Heading for the States this summer? Want to take in the razzle dazzle of the world of entertainment and experience the life of one of the most cosmopolitan cities of the world?
Ever wondered where you could get those hot dogs and bagels you saw Saif and Preity scoff down in ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ (KHNH)? How about those lovely houses you saw – where are those exactly? And who can forget those sweeping bridges that formed the backdrop for SRK and Rani’s secret trysts in ‘Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna’ (KANK) – wouldn’t you like to go there yourself (albeit with your totally legit partner!)?
New York has the bustle of Mumbai, the charm of London, the exotica of Paris all rolled into one! Bollywood too has discovered this and how! Karan Johar’s favorite overseas locale for his movie settings seems to be the Big Apple. Funnily enough, you are more likely to see Times Square rather than the Gateway of India in a Hindi movie!
There’s plenty to do in New York, so where does one begin?
How about Manhattan, where the gorgeous Naina (Preity Zinta) of KHNH and her family have lived since she was little? You may not meet the charming Aman (SRK) doing a jig to an updated version of Orbison’s ‘Pretty Woman’, but you can take in the lovely homes and the tree lined avenues for sure! Catch a show at Broadway or head down 5th Avenue, and maybe even do some shopping if your budget stretches to it!
Take a detour a la the movie to Ellis Island by ferry to see the Statue of Liberty up close(ferry rides cost about USD 12 but entry to the statue/Ellis island is free).
Then take a local yellow cab over to Central Park, the green lungs of New York – many of the fountains here will seem familiar and if you listen carefully you might even here the lilting notes of the title track of KHNH! You may not have Saif Ali Khan or Javed Jaffery for a driver a la ‘Ta Ra Rum Pum’, but you will get to experience the traffic of New York in one of these icons of the city! Head out to Fort Greene Park to spend some quiet moments like Maya (Rani Mukherjee in KANK) did one rainy day in movie land and visit the Artisan’s market (for pottery, jewellery, garments – all handmade) for some memorabilia from your trip.
Another must-visit sight of New York on the Bollywood circuit is the wealth of bridges. Of these New York has several, including the ones at Manhattan, Queensboro and Williamsburg. But the one you can’t miss if you are an SRK fan is the Brooklyn Bridge. This is where the star is seen in several movies, arms raised to the skies singing out a tune to his beloved!
And who can miss a trip to the Metropolitan Opera – remember the famous scene in KANK where all 4 characters come together in an awkward moment at a show? This is the place to take in a performance of Puccini’s or Handel’s work. Tickets aren’t cheap though, so expect to rake out 50 to 300 USD a ticket.
Between sights, if hunger pangs take over when you’re near Naina’s neighborhood, head to Murray’s bagels at Greenwich village (bagels at under a dollar from 6am to 9pm) or if you’re at SRK central then Bagel Hole at Brooklyn serves up a great chewy flavorsome one for just 55 cents! If hot dogs are more your thing, Papaya King serves a great dog with relish and mustard to die for!
And as you leave this megapolis after an exhausting but enjoyable holiday, stop a while and shed a little tear for Aman, Maya & Rishi; Bollywood style!
Not all you see on celluloid is true though. For instance did you know a lot of KHNH was actually shot in Toronto! And that the station you see Rani Mukherjee and SRK at in KANK wasn’t in New York at all?
So is there really a ‘New York speedway’ like the one in ‘Ta Ra Rum Pum’? What other famous sights did you spot in any Bollywood movie you saw recently? Have you been lucky enough to catch a movie being shot in New York? Maybe you got roped in as an extra? Tell us your starry story!