Israel dances to Bolly tunes
Bollywood's pulsating music has begun to grip many young Israelis with parents from India.
Buoyed by the availability of Indian programmes on satellite television and enthralled by Bollywood music and shows such as Indian Idol and Nach Baliye, Israeli youths are taking a keen interest in film music and dance.
In cities with heavy Indian populations like Beersheba, Tel Aviv and Dimona, classes in Hindi film songs are being conducted.
"The youngsters are definitely showing high levels of interest in film music. Many even attend regular classes," said Jonathan Solomon, founder president of the Indian Jewish Federation.
"The 50,000-strong Indian Jews settled in Israel are perhaps the biggest fans of vintage Bollywood music. They associate these songs with fond memories they have of their time in India," he said.
Solomon, who returned from Israel earlier this month after a brief visit, saw Hodu Yada, an annual congregation of Israelis of Indian origin held in the southern Israeli city of Eilat.
Hodu Yada, which means "Thank you India" in Hebrew, is a three-day congregation usually organised in the early part of the year where Indian origin families meet and catch up on their personal lives and make merry.
"This time around 3,800 people attended the meet and the programme started with Bollywood cinematic dance performed by young Israeli Indians," Solomon said.
"The boys and girls are highly enthusiastic about the film music videos seen on TV although I do not know exactly how many of them are learning it," noted Solomon, who dreams of organising a concert in Israel some day.
Hodu Yada, Solomon said, had a very Indian atmosphere with several stalls selling snacks like bhel puri and pav bhaji. Music systems played the latest as well as vintage Bollywood songs.
The cinematic song and dance programme was followed by stand-up comedies and skits by look-alikes of Bollywood stars like Govinda that had the entire crowd in splits.
Alongside Hodu Yada an Indian film festival was going on in Israel that screened latest blockbusters like Apaharan and Mangal Pandey and also Marathi films like Vastupurush.
At Hodu Yada, legendary Bollywood singer Kishore Kumar's son Amit Kumar's orchestra had been invited to perform this time.
"People wore Indian costumes and jewellery. It did not seem like a foreign country when the young and old swayed alike to the tunes of Ye jo mohabbat hai, the classic Kishore Kumar song from the movie Kati Patang," Solomon said.
The programme was attended by the Indian envoy to Israel Arun Kumar Singh who concluded with the remark: "You can take an Indian out of India but you cannot take India out of an Indian."