Indonesian actress Christine Hakim, who grew up seeing Shammi Kapoor films and wants to make a movie with Indian filmmaker Ketan Mehta, says Bollywood films and music are very popular in her country.
"A lot of Bollywood content is shown on TV in Indonesia. Bollywood existed in my country even before I was born. I remember seeing Shammi Kapoor's Dil deke dekho as a school student," Christine said, breaking into the 1959 song.
She is in the national capital to head the jury for the Asian-Arab section of the ongoing 10th Osian's-Cinefan Film Festival. Four of the versatile actress' films are also being showcased at the July 10-20 gala.
"The best part about being at a film festival is that you can watch films from all over the world, which isn't quite possible sitting in one's own country. I am really having fun in India," Christine told IANS.
Christine, 52, who has acted in over 30 Indonesian films and many television serials, was given the Jawaharlal Nehru Award by the Indian government in 1993. She wants to continue her association with India and is in talks with Mehta for a collaborative venture.
"Ketan and I were talking about how we can do something together on a film and, who knows, we might have a chance," she said.
Christine, a six-time recipient of Indonesia's prestigious Piala Citra award for best actress, laments the fact that American films are more popular in her country than movies produced by the domestic film industry.
"Towards the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, American films started taking over Indonesian films and that led to a decrease in the number of people who wanted to watch our films.
"All that people want to watch in Indonesia is commercial American films and so they are not even going to cinema halls to watch Indonesian films," she said.
Christine says she feels at home in India due to its cultural similarity with Indonesia.
"I really admire Indian culture. It is so multi-ethnic, the textiles are so similar to those in Indonesia and so is the music and fashion. It is strange how familiar everything here seems to me even though my own country is far away," she said.
"This is my first trip to India even though I had been longing to come here for many years. But I don't think I will be able to see the whole country as I am primarily here for work. I hope that I can go to Agra and see the Taj Mahal at least. I want to go shopping as well. But all that only if time permits."