have seen Dubai portrayed as well. My interest stems from how "Indian" a space Dubai seems to be from the Indian pop culture and media perspective, compared to how "Indian" it is in the minds of Indians who live here, or others (expats and nationals). And the question of citizenship is actually the crux of my research -- How do people belong to a place when citizenship is an impossibility? In my interviews with Indians in Dubai, some feel like it is their home more than India will ever be, and others feel like they don't belong at all. These are the ultimate questions I am interested in, but the way Dubai often gets portrayed as an extension of India, and Bombay in particular, is a part of it all too.

Thanks!

Harsha said...

blogrosh - Nandita Das and Shabana Azmi have been on the Cannes jury as well.


(i) %age of "B"ollywood movies made, in a given year, which break-even - which would alos give you an idea of it's viewership or(ii) the %age of the movies shelled out, which have received any form of critical acclaim from the Cannes or the Oscars, the past 30 years!"

I've definately seen the stats you've asked for in (i), on end of the year bollywood dedicated shows. Havent gotten around to looking for them online, if you do. i'm sure you'll find something.

and there have been plennnnntttttyyyyyy movies that have got critical acclaim not only in Cannes but in the Toronto film festival as well.

archer14 said...

And the question of citizenship is actually the crux of my research -- How do people belong to a place when citizenship is an impossibility? In my interviews with Indians in Dubai, some feel like it is their home more than India will ever be, and others feel like they don't belong at all. These are the ultimate questions I am interested in, but the way Dubai often gets portrayed as an extension of India, and Bombay in particular, is a part of it all too.

I guess it depends on what kind of a person you are. How much you value your freedom and ultimately how materialistic you are. Part of the reason why Indians feel this as home is because of the money, no taxes, and anything which has to do with earning more. And most find it very disloyal (and shameful) to think of the past and their feigned dismal origins.

blogrosh said...
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blogrosh said...

Archer14 - perhaps you are speaking for yourself and those few who, you have come across?.
However there are several like I, including my close friends, who were born & raised in the UAE and currently are residents & citizens of the UAE or foreign countries.

There are several more individuals, I have came across here in the United States & Canada and even from the UK - who are second & third generation "expatriates" born, raised and a have been long term residents of the UAE the past 30 -40 years. Often, we may hold international citizenships, and have fantastic careers elsewhere, perhaps not by choice, however, even due to the lack of a solid immigration/naturalization laws in the UAE- "home" for us, will always be the UAE. A place where a soul grew up, where lives memories were made off – and I think often, it matters little, if it's a pig farm or a palace in the Swiss mountains. I visit my folks every Christmas in the UAE, and believe me you, it’s harder to leave after each visit.

"Part of the reason why Indians feel this as home is because of the money, no taxes, and anything which has to do with earning more. And most find it very disloyal (and shameful) to think of the past and their feigned dismal origins."

Not sure how you make this generalization? I am half Indian (my mom) and half British (my dad who is Caucasian)- my folks moved to the UAE in 1968 - when there was NO money, basic luxuries or even the basic amenities. As an infant, I remember, in the late seventies and the early eighties - the country was a very close knit little community, where everyone knew everyone, when people had the time to chat with their friends, not slip a business card (as is the case today). When Ramadan & Eid was not just a “Muslim” event or tradition, likewise for Christmas.

Amongst my best friends for life, are Emirati’s, expatriates from various countries and Arabs (both Muslims & Christians). If I were to pull up the most memorable experiences & thoughts of life to date – they are all from the UAE. Every place in the UAE has immense sentimental value, like no other. A sight of a desert/ Arab music or Sand dunes rings memoirs of home.

Anyway, I could go on and on. I realize you have an opinion - however, I feel, perhaps you should check sentiments of all involved prior to extending a universal statement (above).

archer14 said...

Blogrosh, yes, maybe I am stretching things a bit. Maybe I haven't had the fortune of meeting families who value more of life than money (such as those you describe of). I too have been in the UAE since '81, and left only for my graduation.

I came here to re-live the life I had, and what has remained of it is that I've totally forgotten about my life. Rising inflation has meant that I cannot live a simple existence which many would yearn for. So naturally, my attention is on the meagre savings. What about those who do earn a lot and still bitch? There are a lot more of then than you know of.

This place is all about the money. Read the news, listen to the radio, its all about the money. It's centered around all of us. The fact that the UAE has forced you to spend more than half of what you earn has changed attitudes in a lot of people. The people whom I knew of aren't the same as before. From what I make of it, it is not them, but what the country has made of them.

So hey, give my comment a little bit of thought in retrospect, and I'm sure you'll hit a chord ;-).

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