Peru hooked on to Bollywood culture
Latin America’s love for Bollywood is from early 70’s
Located over 16,700 km away, the Latin American country got hooked on to Bollywood in the 1970s after the screening of movies like “Mother India” and “Mera Naam Joker”, according to Peruvian Bollywood enthusiasts, who know by heart Hindi film songs and dialogues.
With its romantic and dramatic themes as well as foot- tapping songs, Bollywood is now a lesser known secret passion of the Latin American country.
“Peru is no stranger to the phenomenon called Bollywood. Bollywood movies have been rooted in Peruvian hearts for so long. In the 70s, many Indian cinemas, including ‘Mother India’ and ‘Mera Naam Joker’ were a success in its time,” says Jhon Bellido, head of Lima-based Indian Cinema Fan Association.
Bellido says after the 70s there was a lull followed by a revival in the early 2000s.
“Even in these days, new movies and actors are worshipped. Culturally, the passion never died because it passed on from parents to children. This is why most of Peruvians know at least a little of Indian cinema,” Bellido, an avid Shah Rukh Khan fan, told PTI over an e-mailed interview from Lima, Peru’s capital city.
The Association, says, Bellido, aims to create a cultural and artistic movement related to the film industry of India in various languages like Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Punjabi.
It also organizes weekend Bollywood choreography workshops and Bollywood-themed parties to promote the Indian film genre.
Despite a small Indian diaspora in Peru, films like ‘3 Idiots’, ‘My Name Is Khan’, ‘Guzaarish’ and ‘Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu’ received an overwhelming response in the Spanish-speaking nation, says Mary Alejandra Torres, who takes care of the Association’s social networks.
Recently the Rohit Shetty-directed film “Chennai Express” starring Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone became the first Hindi film to be released in Peru on the same day it hit theatres in India.
Torres, a dedicated fan of Indian films says, “We have over eight years of experience in spreading the Indian film genre that raises passion. Bollywood is ever closest to Peru. Most of the people in Peru came to know about India and its culture through Bollywood”.
In the markets of Lima, shops are packed with DVDs of not only Bollywood movies but also of other Indian regional films, as well as CDs of Indipop, she says.
As Bollywood seeks to expand its reach further, with promotional events like International Indian Film Academy (IIFA), Peru is a smart market to go after, they believe.
Erika Varas, 22-year-old Peruvian Bollywood dancer, goes by her artistic name ‘Isha’, says, “I knew about Bollywood through my family because they told me about old Indian films that they watched. After watching some Indian movies, I got fascinated with costumes, choreographies and songs. For me, Bollywood is a mix of dance and theatre at its best.”
She thinks Bollywood has become popular in Peru because the family values and love displayed deeply in Indian films resemble the Latin American nation’s culture a lot.
Another phenomenon on the rise in Peru is Bollywood dance which has witnessed the mushroom growth of groups practicing this typical genre of Indian dance.
“Peruvians also like Bollywood movies for their music, dance and exoticism,” says Erika, a self confessed fan of Aishwarya Rai and Rajnikanth. Agrees Bellido, “Indian movies have captured a very young audience in Peru. Not only do they watch the movies, but learn to dance also. That’s how all the Bollywood dance groups started in the country.”
“Not only young girls and boys, even adults are attracted to Bollywood dance. They like the catchy rhythms of Punjabi songs, Indipop or even the classic Indian music,” says Bellido, who likes to watch Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi and Malayalam films besides those in Hindi.
Both Bellido and Erika say that more Indian movies would come to Peruvian theatres in near future as it is a “good influence in our society”.