Raj Kapoor still rules Russian minds

Moscow: The first week of May saw Russians, their youth, in particular, connecting once again to the Raj Kapoor legacy and their love for Indian films. 102 Not Out, featuring Rishi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan, which released on 4 May in Moscow and other Russian cities, is doing better than its opening business in other parts of the world including India.

102 Not Out is being promoted in Russia in a manner as though Rishi Kapoor were its protagonist as the Kapoor family is a bigger draw for the Russian audience. “Raj Kapoor was legend in our country,” said Svetlana Tulasi. Rishi Kapoor is the second son of Raj Kapoor, who enjoyed a huge following in Russia with his films Mera Naam Joker, Shree 420 and other hits of his era.

In the last three years, many Indian films have been released in Russian cities. Anushka Sharma starrer Pari, which is running in multiplexes, has already earned one million Russian Rubles and is still doing well at the box office.

Svetlana Tulasi, who is a trained classical Kathak dancer and choreographer, works for Indian Films Russia, a Russian company, which distributes Indian movies in Russian cinemas and Russian films in India.

Svetlana Tulasi

Tulasi, who learned Kathak from Russian guru Ekaterina Selyorstova, has also appeared in a dance scene in Imtiaz Ali’s film Tamasha. Her father was an Indian and mother a Russian. She is presently handling three projects to promote India-Russia cultural cooperation with the joint effort of Central Park Russia along with Aeros International and Yash Raj Films, where Russian and Indian actors and crew will shoot in India as well as in Moscow.

“Three movies — a love story, a fantasy film and an action flick — will be produced and released by the next year,” said Tulasi, who is also the winner of reality TV show ‘Russia’s Got Talent’ on Channel 1, Russia.

As many as three trained Kathak dancers are running dance schools in Moscow. Tarang Dance School is run by an Indian-origin Ashwani Nigam, while the Ra Dance company is run by Natalia Radenskaya, a Russian citizen.

To promote Indian culture in Russia, India Day will be celebrated this year also — the fifth year in a row. This year the event will be held on 10-12 August. A month later, Astrakhan regions in Russia — a project of Gujarat government in partnership with Ministry of Culture in Russia, Indian Embassy Russia and SITA, a non-profit organisation run by Moscow based Indian Sammy Kotwani — will take place in September.

In December, Indian Film Festival will be organised in Moscow in Russia where Bollywood actor Varun Dhawan will be the chief guest. Interestingly, Russia has a dedicated television channel named Bollywood, which beams 24-hour Indian films and songs to Russian households.

Amit Kumar

By Amit Kumar

This consulting editor of Sirf News is a senior journalist with more than 20 years of experience in reporting and editing, has worked with Hindusthan Samachar (news agency), Mail Today, Hindustan Times, Mid-Day, etc