23 November, 2020

Chocolate Dreamland

Switzerland is where Bollywood dreams are currently being spun

Chocolate Dreamland
The heroine of a recent Bollywood potboiler, Pehla Pehla Pyaar, ups and quits her opulent palace in Rajasthan and, like all self-respecting Hindi film heroines, heads for Mumbai in pursuit of true love. On the way, the lady stops over in the Swiss Alps for a music-laden, romantic interlude. Skewed geography? Maybe. But it's been a tried-and-tested route that many a Mumbai masala movie protagonist - Shammi Kapoor to Shahrukh Khan, Sharmila Tagore to Karishma Kapoor - has favoured ever since Vyjanthimala and Raj Kapoor pranced against Switzerland's stunning snow-covered peaks in Sangam (1964).

The reason for the Indian film industry's growing Swiss obsession is obvious: the rippling freshwater lakes, the emerald green meadows and the glistening snow-covered mountains of the country make for perfect on-screen enticements: they lend a natural patina to the work of Mumbai's cinematographers. Khandala is way too overexposed. Kashmir is still surrounded by a bit of a haze. So Switzerland is the place to be. In film after copycat Hindi film in recent times, Swiss sights and sounds...



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