trailer talk

‘Meri Pyaari Bindu’, like ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’, celebrates analogue love in the digital age

Nostalgia, audio cassette tapes and Ayushmann Khurrana return in Akshay Roy’s debut feature, which will be released on May 12.

Nostalgia is an indeterminate period in the distant past, but Yash Raj Films has been able to assign a precise year in their recent films. After its sleeper hit Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015), which was set in 1995 in Haridwar, the studio’s May 12 release, Meri Pyaari Bindu, begins in 1983 in Kolkata.

At the trailer launch on April 3 at the production company’s suburban office in Mumbai, debutant director Akshay Roy described his film as an ode to nostalgia. “There is a certain sense of nostalgia to it, a certain sense of love for music in it,” Roy said.

Roy has worked as an assistant director in such films as The Namesake (2006), Taare Zameen Par (2007) and Water (2005). In 2011, he won a National Award for his short film Finish Line in the Best Non-Feature Film Exploration/Adventure including Sports category.

There are five short musical trailers of Meri Pyaari Bindu, which will be released between April 3 and 7. Each one has popular tunes from old Hindi films.

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Meri Pyaari Bindu (2017).

Meri Pyaari Bindu is the story of the singer Bindu (Parineeti Chopra) and the writer Abhimanyu (Ayushmann Khurrana). The plot is set in ’80s Kolkata, when audio cassette tapes and typewriters were still being used, and follows their lives into the late ’90s.

The quaint world that the trailer evokes, including quirky characters obsessed with old Hindi film songs and the fashion trends of the ’90s, picks up from where Sharat Katariya’s Dum Laga Ke Haisha left off.

The common thread apart from the male lead is the audio cassette tape. In Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Prem (Khurrana) and Sandhya (Bhumi Pednekar) interact through a mixed tape of old songs. The trailer of Meri Pyaari Bindu also shows Abhimanyu and Bindu bonding over a mixed tape.

A yearning for an older way of living binds both films. Meri Pyaar Bindu features a number of popular songs such as Disco 8, Koi Yahan Aaha Nache Nache, Duniya Mein Logon Ko, Aaiye Meherbaan, Lag Jaa Gale and Zara Sa Jhoom Loon Main. Dum Laga Ke Haisha too had its fair share of radio hits.

Parineeti Chopra makes her singing debut in Meri Pyaar Bindu through the song Maana Ke Hum Yaar, composed by the duo Sachin-Jigar. “I knew that sooner or later, I would sing, because I have a passion for it,” Chopra said at the press meet. “This seemed like the right role for me to take that step, just like in the old movies, when actors could sing for themselves.”

Chopra sailed through the playback because of the training she received from her father when she was a child. Khurrana, also an accomplished crooner (Pani Da Rang in Vicky Donor, 2012), plays a bad singer in Meri Pyaar Bindu. “I had to unlearn all of it for this part, where I try to help Bindu sing by accompanying her as her back-up,” Khurrana said.

The soundtrack composers face a tougher challenge than Chopra in getting their tunes heard. “Sachin-Jigar have composed five-six original tunes for the film,” Roy said. The old hits make up for the absence of their original tunes from the initial trailers. Khurrana addressed the predicament with dry humour: “We love old songs and we wait for new songs to become old.”

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Maana Ke Hum Yaar Nahin.
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From catching Goan dances in Lisbon to sampling langar in Munich

A guide to the surprising Indian connect in Lisbon and Munich.

For several decades, a trip to Europe simply meant a visit to London, Paris and the Alps of Switzerland. Indians today, though, are looking beyond the tried and tested destinations and making an attempt to explore the rest of Europe as well. A more integrated global economy, moreover, has resulted in a more widespread Indian diaspora. Indeed, if you know where to look, you’ll find traces of Indian culture even in some unlikely cities. Lisbon and Munich are good cities to include in your European sojourn as they both offer compelling reasons to visit, thanks to a vibrant cultural life. Here’s a guide to everything Indian at Lisbon and Munich, when you wish to take a break from all the sight-seeing and bar crawling you’re likely to indulge in.

Lisbon

Lisbon is known as one of the most vibrant cities in Western Europe. On its streets, the ancient and the modern co-exist in effortless harmony. This shows in the fact that the patron saint day festivities every June make way for a summer that celebrates the arts with rock, jazz and fado concerts, theatre performances and art exhibitions taking place around the city. Every two years, Lisbon also hosts the largest Rock festival in the world, Rock in Rio Lisboa, that sees a staggering footfall.

