Paris? Hamburg? Beirut? Who Cares … It’s Bollywood!!!
This is the opening song of the movie „An Evening in Paris“ (1967) … please watch it, and enjoy the authentic depiction of Paris by night (runs until time code 2:20):
You watched it? Okay. Now, allow me to elaborate for a second.
I became aware of this masterpiece during an extended summer weekend in Paris last year. From Charles de Gaulle airport, I took a train to the station Gare du Nord. In order to get a feel for the city which I hadn’t visited for quite a while, I walked around Gare du Nord … and ended up in an Indian area at Rue FBG Saint Denis.
One of the DVD shops sold Bollywood movies for €1 each. I bought four, including „An Evening in Paris“ which appealed to me just because of the title. The same night, I watched the above opening sequence … which I found hilarious.
For the following reasons: Shammi Kapoor (who mimicks vocals by Mohd. Rafi) performs the title song on Reeperbahn, in the middle of Hamburg/Germany’s red-light district. You even catch a glimpse of the world-famous Moulin Rouge – although its smaller Hamburg version is actually a gambling hall (Spielsalon).
You keep seeing local ladies prancing around with Kapoor. They look as if they don’t know what happened to them – they probably were talked into performing in the movie right on location.
Shammi Kapoor is an unlikely romantic lead. His role is best described in the Hong Kong Cinema blog: “The first time you see Shammi Kapoor in a film you may likely wonder if this fellow has just wandered in accidentally and nobody noticed. This is the leading romantic man of the film? His stomach slightly hanging over his belt, his often disheveled hair lying like an unkempt birds nest upon his head and a fleshy unformed face that at first glance has the look and personality of a clump of dough.”
The movie – which was partly shot at another Paris substitute (Beirut/Lebanon) and which is highly absurd even by Bollywood standards – still is fun to watch (if you can get it at a similarly decent rate as I did).
The movie’s soundtrack is available at my favorite MP3 dealer emusic:
„An Evening In Paris“, by Asha Bhosle, Chorus, Mohd. Rafi
(Here are two reviews I wrote about emusic, in English and German.)
Additional videos from the movie:
„Leja Leja Mera Dil“ (Great song & dance number!)
„Akele Akele“ (Flirting on a gondola lift in snowy mountains)
„Raat Ke Humsafar“ (Singing in the rain)
„Deewane Ka Naam“ (Seems to actually take place in Paris)