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A Hollywood parade

As Samba schools fought to win a coveted parade title in Brazil, it was Hollywood that ruled the gala.

art and culture Updated: Mar 09, 2011 02:29 IST

A Carnival parade paying Samba-fuelled tributes to Hollywood hits





Raiders of the Lost Ark

roused cheers Monday in Rio de Janeiro.

The colourful procession by the Unidos de Tijuca samba school wowed a crowd of 70,000 into Rios Sambodrome stadium from late Sunday, on the first night of the city’s spectacular annual parades. It was one of six shows put on in an all-night climax to Rios Carnival partying, which began late Friday and ends Wednesday this week.

The parades are a fierce competition between the Samba schools, with the winner feted like a triumphant football team. Unidos de Tijuco is the reigning parade champion, having carried off last years event with a pastiche of stage delights including Batman on skis and a Michael Jackson impersonator dancing on a float inhabited by aliens.

This year, the school was looking to outdo itself with its long bow to US blockbusters. Thus, in addition to the requisite dancing queens wearing little more than feathers — the school put its $5 million parade budget to innovative use. A roar went up from the crowd as the opening act came out: a group of ghouls modelled on

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

. Then, a mechanical shark burst out of a moving pool with a live boy in its mouth, in the style of


. Not even Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen (right), who played the goddess Venus in the parade put on by another school, won as much attention. Among those watching the gala was actor Pamela Anderson. “I think about this all the time. Its nice to see it live,” she said.