On the last day of his three-day visit to India, US President Barack Obama packed in a filmy punch when he addressed the audience in Delhi’s Sri Fort auditorium on Tuesday. Addressing the gathering at this townhall-style event, he struck a chord with the youth when he delivered the iconic dialogue from the 1995 blockbuster, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge,saying, “Senorita, bade, bade desho mein.. You know what I mean". And that evoked quite an applause from the university students and activists who comprised the gathering at the do.
He was referring to his first visit to India in 2010, when he said, “Last celebration here, we celebrated festival of lights in Mumbai. We danced with some children. Unfortunately, we were not able to schedule any dancing in this visit." That's where he sprinkled some of the Senorita spice that set the flavour for the rest of the morning.
Watch: Obama's 'Senorita, bade bade deshon mein..' moment at Siri Fort
And that’s not all. One of the most popular, and probably the most powerful, world leaders exhibited that he had done his homework right. Besides using words like Namaste and Dhanyawaad, he also made a point about gender and religion equality using examples of Indian icons such as actor Shah Rukh Khan and athletes Milkha Singh and Mary Kom. “Every Indian should celebrate the success of Shah Rukh Khan, Mary Kom, Milkha Singh equally, not by the colour of skin, or worship,” he said.
Shortly after, SRK tweeted, “Proud 2 b part of the gender & religion equality speech of Pres. Obama. Sad he couldn't do the Bhangra...next time Chaiyya Chaiyya for sure (sic).”
And Olympian pugilist Mary Kom, who is “a big fan of the great Obama”, called it “a great moment”. An excited Mary Kom told us, “I really can’t believe it. It’s like a dream. I am really thankful to our PM Modi and Obama for acknowledging my hard work and achievements. I am a proud Indian.”
The Flying Sikh, Milkha Singh, said, “Mujhe iss baat ki khushi hai ki duniya ki itni badi hasti ne mera naam liya. Meri story Obama aur Modi se kafi milti hai, we are all from poor families but achieved what we did because of our hard work and will power.”
The event ended on a filmy as well. The song Mitwa o Mitwa from the 2001 film Lagaan was played at the event while Obama and wife Michelle Obama posed for photographs. Singer Udit Narayan, who has sung the song, said, “It’s a great moment for me. This very song got me my first National Award and this song was played at the prestigious ceremony where the most powerful world leader was present. The lyrics, penned by Javed Akhtar, and the music, composed by AR Rahman, are very meaningful. I have been getting calls about the song. I was watching the TV and felt great to hear the song. Interestingly, many friends called up saying, ‘watch TV, your song is being played.”
The film’s director, Ashutosh Gowariker, said, “I’m shooting in Bhuj, so I actually just learned about the song being played there. To me, Mitwa is a song that embodies the spirit of equality, friendship and coming together, it’s nice to know that it fit the occasion... And that the film and its songs continue to live on after more than a decade of the release.”