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Indian cinema played significant role in T&T culture—Moonilal
The promotion of culture, through song and dance, was always central to the Indian cinema, says Minister of Housing, Land and Marine Affairs Dr Roodal Moonilal. He said so at the Indian exhibition titled, Inheritance, Innovation and Continuity at the JFK Auditorium, UWI, St Augustine, on Saturday. The occasion was the 65th and 50th Independence anniversaries of India and T&T, respectively.
“The promotion of culture, through song and dance, was always central to Indian cinema...This provided a tangible base for the Indian community to practise and maintain Indian culture,” Moonilal said. “The cinematic representations stimulated the introduction of local programmes like Mastana Bahar which became a very popular TV series with an avid following,” he said.
He said impact of Indian playback singers like KL Saigal, Lata Mangeshar, Mohammed Rafi, Manna Dey, Kishore Kumar, among others, became household names and inspired the development of talent in T&T. The minister noted that Hemant Kumar, soon after Trinidad and Tobago's Independence, became one of the the first playback singers to visit the country.
“Word is that he agreed to come to a country where he was told there were Indians thirsty for exposure to Indian music, but extremely surprised to find that Indian culture was very much alive in T&T and Guyana. Over the years, we have had all the major top singers, up to recently Sonu Nagam.” He said films like, Har Har Mahadeo and Naafmani explored the religious themes and promoted the role of religion as they emphasised the majesty and powers of the Hindu deities, installing greater belief and respect for them.
Moonilal also spoke of the impact of the superstars like the late Rajesh Khanna, and later Amitabh Bacchan, Sharukh Khan and Salman Khan, and heroines like Vijayantimala, Asha Parekh, Hema Malini, Aishwariya Rai, Sushmita Sen, and Katrina Kaif, all of whom remain household names here. Indian movies have always had a special place among the Diaspora Indians, and nothing in today’s popular culture has been as pervasive as Indian movies.
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