The Marrakech International Film Festival wrapped up its twelfth year a couple of days ago.This year the main theme was a celebration of one hundred years of Hindi film making, and while it may seem a bit unusual to be celebrating Indian films in Morocco, it’s not that strange really because Bollywood blockbusters and Egyptian films have absolutely huge audiences here, far more than any other. Unfortunately, none of the all-dancing, all-singing Hindi films won the main prizes.
|Dr. Amin Jafaari (Ali Suliman) in The Attack|
The Gold Star went to a controversial Lebanese movie called ‘The Attack’ and two of the other main prizes were won by ‘The Hijacking’, a Danish film.
But that didn’t mean that there wasn’t plenty of crowd pleasers for the audience in Jmaa el Fna, where the Festival erects an enormous screen for public viewings. Bollywood “demigod and prince charming”, Shah Rukh Khan, whipped thousands of people into a frenzy when he danced to the tunes of movie songs before a preview of his latest film, “Jab Tak Hain Jaan” (Till My Last Breath).
Morocco has had a film industry since the very earliest days of the hand-cranked camera, but despite having had scenes from films such as Lawrence of Arabia, Gladiator, Kundun and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen shot at Morocco’s ‘cine city’ at Ouarzaztae, I’m not sure you could say it has become ‘the world’s second film-making destination after Hollywood’, as French TV Channel France 3 has said. That probably won’t go down well in Mumbai, or Bombay as we used to call it, where most of the big Bollywood hits are made.
This story first appeared at Villa Dinari.