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Glamour, glitz Indian style

India's glamorous Bollywood is increasingly attracting British media's attention, writes Nabanita Sircar.

india Updated: Mar 31, 2004 20:44 IST

I had written in my previous column that this year there will be a few Indian weddings to watch out for and had also expressed my fear that I may start sounding like an advert for a marriage bureau if I continued on the subject, but I am sorry I am doing it again. I couldn't possibly avoid noticing the interest the media had in the grand wedding in Lucknow recently. Of course, it was the weddings of the two sons of the Sahara boss Subrata Roy.

Bollywood, decadent glamour and glitz of Indians is increasingly catching the attention of the British media. The Sunday Times ran a three-fourth page spread on the weddings and the grandeur of the celebrations. Other papers preceded and followed with similar reports. I agree the 100-member amateur team of the University of Warwick Symphony Orchestra had enough to be elated about. For the young students in the orchestra it was a dream-come-true when they were invited to perform at a millionaire's wedding celebrations. So excited were they that they did not even charge a fee. Instead they were flown out to Lucknow in style and got the chance to perform for the Prime Minister of the world's largest democracy. After all the wedding was attended by India's who's who. In a way, it is nice that now India does not come across as a land of poverty and hunger but nevertheless, it was poignantly pointed out that "such grandeur jars in a country described by the United Nations as 'home to more hungry people than anywhere in the world'."

Sensational Sophie wows India

Yet, while still on this grand celebration, I must bring to notice that even our own London born-and-bred Sophie performed at the wedding. The London School of Economics graduate in European Politics and French has made quite a niche for herself in India. Her live performances, I am told, are hugely popular in India. Having embarked on a singing career in 1999 in the UK band Sansara with music director Biddu, Sophie has come a long way to become an MTV VJ in India. She has, in fact, taken over the

MTV Loveline

show from Malaika Arora, who, I am sure, most still remember, for her sexy dance number '



opposite Shah Rukh Khan in

Dil Se

. Sophie's latest album

Sophie and Dr Love

has done well on the charts and the young performer is now preparing for world tours. Good luck to the young talent.

Most British Asian artistes have realised that their destination for fame is Bollywood and many are already rushing towards India. Raghav Mathur, or just Raghav as he calls himself, from Canada is in London to make a spalsh, and may I sneakily add here, would love to try his luck as a Bollywood actor "if the part is right" for him. Following the big success of 'So Confused' Raghav has now released his new single 'Can't Get Enough', in the UK. The young singer may have a Canadian accent but he is fully aware that this country is the place for fusion music, bhangra and Asian hip-hop. It has a far more vibrant Asian music industry than the US.

Asians in the entertainment business are becoming increasingly important. Star TV and Star Plus, will no longer remain stand-alone channels but will become part of the Sky digital viewing package from March and in doing so, English subtitles are being introduced in all the serials, films and news bulletins on the two channels. Not just that, I believe the series Grease Monkeys is to return to BBC Three some time this year. The serial, not be watched with elders at home, has been re-commissioned. The earlier run of the series starred Archie Punjabi, now popular for her roles in Bend It Like Beckham and East is East and Indira Joshi of Kumar's at No 42.

Pathak matriarch Shantagauray Pathak

While we Indians are making our fair share of contribution to Britain's economy, arts, culture, cuisine et al, it is the recent family feud of the Pathak family, that sticks out like a sore thumb. The future of the multi-million pound Pataks business appears shaky following the fight being put up by Chitralekha Mehta and Anila Shastri, the two sisters of Kirit Pathak who along with his wife Meena Pathak got the business to where it is today.

Nevertheless, this case, which is becoming a case of washing dirty linen in public, is raising eyebrows about the Asian way of doing business, by pitting Hindu tradition against Western ways of business. I can tell you, most Asians are not enjoying this legal circus.

As Jamal Abdul Quayum, 33, who with his two brothers owns Taj Foods on Brick Lane, said that "Things like this can destroy a family, and it can destroy the business itself." He said such family feuds "are becoming more commonplace, because money talks. When people get big, they try to get a piece of the cake."

First Published: Feb 24, 2004 20:13 IST