Packed audiences in the Chaplin Cinema, the island’s biggest, have secured the success of the Bollywood cinema festival in Havana this week. The jewel in the crown is Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire but the carefully chosen set of five movies also includes the triumphal Chak De India with Shahrukh Khan, the glamorous Dhoom 2 with Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai in one of her best roles, Abhishek Bachchan and Bipasha Basu, the wonderful Rani Mukherjee masterpiece Journey of a Woman / Laaga Chunari Mein Daag and the beautiful Kal Ho Naa Ho with Shahrukh Khan again, Preity Zinta and Saif Ali Khan. No wonder the cinema is bursting at the seams!
The festival follows on from a Cuban Film Festival held in Goa earlier this year. Cuba is very keen to attract Bollywood film-makers to the island and of course it has first-class shooting facilities and locations. “We are talking to some Bollywood names, asking them to shoot a movie in Cuba, but it will not be prudent to mention any name right now,” said Miguel Angel Ramirez Ramos, the Cuban ambassador to India.
The Cuban festival included the classics Death of a Bureaucrat with Salvador wood, Lucia with Adela Negra and From Sun to Salsa with entertainers Ruben Blades, Willie Colon and Celia Cruz. Sr Ramos said he enjoyed the visit to Goa. “This place has a Latin feel, the homes, the people, even the drive by the sea in Panaji reminds me distinctly of Havana,” he commented.