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Bollywood in New York

July 9, 2011

In an effort to expose some of my New York acquaintances to the wonderful world of Bollywood, I decided to make a list of some of the songs which featured their own bloody city. It is not meant to be an introduction to actual Bollywood, as that is a whole different conversation, and frankly beyond me (FilmiGirl’s Bollywood For Beginners Guide is Excellent, if someone is interested)

Occidentalism Alert!

Note: I am not considering any South Indian movies in this, because I don’t know about it (I know for sure that some parts of the infamous 7 wonders song from Jeans was shot in NYC, as well as some sequences from VTV)

Kal Ho Na Ho from Kal Ho Na Ho (2003)

Location: Brooklyn Bridge; DUMBO/Promenade, Brooklyn; Central Park, Manhattan;

Actor: Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Saif Ali Khan

Meh; Though its a typical Karan Johar (not my favourite film maker) emotional drabby affair. Though, I kind of like the song and video! Thats all I can say.

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Pretty Woman from Kal Ho Na Ho (2003)

Location: Purportedly some Queens Neighbourhoody Neighbourhood

Actors: Shah Rukh Khan, Priety Zinta, Jaya Bachchan

YES! ITS AN INDIAN REMAKE OF “PRETTY WOMAN”, AND ITS FUCKING CRAZY! AND YES! THATS WHAT INDIANS THINK HAPPENS IN THE STATEN ISLAND NEIGHBOURHOODS! SISTAHS SINGING CHOIRS IN THE STREET! FUHGEDABOUTIT! CALL THE FUCKING COPS!

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Hey Shona from Tara Rum Pum (2007)

Location: Times Square, Madison Ave, Seaport, NYC; Liberty Park, NJ

Actors: Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukherjee

With this one they went all out to capture the “essence” of two lovers, totally in love with each other, totally aloof of their surroundings. So they managed to shoot in a completely deserted Times Square, a completely deserted Madison Ave et al., but it can be clearly seen from the song that the movie was completely shit! 

From the same movie, there is another song, which is supposed to be some Manhattan back alley bloc party (shot in a Mumbai studio ofcourse). Imagine the shock when I, as a Fresh-Off Boat person, went out and look for these parties, late at night! Things were more rapey than I thought.

But come on!!! CHICHA! CHICHA! YOU’RE MY CHICHA GIRL!

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Tumhi Dekho Na from Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna (2006) (otherwise known as “oh look everyone is wearing matching clothers” song)

Locations: Philly’s 30th Street Station (SEPTA gave that away), Liberty National Park (NJ), Columbia University (I think)

Actors: Shah Rukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee

Awww! Everybody is looking so pretty! The song is a culmination of three hours of emotional see-saw, and, apart from being a obvious and much needed relief from the drama, also meant to show some colour-coordinated harmony in their lives after year of agony and heartbreak. Everybody looks so mellow and pretty!

The same movie also had another partially NY shot song, Mitwa

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Ajnabi Shehar from Jaan-e-Mann (2006)

Locations: Central Park, Seaport, NYC

Actors: Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, Priety Zinta

I like Sirish Kunder work, and even though this was his debut directoral venture, It was a very nice movie (from what I remember). I have to rewatch the film but from the vague memories I have, it was nice. Heres a nice review of the film, by a New Yorker,and apparently the city incorporate some nice Brooklyn Heights neighborhood locales. Though the song sticks to the staple Seaport and Central Park locations.

Here’s another movie from the song, which also well shot, I reckon. Sau Dard

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Dil Gira Dafatan from Delhi-6 (2009)

Locations: Old Delhi – Times Square mashup

Actors: Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor
One of the most interesting song sequences to come out of Bollywood, in recent times, I reckon (and it took some time to grow on me, and currently I am going through the same phase somehow). The song/video tries to explore the psychological transformation of a American-born Indian who has moved back to his Old Delhi family home. This video shows how the notion of “home” is in a flux, especially when it involves completely different cultures, both of them which are equally close to one’s heart. LOVE IT!
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Hai Junoon from New York (2009)
Locations: Liberty National Park (NJ), random NYC touristy spots
Actors: John Abraham, Katrina Kaif, Neil Nitin Mukesh
A mediocre song from a seemingly-more-mediocre-since-the-last-viewing “New York” essentially explores the burgeoning friendship between three Muslim, but secular, students from “University of New York” in a pre-9/11 world. Yes, things go a bit pear-shaped in Act 2.
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Aas Paas Khuda from Anjaana Anjaani (2010)

Actors: Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra

Locations: Manhattan Bridge, and other random NYC locations

Meh! Though I totally adore Ranbir Kapoor normally…. But one of the reasons I liked the movie was the view from Priyanka Chopra’s Brookyln Apartment is to die for! How could she afford that on a waitress “salary”!!! Happy Endings? But Ranbir Kapoor!!!

And this next one almost didn’t make the list, but my unabashed Ranbir Kapoor fandom made me put it in it. He is so adorable! Ranbir Kapoor in a BUNNY SUIT!

Any lesser-adorable-being would have ruined this thing, but not Ranbir!

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Jo Bole So Nihal from Jo Bole So Nihal (2005)

Actors: THE DEOL! THE SUNNY DEOL!

Location: Does it even matter! Sunny Deol is being Sunny Deol in NYC

Sunny Deol is like Chuck Norris multiplied by 10 or something. He took on the Pakistani army in Gadar (2000), and manages to fight off an entire nation and gets his girl back! “Fuck off Pakistan”, he said, and then he is taking on the whitey (presumably). In this (presumably) uber-Punjabi/Sikh-Patriotic-Jingoistic movie, he takes on The Man (Presumably) who did him wrong (presumably). Song is horrible, and THERE ARE HOBOS! YES! HOBOS! YAY!  BE FUCKING AFRAID OF UR CABBIES, NYC, BECAUSE THEY MIGHT BE SUNNY DEOL IN DISGUISE!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2011 9:04 am

    Great stuff. Also, you may have forgotten this but we saw Jo Bole So Nihaal on the Wagah bus. At superloud volume.

    • July 9, 2011 3:46 pm

      YES INDEED! And it was the only reference I had about the movie, otherwise I wouldn’t have known about its’ existence. Good times, ay!

  2. Sami saayer permalink
    July 9, 2011 1:14 pm

    I went to see that apartment but priyanka chop doesn’t live there. It was all a hoax. She owes many happy endings to many people.

    • July 9, 2011 3:48 pm

      Im sure that studio apartment is worth atleast 2000$ rent, not to mention all the “khap” to get one of those! Haye Priyanka! Y U NO WANT TO LIVE?

  3. July 24, 2011 9:35 pm

    I looooove KHNH, Pretty Woman and Dil Gira Dafatan.
    Well, KANK is… “so pretty”. But ok.
    I absolutely want to go to New York. Every time my dad asks me “So, where do you want to go this holiday?”, I answer “NEW YORK!”.
    … Why do parents never listen to their children?

  4. July 15, 2013 5:51 am

    Know the shooting locations of the Bollywood movies at http://www.tellmethelocations.com

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