I am literally a Mumbaikar and a New Yorker. A New Yorker because I live in New York; a Mumbai-kar because I come from Mumbai (the suffix “kar” is used to denote the place you came from).
At heart and in spirit, I belong to both Mumbai and New York. Living in Manhattan is just like living in Mumbai, especially South Mumbai, where I grew up.
My old friends from Mumbai, Ram and Meena Prabhoo, are world travelers. From South Africa to Japan, from Alaska to Australia, they have seen the world. They also travel to do surgeries for the poor who live in rural areas. As I write this, they are getting ready for a trip to rural Cambodia for this purpose.
I used to tell Ram and Meena that they need to come and stay in New York City and look for hotels in manhattan to really experience it; that visiting New York City sites while staying in New Jersey is being a tourist and not a Rasik. Finally, last year, they relented and visited us for a week in New York City.
They loved Manhattan. Not a single night, did they come home until well past midnight. Ram and Meena are true Mumbaikers (“e” because they live in Mumbai) and they fell in love with New York City.
Their experience is equally true of Mumbai-kars who have lived in non-NYC America for many years. Arun and Surekha are old friends from Mumbai who lived in suburban America for over 30 years until they retired. They chose to retire in Manhattan and they love it. NYC has everything they like and desire; culture from all parts of the world; music; wonderful cuisine; think-tanks and non-profit organizations.
I hope you now understand why Bollywood loves New York City. Bollywood is inherently Mumbai, both physically and in spirit. So, New York City is their second home. This is why Bollywood takes a celebratory view of living in Manhattan.
Rachel Saltz of the New York Times writes “It can be disconcerting to see New York reflected in a Bollywood looking glass.” For me, that looking glass is refreshing and makes me love NYC even more. When Bollywood looks at New York, it does not care to see the problems or the hassles. Being Mumbaikers, Bollywood knows all that. But, Bollywood is able to see the essence or the “Ras” of Manhattan and they express this Ras better than any one else.
Our story on May 31 (125th Anniversary of Manhattan’s Brooklyn Bridge – Celebration Bollywood Style) featured one song that shows the Brooklyn Bridge and its surroundings in a beautiful way. Our next story features a song which shows Park Avenue, Times Square, Downtown in a way you have not seen before.
Below are a couple of songs that showcase love in Manhattan.
(“Ajanabi Shahar Hai” from Jaan-e-Mann)
(Central Park, South Side Seaport)
(“Tumhi Dekho Na” from Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna)
(Columbia University, Midtown East)
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