NASIR ALI |
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — An Indian action film titled Ek Tha Tiger, directed by Kabir Khan and starring famous Indian actors Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif was released last month. The movie features the town of Zakho, in the Kurdistan Region where parts of the movie was filmed.
The film opens with Salman Khan, as an agent codenamed “Tiger” who is on a mission in Zakho for India’s intelligence agency. Tiger is on his way to Dublin, Ireland to observe a scientist suspected of sharing information with Pakistan. Later, the two go to Istanbul, where most of the scenes in the film were shot.
Abijid Taji, 22, is a big fan of Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif. From India, Taji told Rudaw, “Using any location in a Bollywood film has its own significance.”
Taji knows little about Kurdistan. “In the beginning of the movie, Zakho is shown on the Turkish border. I would like to know more about this town,” he said.
He added, “Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif are very popular in India. Millions of people watch their movies.”
Salman Khan has starred in more than 80 Indian films. His latest film is unique as it was shot in several countries, including Dubai, Istanbul, Kazakhstan and Chile.
On the first day of its release, the movie made millions of Indian rupees.
Stanzim Samnkish, 21, told Rudaw that he searched for information on the locations where the film was shot. “When I heard the names Zakho and Istanbul, I immediately searched Google for information about them,” he said. “I got plenty of information about Istanbul, but I didn’t learn much about Zakho.”
Samnkish thought Zakho was part of Turkey until he was told by Rudaw that it was in the Kurdistan Region.
India has one of the most developed film industries in the world. Bollywood, based in Mumbai, is comparable to Hollywood in terms of being a hub for film production.
Govab Zakhoi, a student at an Indian university, is very glad to see his town in a popular Indian film.
“It is an honor for us to have our town in a film with one of the most popular actors, Salman Khan,” Govan told Rudaw. “This is big because the movie will be shown worldwide. The film will stir people’s curiosity to learn about Zakho.”