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 Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Marathi, Kannada, Gujarati and other languages.
Guzarish by Sanjay Leela Bhansali is one of my 2010 favourites. It’s a ballet of a film with leaps and landings and twittering on stage with those funny shoes! What are they called?
Guzarish has a graveyard scene, with a coffin and old graves with crosses. It didn’t seem right to me. What was missing? Ah! I expected a cremation, like most Indian films. I then remembered that they did say in the beginning of the film that it is about a magician in Goa.
Apparently Goa is part of India but with different ways of doing things because of the Portuguese influence. They came to Goa, took over the land established schools with their language, religion and everything else. Goa seems to be in India but not in India. Here are a few Goa films.
Bride and Prejudice- director Gurinder Chadha
Mrs. Bakshi played by Nadira Babbar, is married to Chaman Bakshi (Anupam Kher). She is trying to marry off her daughters Jaya, Lalita, Maya and Lakhi. Her priority is the eldest Jaya (Namrata Shirodkar) because she feels that if she can’t marry off the first one, chances of the three other daughters are very slim.
There’s a wedding in the beginning of the film and Jaya catches Balraj’s eye (Naveen Andrews). He is a wealthy barrister in the United Kingdom who has come to Amritsar for his friend’s wedding. He invites Jaya to Goa, their next stop after the wedding.
Chaman Bakshi says his daughter cannot go to Goa unaccompanied. His wife urges him to accept the invitation, “So that he can see her in a bikini,” she says. He agrees but sends his second daughter Lalita (Aishwarya Rai) as a chaperone.
Balraj came to the wedding with his friend William Darcy from the U.S. (Martin Henderson). He tells Lalita that he wants to invest in India. “You think this is India? You want to come to India but not see any Indians?”
Josh - director Mansoor Khan
Max (Shah Rukh Khan) and Shirley (Aishwarya Rai) are orphans. They don’t know that their father was the wealthy landowner from Portugal whose stature is in the Goa town square. He refused to marry their mother because he wanted to marry a Portuguese woman.
Max and Shirley live in Goa so she wears dresses and goes to a Catholic church. She wears swimming costumes like her friends. Shirley’s mother is not on the mantelpiece with garlands around her like in most Hindi films. Shirley visits her at the graveyard. Her wedding reminded me that she is in Goa because she is wearing a white wedding dress.
Bombay to Goa - director S. Ramanathan
In this 1972 film, Mala (Aruna irani) witnesses a murder committed by men who promised to make her a film star. She runs away and boards a bus. She only discovers when she is inside that the bus is going to Goa. The film has poolside scenes where women wearing swimming costumes swim and play in the hotel swimming pool, while men stare at them.
Guzarish did not concentrate on that. It is just a story about a magician who lost his magic.