Bollywood fever in Ethiopia

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Cinegoers in Ethiopia are being treated to a festival of 14 Bollywood films with two screenings a day including hits like Sholay and 3 Idiots. Screened at The National Theatre in downtown Addis Ababa, the Indian Film Festival’s catchline is “Come, fall in love with the magic of Bollywood.”

The event began with a screening of 3 Idiots on May 20. Apparently, the film resonated well with Ethiopians as it tells the tale of a failing education system.

“I just loved it. We could identify with the story as everybody has a stake in the education system. The music was great,” said high school teacher, Mathew Tadesse.

Some remembered having Indian teachers and credit their love for Indian music and dance to their childhood days.

The screening of the 1975 action thriller, Sholay, caused a mini stampede when it was screened at the 1,200-capicity hall according to Navdeep Suri, joint secretary in charge of public diplomacy division in India’s external affairs ministry.

Says student, Ellene Medhin, “I loved the dialogues and dishum-dishum (fighting).” The 20-year-old has apparently been an avid Bollywood fan since her teens.

The selection of films shown at the festival include titles like Taare Zameen Par, Iqbal, Gadar, Koi Mil Gaya, Yaadein and Paheli. The 3-hour song and dance films are proving to be as popular as action thrillers amongst the nation.

Bollywood films and music have swept over the entire African continent where megastars like Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan have proven to be just as popular.

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