Marrakech: Bollywood continues to weave its magic on cinema-loving Moroccans long after Hindi cinema's famous stars have become household names in the West African country.
Hindi cinema and its stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan have captured the hearts of cinema-loving Moroccans like no other film industry in the world. A lot of credit for keeping a long tradition of affinity between Hindi cinema and Morocco goes to the Marrakech International Film Festival.
Two days after the 18th edition of the Marrakech film festival opened in the central Moroccan city, the iconic Jama? El Fna in Marrakech's old quarters came alive with the sound of Bollywood last night. 'Krrish 3' starring Priyanka Chopra and Hrithik Roshan was one of the first films to be screened for the public at the Jama? El Fna square.
'Krrish 3' directed by Rakesh Roshan is one of the two Bollywood films that are part of the Marrakech festival's public screening programme at the Jama? El Fna square, a popular event that draws more than 20,000 cinema lovers to the millennium-old venue.
"I admire Bollywood films for the charisma of its actors," said Yassine Salfi, a young Moroccan student who came to the watch 'Krrish 3' last night. "I like the songs and dances in the films from India," added the second year degree student at a local university. "My favourite actor is Shah Rukh Khan."
The nine-day-long festival, a major film festival in Africa and the Middle East, has supported the love of Moroccans for Hindi cinema right from the start. Founded in 2001, the Marrakech festival has paid its tributes to Indian cinema thrice in its 18 editions so far, an honour bestowed on no other national cinema.
In 2004, when the Marrakech festival began paying its tributes to cinemas abroad, it chose Bollywood classics along with a Moroccan cinema panorama. The trend continued when the festival once again feted Indian cinema in its tribute section along with Spanish and Italian cinema. In 2012, a special tribute to Hindi cinema at the festival saw Bollywood stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan arriving in Marrakech to receive the honour from the city residents.
This year, the Marrakech festival has chose to pay its tributes to Priyanka Jonas for her two-decade-long career in the film industry, in Bollywood and Hollywood. Priyanka will receive the honour in a rare public event at the Jama? El Fna square on December 5. Besides 'Krrish 3', the festival is also screening 'Bajirao Mastani' and 'The Sky is Pink', both starring Priyanka during the festival.
The festival will also witness an 'In Conversation With' programme featuring Priyanka, who has hailed the honour as a "recognition by the Moroccan people, who have always showed so much love and support throughout my career". Priyanka is joined by celebrated film personalities like American actor-director Robert Redford and veteran French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier in the festival's tribute programme this year.
An Indian animated film, 'Bombay Rose' directed by Gitanjali Rao, is part of the Marrakech festival's prestigious competition section for the Golden Star top prize this year. The festival, which began on November 29, runs up to December 7. (UNI)