Medvedev’s date with Taj Mahal, Bollywood

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will arrive in Agra Wednesday morning to visit the Taj Mahal, an official said.

Zeenews Bureau

Agra/Mumbai: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will arrive in Agra Wednesday morning to visit the Taj Mahal, an official said.

"The programme is confirmed. He is coming at around 11 am and will leave at 2 pm from Kheria airport by a special plane to Mumbai," Additional District Magistrate (Protocol) Alok Shekhar said.

A Russian advance team of security personnel has been camping here for the past two days to oversee security arrangements. It has procured its own vehicles from Russia.

Team members had discussions with district authorities and inspected the route from Kheria airport to the 17th century monument of love.

Homage to 26/11 victims/ visit to Bollywood

In Mumbai, Medvedev will stay at the Taj Mahal Hotel, one of the targets of 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, and pay homage to the victims.

After a visit to IIT, he will head to the Film City as a tribute to Bollywood, which continues to inspire and entertain his countrymen.

Although the silver screens in Russia have been captured by Hollywood-controlled film distributors, who give limited access even to domestically produced movies, Bollywood is still alive and kicking in millions of homes across the vast Eurasian giant due to round-the-clock Russian language paid channel `India TV`.

Many private TV channels like Domashny TV (Home TV), STS and others regularly show Bollywood movies, which are very popular among the young and old alike, especially in the Russian regions.

"Because the `good` always wins over the `evil`, a dream which every Russian cherishes," Russian Deputy Culture Minister Andrei Busygyn said, explaining the popularity of Indian movies in his country.

Surprisingly, the younger generation of Russia knows about the modern constellation of Bollywood stars, better than many Indians of the older-generation living in this country.

If the older generation of Russia cherishes the images of Raj Kapoor and Nargis in the fond memories of their youth, Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini are the idols of the middle aged Russians, while the younger generation adores Aishwarya Rai, Hritik Roshan, Priety Zinta and others, in whom they see the image of a `Global Indian`.

"Do you know the secret of Bollywood movies popularity in our country? The Indian movies `Awara` and `Shri 420` came to Russia in early fifties after the devastating war, when we were enduring hardships.

"There we saw that life in India was even more miserable, but they had smiles on their faces.

"It was a great inspiration for us," said Ludmila Sekacheva, the head of "Parade of Indian and Russian Heritage`- an NGO involved in promoting Indian culture in Russia.

Medvedev arrived in New Delhi early Tuesday morning, the two sides have signed over a dozen agreements, including a key pact on Moscow building more nuclear reactors in India.