SRK, Sanjay Khan, Asha Bhosle, Zeenat Aman feature in controversial French-Moroccan film

It’s reassuring to see that ‘Bollywood’ and its formulistic songs, dances and drama are being integrated into cinema across the world

Repesentative image
Repesentative image

Subhash K Jha

Bollywood, and its notorious kitschy reputation, has now found a place in foreign cinema. Much Loved, a highly controversial, raw guttural and visceral French-Moroccan film directed by Nabil Ayouch, makes a very affectionate and prominent reference to 4 prominent Bollywood superstars.

The film is about four prostitutes living and lusting their way through Marrakesh’s leaden nights. And the sequence, a homage to Bollywood, features the four whore-pals Loubna Abidar as Noha, Asmaa Lazrak as Randa, Asmaa Lazrak as Randa, Halima Karaouane as Soukaina and Sara Elmhamdi Elalaoui as Hlima, cosying up in bed watching a Hindi film on a laptop.

We don’t see which Hindi film they are watching. But we can hear the the sound of Asha Bhosle singing Bheega badan jalne laga mausam badalne laga, an R D Burman composition from Sanjay Khan’s 1980 film Abdullah, filmed on Zeenat Aman bathing under a waterfall. The four protagonists of Much Loved are obviously enjoying the film, laughing and clapping. The eldest of the quartet Noha comments, “If that hottie (meaning Sanjay Khan) agreed I’d do it with him for free.”

Then the ladies go on to make appreciative noises about Shah Rukh Khan.

In another recent film The Half Of It, Mohit Suri’s Ek Villain plays an important in Chinese-American director Alice Wu’s film. In the film the 17-year old Chinese American protagonist Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) and her pal Paul (Daniel Diemer) watch Siddharth Malhotra run after the train carrying a sobbing Shradha Kapoor away in Ek Villain. At the end of the film they enact the same situation though not as parody but an affirmation that life often imitates art.

It’s reassuring to see that ‘Bollywood’ and its formulistic songs dances and drama are being integrated into cinema across the world.

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