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Bollywood influences reach Moroccan shores

Filmmaking in Morocco, the North African nation, has moved out of the shadow of France, its former colonisers, says acclaimed Moroccan filmmaker Ahmed Boulane but admits they are influenced by Bollywood to some extent and are big fans of Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan.

‘We were introduced to cinema by the French but now we have moved away from their influence. Our movies have an identity of their own with distinct Moroccan flavour,’ said Boulane.

Boulane admits Moroccan films are influenced by Bollywood movies to some extent, but their content is more realistic and deal with socially and politically relevant issues.

‘Bollywood movies are so melodramatic, but our movies project more on socially and politically relevant matters. Of course, we do get influenced by Indian movies but our films are more realistic, more pertinent,’ Boulane said.

But he quickly added: ‘People back home just love Indian, especially Bollywood, movies. Amitabh (Bachchan) and Shah Rukh (Khan) are as popular in Morocco as they are in India.’

Boulane was here to participate in the 18th Kolkata International Film Festival with his latest film, Le Retour du Fils (Return of the Son), about a young man, who after being abducted by his French mother 15 years ago, returns to Morocco to meet his father.

Talking about the cinema from his continent — Africa — Boulane said the industry had been worst hit by piracy.

‘Within a few days of its release, pirated copies of a film are freely available in the market,’ he said.

He said African cinema had gradually started to come of age and was getting noticed by global audience. ‘But piracy is really hitting us hard, especially where we lack the most — funds,’ said Boulane.

‘Piracy, however, is doing one good thing. It is making African cinema popular globally! That does not mean I support it. It is in fact slowly killing our movie-making,’ he said.
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