Bowled over by the Aussies

Bowled  over by  the Aussies

The legendary actor, director and producer, was in Melbourne to attend the Australian premiere of his new film Peepli Live, and indulged in his passion for cricket and tennis with a tour of the historic stadium during his visit.

At the National Sports Museum located in the ground,  Aamir stopped by the Indian cricket exhibit to admire Sunil Gavaskar’s test cap and signed bat, watched an incredibly life-like hologram of Shane Warne talk about his colourful career, and sized up next to a full-size statue of Don Bradman.

He also sought Don’s original baggy green cap, stepped onto the hallowed turf and chatted with former Australian cricketer Damien Fleming over lunch at the ground. Aamir said he hoped to return to Melbourne soon and in particular, spend more time at the MCG on the day of a match.

“I’m such a huge cricket fan and I was looking at the statue of Don Bradman and I was like, ‘I have to come back here and watch a match’,” he said. Aamir’s film Peepli Live was one of four Indian films shown at the 2010 Melbourne International Film Festival, which this year showcased less mainstream Indian cinema through its Not Quite Bollywood programme. The other Indian films showcased here were Love, Sex Aurr Dhokha, The Well and Ishqiya.

Indian cinema is becoming increasingly popular with Australian audiences, with 3 Idiots, which starred Aamir, making Australian $ 1.2 million at the local box office despite its limited release. Aamir joins a long list of Indian stars making a trip Down Under to promote their films and connect with audiences, both Australian and expat Indians alike.

In March, multi award-winning actress Rani Mukherjee had visited Melbourne to attend the 2010 Indian Film Festival, in which she was honoured with a retrospective of her film career.

Melbourne is also a popular choice for Bollywood directors and producers looking for vibrant, Western-style locations. The popular films that were shot in Melbourne include Main Aur Mrs Khanna (2009), Chak De India (2007; watched by 400 million people) and Salaam Namaste (2005; viewed by 300 million).

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