I am an NRI, translated into: no-real Indian.  I follow Indian cinema in my quest to find only one million original films before humanity as we know it disappears.  I will use the term Indian cinema sparingly because I only have access to Hindi films, not Malayalam, Punjabi, Kashmiri, Konkani, Nepali, Khasi, Dogri, Garo and other languages.

I met a friend in Rosebank the other day and she told me she had just returned from a holiday in Dubai.  Dubai!  It seems so far way.  I was forced to leave South Africa by political circumstances.  I went to school and travelled extensively abroad that is why travelling is no longer attractive for me.
It’s wonderful being home, soaking in the sun, eavesdropping on people’s conversations in the market and restaurants and trying to convince traffic cops in African languages that I was not speeding.

Dubai!  I thought people went there to work!  Well!  Let’s see what movies I have on the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  Let’s start with Maine Pyar Kiya, directed by Soraaj Barjatya.  Kishen (Rajiv Verma) and Karan (Alok Nath) are childhood friends who grew up together in their village. 

Kishen goes to Delhi and becomes a successful businessman.  He has one son Prem played by Salman Khan.  Years later, Karan leaves his daughter Suman (Bhagyashree) with Kishen and his wife (Reema Lagoo) when he goes to Dubai to work so that he can have enough money for Suman’s dowry.

I was surprised to see Dubai as a storyline in Maine Pyar Kiya because it is an old film.  I was under the wrong impression that Dubai is a recent thing.  Deevane Huye Paagal directed by Vikram Bhatt also has a Dubai connection.

SABC, the government-owned television channel in South Africa broadcasts Indian movies every Saturday.  I saw a movie about an Indian store owner in Dubai who wanted his employees to sleep with him.

The heroine said no.  I don’t remember the name of the film, but it shows that Indian filmmakers do stories about Indians anywhere in the world, including Dubai.

Nonqaba waka Msimang is the author of Sweetness the novel.


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