Bollywood in Holland!

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Kailash Kher, Sonu Nigam, Atif Aslam, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Shreya Goshal. They all have on thing in common in 2010. Wondering what that is? Well, they have all performed in The Netherlands this year. The Netherlands or Holland is a small country in North-Europe, where the people speak Dutch and many times are referred to as the Dutch. It’s almost invisible on the map, but 2010 has been the best year for this country in terms of entertainment from Bollywood. This small country has seen so many outstanding and big name concerts in just 2010 and they are still counting. The year isn’t over yet.

Rising Popularity
In the last couple of years Bollywood has gained much more popularity in Holland. The films are played at regular theatres, Bollywood gets a mention in Dutch magazines, and several festivals bring in Bollywood entertainment. Not only is it getting bigger and better, Bollywood is getting noticed outside the Indian community as well. Earlier it was Turkish, Moroccan, Afghani and Pakistani people who were interested, but now the Dutch community is also noticing its glitter and glamour. A friend of mine is a dance teacher and she gives a class in Bollywood dancing, and the best part for her; all her students are Dutch people. “They really enjoy Bollywood dancing. They like the movements, the expressions. When I started this class, I had never expected this kind of response from the Dutch Community.”

One of the reasons for this rise in interest is because the movie Slumdog Millionaire was the big winner at the Oscars. “Slumdog Millionaire may not have been an Indian film, but it made India popular in Holland”, said Zhunaysha Gajadhar.

Movies shot in Holland
Several Indian movies contain scenes or songs, which have been shot in Holland. You probably know the songs ‘Bhanwre Ne Khilaya Phool Phool’ from Prem Rog and ‘Dekha Ek Khwab’ from Silsila. These have been shot in the tulip fields of Holland. The cast and crew of Hello Brother, starring Salman Khan and Rani Mukerjee, went to the same fields for the song ‘Teri Chunariya Dil Le Gayi’. And in 2004, Hum Tum was shot in Amsterdam. More recently you could see Holland in the video of the Imran Khan hit song ‘Amplifier’. Recently an Indian delegation was invited to Holland to look at shooting locations and studios. One of the directors who came along was Rahul Dholakia. You can read an interview with him soon.

Even Dutch film production companies are now looking at India and want to work on formats and films. Dutch production houses like Endemol have already made their mark in India with tv-shows as Indian Idol. Now others want to enjoy the same success.

The shows
In the 90’s, Holland would only have one or two shows a year, which mostly had big movie stars, who would come and perform. Singers were rarely seen. However, in the last seven to eight years, Holland has seen rising and shifting focus from movie stars to singers. 2010 has been the most entertaining year ever for this country.

The year kicked off with Kailash Kher giving an amazing performance in The Hague in February, which was SRO(standing room only). He was followed by Sonu Nigam, who came only two weeks later and again the show was sold out. Nigam was followed by Atif Aslam who came for an Easter party. Then Rahat Fateh Ali Khan paid a visit to The Hague. He was suppose to be in Holland for only one concert, but so many people were so eager to see him that the organizers had to arrange for a second show the next day. Both shows were completely sold out. Atif Aslam returned within two months to entertain the Dutch audience, this time in the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam. And for the lovers of yesteryears music, Usha Mangeshar and Amit Kumar came along for a special show. And just two weeks ago Shreya Goshal visited Holland. And the year isn’t over yet.

Holland is expecting actors Shah Rukh Khan, Arjun Rampal and Dino Morea in November. Then there is Sunidhi Chauhan coming on the 6th of November and in December Adnan Sami will visit Holland for the umpteenth time.

Expectations are huge
It’s a big thing for such a relatively small country to bring in such huge stars and especially one after the other. “It’s not easy to bring the stars to a small country called Holland,” says Soleiman Tsjardiwal from Cufax Entertainment. “It is difficult. They want to know everything. From what you have in mind as marketing strategy to how many people are coming to see the show?” In London or any place in America, it’s easy to get around 50,000 people who will visit a concert, but in Holland the maximum is around 10,000 in a huge auditorium. “People don’t realize what goes on behind the scenes. They have huge expectations, so when the public is demanding, one has to deliver.”

According to Tsjardiwal, after 2000 a lot has changed in the Bollywood scene. “The stars are making more money, are paying more attention to details and professionalism. They want to give a full entertainment to their audience.”

Cufax Entertainment had organized the Sonu Nigam concert in February. The expectations were huge with the most popular singer from India coming to Holland. “People always expect more from a Sonu Niigaam concert. He represents quality and expects the same from the organizers.” Cufax got a lot of good comments after the concert from the public as well as Sonu Niigaam. “It was one of the few which was organized in a proper way and we hope to continue and even better ourselves with the next shows.” Now with Sonu Niigaam behind him, he has begun to focus on Sunidhi Chauhan, who will be performing on the 6th of November. “Here the expectations are also rising. People had a good time with the Sonu Niigaam show, so they are hoping for the same here.”

Ticket prices can go up to 500 dollar
One of the things the organizers changed this time is the price of the tickets. The price of a ticket is not only a problem in Holland, but all over the world. “Sometimes organizers start charging $500 for some VIP arrangement, which turns out to be a quick hand shake and a picture”, says Ritika. She thinks it’s ridiculous.

The prices for tickets used to be very high, especially when the show has big names, but when your audience is growing you cannot afford to charge the same prices. The usual ticket prices now start at 30/35 Euro’s and the expensive ones are around 100 euro’s, sometimes even less.

For Chauhan, Cufax Entertainment decided on another approach: the same price for everyone and the audience will be standing in front of the stage, just like with every other concert of an artist from the West. Tsjardiwal explained: “Sunidhi told us of a great experience she had at a concert where everyone was standing and they were dancing and having fun. She wanted to see that here. That is why we decided on one price for all, and we will have no seats.” The price of tickets has been rising, but Tsjardiwal thinks it is better to keep the prices low, because there are a lot of people who want to visit a concert and by keeping the prices at an all time high, one is shutting out a large group.

It looks like this small country has finally joined in on the Bollyaction that has been going on for years in America and England and the fans here are ecstatic! We will all have to watch and watch to see what happens next!

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