Entertainment Bollywood 07 Jan 2019 DESIgnated NRI fando ...

DESIgnated NRI fandom

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | IKYATHA YERASALA
Published Jan 7, 2019, 12:00 am IST
Updated Jan 7, 2019, 12:17 am IST
Indians living in the US and UK love a dose of local heroes and films.
A still from Andhadhun
 A still from Andhadhun

A crazy bunch of cinema buffs is standing in line wearing Rajinikanth masks and shouting Thailavaaaaa outside a cinema hall. Just another day in the life of a movie fan in India, you’d think? Not quite. There are Indians outside the country who are indulging in cinema fervour by doing “fan”atical activities like having fan meet-ups, organising first day first show meets, having special screenings etc of their favourite films or the movies of their most loved desi movie stars. Indian cinema aficionados in the US and UK are no less than desi film buffs when it comes to celebrating a film’s release with gusto. Whether it’s Ayushman’s Andhadhun or Yash’s KGF or the Rashmika-starrer Geethe Govindam or Telugu superstar Mahesh Babu’s latest hit, enthusiastic fans abroad make sure to get their dose of desiness every now and then.

Actress Shraddha Srinath has been in the US for movie premieres and she is thrilled at the response of the fans in the US, “I was there for the premiere of U-turn at NYIFF in May 2016, then for the US and Canada premieres of Operation Alamelamma in September 2017. The first time was extremely memorable as it was my debut. I was  asked for selfies  and people told me they had taken trains from over three hours away for it. The second was nice as well. I was more established, people knew me and came to watch the movie as it did well and they could meet me.”

 

Movie buff and software engineer Vatsala S Rajashekaraiah, who lives in San Jose, makes sure she watches most of the big Indian blockbusters on the first day. Her recent movie outing was KGF while her first film in the US was Baahubali part one. “I watch Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Hindi films here. I enjoyed watching Chowka and Sthree last year. We have a lot of Indian movies releasing in the US, and the recent ones I’ve watched are 2.0, Andhadhun, Taxiwala and Badhaai Ho,” she says.

SRK Universe, India’s largest Shah Rukh Khan fan club is one of those fan groups that organises special events during the release of their idol’s films. When Zero released last month, the UK branch of SRK Universe had a special screening with the media and a screening for fans too.

 

“We organise ‘First Day First Show’ screenings for all SRK films. Last year, in Wembley Park, London, we were closely working with YRF and Media House PR and Marketing Company, for the screening of Jab Tak Hain Jaan and DDLJ. The event was a big success with a large turnout who thoroughly enjoyed their day,” says Sunil, of SRK Universe UK. As for their US branch, they too have done a plethora of things to make sure that the SRK flavour is spread across the country. “My team initially met in 2014. Ever since then, we have met up each year for Shah Rukh Khan FDFS events — in Washington DC for Fan, including visits to his wax statue at Madame Tussaud’s, in Houston for Raees and in Detroit for Jab Harry Met Sejal. Our events include making buttons and posters to distribute to fans, cake-cutting and sharing the love of SRK. We have now become a family bonded by our love for our superstar,” says the admin of SRK Universe USA.

 

Deepthi Dhar is a Bengalurean who works in the US as a certified public accountant and catches Indian films as quickly as she can. “The latest film I saw was Simbaa and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Other films include Andhadhun, Badhai Ho, Manmarziyan and Gold in Hindi and 2.0 in Tamil. We also watch many Kannada and Telugu films regularly,” says Deepthi who wants to watch Kavaludaari, Charlie 777, Uri and Dear Comrade next.

Of the adulation stars receive, actress Shraddha adds, “Many would say that U-turn was a movie they watched in theatres after years. Nris settled outside for a long time still believed that Kannada cinema was all about rowdyism and violence but now they know it’s different. They look forward to our films releasing because it’s a social activity and gives them a chance to meet people from their community.”

 

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