In the Indian media, the Maldives can be a rage when Indian celebrities post their vacation, honeymoon or shooting pictures. This time, it is Katrina Kaif – one of India’s leading actresses – who is making the Maldives trend in India.
The 33-year-old star is here for a photo shoot by Harper’s Bazaar Brides India. and a selfie posted by her designer friend Manish Malhotra on Instagram is being shared widely.
Did you spot seaplanes in the background?
The picturesque Maldives has always been one of the top destinations to capture in camera for the Mumbai-based Bollywood industry.
Taking cue from Bollywood’s interest in the country, in 2010, the then tourism minister Toyyid Mohammad proposed turning one of the nation’s islands into shooting studios.
“We have already proposed that one of the islands could be turned into a studio to shoot movies,” Toyyid was quoted as saying in an Indian newspaper in 2010. Though, the plan never took off but Bollywood continued to shoot movies in the Maldives.
Here are five movies shot in exotic locations of the Maldives
Ek Villain was shot at Sea of Stars on Vaadhoo Island where the entire beach looks like starry night sky due to a natural phenomenon known as “bioluminescence”.
This Hritik Roshan starred movie was shot at the Sultan of Blues yatch.
Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya
Salman Khan who has a huge fan base in the Maldives as well shot his home-production Maine Pyar Kyun Kiya with Katrina Kaif at Coco Palm Resort. Sea Plane again!
Fight Club- Members Only
A song from the movie Fight Club – Members Only was shot at the Chaaya Lagoon Hakuraa Huraa in Meemu Atoll
This 1986 release starring Sunny Deol and Poonam Dhillon was shot at the Bandos Island Resort & Spa now known as Bandos Island.
The love between Bollywood and the Maldives is not one sided. While in mainstream media, the narrative begins and ends with sharing pictures of stars and movies being shot here, the love for Hindi movies, songs and even TV soaps among the Maldivians is fascinating.
Sometimes, this love also translates into a tool to protest against the alleged dictatorship in the country. Last year, some of the MPs played a song ‘Ye Andha Kanoon Hai’ (The law is blind) from 1983 drama starring legendary Amitabh Bachchan to protest against the state-controlled judiciary in the People’s Majlis.
Maldivians are also hooked to radio stations playing Hindi songs.
Even Maldivian Idol – an adaptation of popular British show Pop Idol which became a hit in its maiden season – also witnessed the love for Bollywood when the top three contestants sang a Hindi song with a popular Indian singer Abhijeet.
One can also spot Maldivians dancing on popular Hindi songs. In this video, Suneetha Ali is seen performing the iconic steps of Bollywood heartthrob Madhuri Dixit’s ‘Ek Do Teen’ at a function organised by Raajje TV.
— raajje.mv (@raajjemv) September 23, 2016
According to a report, not only Indian movies, the ‘saas-bahu’ sagas made by Ekta Kapoor are also popular among Maldivians, especially women.
Mohamed Salih Hassan, General Manager Operations and Project/Director for Adaaran luxury resorts said as quoted in the report, “Local people really like to watch Hindi movies and serials. Stars like Shahrukh, Aamir, Salman and Aishwarya are quite popular among them, including kids.”
The government-owned Olympus Cinema used to screen Hindi movies along with Dhivehi films even it had just a projector and a DVD player. Now, state broadcast network Television Maldives (TVM) screens Hindi movies to entertainment-hungry Maldivians. With home entertainment and cable TV, the love for Bollywood rose in the Maldives.