September 15, 2006 13:04 IST
Brazilian business and tourist officials hope Hrithik Roshan [Images] will do for their country what he did for New Zealand [Images] among Indians and people who love Bollywood cinema.
In 2000, his debut film Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai was shot in New Zealand and became a megahit. Almost immediately, Indian tourists flocked to the country to see its scenic beauty.
Hrithik shot for Yash Chopra's [Images] Dhoom 2 [Images] on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro this year, and Brazil [Images] hopes for the same after-effects.
"Brazilians know that Bollywood is a big influence on the Indian masses," says Roberto Paranhos do Rio Branco, President, Camara De Comercio Brasil-India (the Indo-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce). "We can really know each other through films. We hope that after Dhoom 2, more Indian filmmakers will capture our beautiful country on the big screen."
"I am sure children have learnt about Brazil's Amazon forests in school," says do Rio Branco. "But no Indian film has captured this beautiful forest. There have been many documentaries made on the Amazon, but never a feature film. I think it would be wonderful if a Bollywood film is set in the Amazon forests. Indians would love the scenic beauty."
Dhoom 2 is the first major Hindi film to be shot on the beaches of Rio, a popular international tourist destination.
Brazil is committed to promoting Indo-Brazil business ties after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's [Images] three-day visit to Brasilia earlier this week. Brazil and India have signed an agreement to promote films and entertainment between the two countries.
The Brazilian film industry is in a bad state and not more than a dozen films are made every year. Brazilians look to Hollywood for their entertainment though Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles' City of God won an Oscar in 2005.
This reporter asked college student Thiago Melow whether he would like to watch Hindi films. "I know that Bollywood films are about songs and dances," he said. "I have never seen one. I am a big fan of Hollywood films though I don't understand English. I read the Portuguese subtitles and understand the film."
Do Rio Branco says Brazilian film festivals do not showcase Indian films. "We have signed agreements for the exchange of films but we want to show Indian films in festivals and theatres so that Brazilian people know more about Indian films," he says.
Adds R Vishwanathan, joint secretary (Latin America) at India's ministry of external affairs, "There are many beautiful locations in Latin America. There is a beautiful waterfall called Foz Do Iguacu on the borders of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. I would say it is more beautiful than the Niagara Falls but no one knows these things. If films are shot in Brazil, then we will have a better cultural exchange."