04 May, 2006

Salaam-Namaste

Mention George Clooney or Jodie Foster here, and very few would know them; should they walk in any of the streets in Mukalla, very few people, if any, would recognize them. But mention Amitabh Bachchan , Shah Roukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Ayishwarya Rai, Manisha Koirala and many others - and almost all of those who watch movies here, the young in particular, would know all or a number of them. Should Amitabh or Shah Roukh ever land in Mukalla, they would need security personnel, for them to be left alone. Not even the leading Arab stars have such adulation here. Perhaps, only: Adel Imam.

Indian movies have a BIG following here! Really huge. And so is Indian music. Because of Hadhramout's close proximity to India and many from here having immigrated to India; there is a strong Indian influence in Hadhrami music, architecture and cuisine. Local Hadhrami music, can sound very Indian at times. Many buildings in Mukalla and other parts of Hadhramout, have a strong Indian influence in their design. Like Indians, Hadhramis love - curry, spiced foods and sweets.

But I believe, it is due to India having many similar customs to Hadhramout, that has made Indian films to be so preferred: strong family ties, marriage procedures, the home - as portrayed in Indian films, can easily be related to people here. As for Indian music, both classical and contemporary, one has to agree: Indian music is great! Just great!