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Medvedev to kindle Russia’s romance with Bollywood

New Delhi, Dec 19 (IANS) From Raj Kapoor to Aishwarya Rai, Russia’s romance with Bollywood continues. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will keep this old affair burning when he visits the master showman’s studio in Mumbai and interact with stars.

Medvedev, who touches down here Tuesday on a two-day visit, will head to Mumbai the next day where the focus will shift from fighter planes and nuclear reactors to stardust and soft power diplomacy.

There are plans for Medvedev to go to R.K. Studios, set up by the legendary Raj Kapoor who enjoyed a sort of cult status in Russia, Russian Ambassador Alexander M. Kadakin told IANS. The Russian president is set to meet the younger generation of the Kapoor clan and other top-billing film stars.

Raj Kapoor’s masterpiece ‘Shree 420’ and ‘Awara’ were huge hits in Russia and the famous song ‘Mera Joota Hai Japani… Lal Topi Russi’ is still sung in restaurants across Moscow.

The two sides are thinking of doing a remake of these films with an Indo-Russian cast, said the Russian envoy.

It won’t be just a photo-op. Showbiz will mingle with diplomacy and business as Indian and Russian film makers also explore the prospects of co-producing films. Russia is also trying to lure Bollywood barons to shoot films at stunningly picturesque locales in Russia.

Russia is the new muse of Indian film producers. Several movies like ‘No Smoking’, ‘Parwana’, ‘Lucky: No Time for Love’ and the yet to be released ‘Agent Vinod’ have been shot in this picturesque country.

There may have been slight ups and downs in India-Russia relations, but one thing has not changed – Russia’s enduring affair with Bollywood that goes back to the times when besotted fans would line up for tickets in Russian theatres to see Raj Kapoor films.

In the 80s, Mithun Chakraborty’s ‘Disco Dancer’ captivated a new generation of Russians. Now, Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai (‘Rai’ in Russian means ‘paradise’) are among films stars who are quite popular, said the Russian envoy, who describes India as a superpower in films.

(Manish Chand can be contacted at manish.c@ians.in)

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