The Indian film industry is celebrating its hundredth year of existence. Ever since the first silent movie Raj Harishchandra was made, Indian films have come a long way and today India produces the largest number of films in the world. Indian movies are now well received in large number of countries and the audience keeps growing. Many a Hindi movie earns a good amount of its overall collections from outside the country. Indeed Hindi movies act as an excellent ambassador for our country.

I fondly today also recall an interesting episode during my visit to USA man years back. I entered a watch shop in New York and the man behind the counter asked me whether I am an Indian. No sooner had I confirmed he warmly welcomed me and informed me he was a huge fan of Amitabh Bachchan. He then started narrating about the various movies of Amitabh he had seen and the characters portrayed by him in each film. He seemed to be unstoppable. I asked him apart from Amitabh did he like any other actor. He launched into another long narration on Dharmendra and his movies.

After a long long time he asked me what was I looking for. I told him a watch for my wife. He went inside and brought out a very elegant looking piece with a light green colored dial. I liked it. I asked for its price. He told me because I am from the land of Amitabh he would give it to me at a throw away price of sixty dollars against its original price of more than hundred dollars. I did not argue with him.Somehow he looked convincing. I paid him and as I was about to leave he told me the watch will last you very long as it is a famous designer's original piece. The watch is giving good service today also and many a times my wife has been asked from where she got it from. Thanks to Hindi movies and Amitabh and the Egyptian watch seller in New York.

Another time I was in a city in Switzerland surfing the TV in late evening.There was no English language program. I was feeling bored as one could not go out also as the temperature was near  zero. I tried again after about half an hour and suddenly on a channel I saw Guru Dutt. It was his epic film 'Pyasa' being telecast with French subtitles. I had seen the movie in India as a child and did not remember much of it. It was a well spent evening watching Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rehman, Mala Sinha and Johnny Walker along with its beautiful songs and music in Zurich. Next day when I said this to my Swiss contact he said Guru Ditt's movies are very well liked by the French and his movies are regularly telecast.

I was dozing on a flight from Shanghai to Qingdao in China, in mid nineties, when I felt I am listening to a familiar tune. I woke up to note that it was the song 'Aawara Hoon--' from Raj Kapoor's film 'Aawara' that was being played in the aircraft. I was to listen it being played many more times during a week long stay in China.

Another time while attending a seminar in USA my next room mate happened tobe from Pakistan. The immense knowledge of Hindi movies he displayed was a revelation to me even though I also used to see and read a lot about Hindi movies. But he was like a encyclopedia. We both jokingly agreed that only Hindi films will bring peace between the two countries.

Recently I happened to go to Delhi to attend to an elderly relation admitted into a premier hospital. Everywhere in the hospital one saw large number of well to do persons from Afghanistan attending to their sick relations. I struck conversation with a few of them and found they were speaking very good Hindi. When I asked them do they teach it in Afghanistan,they would laugh and say they have all learnt it from watching Hindi movies, right from their childhood days. They love to watch Hindi movies and now Hindi TV serials are also becoming very popular.

Finally,I once accidentally entered inot a shop in New York and found myself staring at about eight or nine Afrikan Amerciacns. One of them asked me am I from India and as soon as said yes, in unison they got up and started dancing vigorously. Before I could understand what was going they all  looked at me and loudly shouted "Bollywood". For the first and last time in my life I also joined a dance.

I too had paid my humble tribute to Hindi movies and wish it a still glorious coming hundred years.


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