The cultural life of the city has seen a revival of sorts under the current Prime Minister, Antonio Costa. Costa is of Indian origin, and like many other Indian-origin citizens prominent in Portugal’s political, business and entertainment scenes, he exemplifies Lisbon’s deep Indian connect. Starting from Vasco Da Gama’s voyage to India, Lisbon’s historic connection to Goa is well-documented. Its traces can be still be seen on the streets of both to this day.

While the Indian population in Lisbon is largely integrated with the local population, a few diaspora groups are trying to keep their cultural roots alive. Casa de Goa, formed in the ‘90s, is an association of people of Goans, Damanese and Diuese origins residing in Lisbon. Ekvat (literally meaning ‘roots’ in Konkani) is their art and culture arm that aims to preserve Goan heritage in Portugal. Through all of its almost 30-year-long existence, Ekvat has been presenting traditional Goan dance and music performances in Portugal and internationally.

Be sure to visit the Champlimaud Centre for the Unknown, hailed a masterpiece of contemporary architecture, which was designed by the critically-acclaimed Goan architect Charles Correa. If you pay attention, you can find ancient Indian influences, like cut-out windows and stand-alone pillars. The National Museum of Ancient Art also has on display a collection of intricately-crafted traditional Goan jewellery. At LOSTIn - Esplanada Bar, half of the people can be found lounging about in kurtas and Indian shawls. There’s also a mural of Bal Krishna and a traditional Rajasthani-style door to complete the desi picture. But it’s not just the cultural landmarks that reflect this connection. The integration of Goans in Lisbon is so deep that most households tend to have Goa-inspired textiles and furniture as a part of their home decor, and most families have adapted Goan curries in their cuisine. In the past two decades, the city has seen a surge in the number of non-Goan Indians as well. North Indian delicacies, for example, are readily available and can be found on Zomato, which has a presence in the city.

If you wish to avoid the crowds of the peak tourist season, you can even consider a visit to Lisbon during winter. To plan your trip, check out your travel options here.

Munich

Munich’s biggest draw remains the Oktoberfest – the world’s largest beer festival for which millions of people from around the world converge in this historic city. Apart from the flowing Oktoberfest beer, it also offers a great way to get acquainted with the Bavarian folk culture and sample their traditional foods such as Sauerkraut (red cabbage) and Weißwurst (a white sausage).

If you plan to make the most of the Oktoberfest, along with the Bavarian hospitality you also have access to the services of the Indian diaspora settled in Munich. Though the Indian community in Munich is smaller than in other major European destinations, it does offer enough of a desi connect to satisfy your needs. The ISKCON temple at Munich observes all major rituals and welcomes everyone to their Sunday feasts. It’s not unusual to find Germans, dressed in saris and dhotis, engrossed in the bhajans. The Art of Living centre offers yoga and meditation programmes and discourses on various spiritual topics. The atmosphere at the Gurdwara Sri Guru Nanak Sabha is similarly said to be peaceful and accommodating of people of all faiths. They even organise guided tours for the benefit of the non-Sikhs who are curious to learn more about the religion. Their langar is not to be missed.

There are more options that’ll help make your stay more comfortable. Some Indian grocery stores in the city stock all kinds of Indian spices and condiments. In some, like Asien Bazar, you can even bargain in Hindi! Once or twice a month, Indian film screenings do take place in the cinema halls, but the best way to catch up on developments in Indian cinema is to rent video cassettes and VCDs. Kohinoor sells a wide range of Bollywood VCDs, whereas Kumaras Asean Trades sells Tamil cassettes. The local population of Munich, and indeed most Germans too, are largely enamoured by Bollywood. Workshops on Bollywood dance are quite popular, as are Bollywood-themed events like DJ nights and dance parties.

The most attractive time to visit is during the Oktoberfest, but if you can brave the weather, Munich during Christmas is also a sight to behold. You can book your tickets here.

Thanks to the efforts of the Indian diaspora abroad, even lesser-known European destinations offer a satisfying desi connect to the proud Indian traveller. Lufthansa, which offers connectivity to Lisbon and Munich, caters to its Indian flyers’ priorities and understands how proud they are of their culture. In all its India-bound flights and flights departing from India, flyers can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options, making the airline More Indian than You Think. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalised by Lufthansa to the extent that they now offer a definitive Indian flying experience.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.