Caminho das India

For the past 2 months, every conversation with any Brazilian I meet (be it someone in a museum or a coconut vendor or a taxi driver or just friends), it always begins in the same predictable way.

Brazilian: Da onde voce? (Where are you from?)

Me: Eu sou da India (I am from India)

Brazilian: (truly excited) Aaaaaaaahhhhh… Indiana…. Que legal…. Nos tenhemos uma novella Caminho das Indias… blah blah blah… (Aaaaaahhhhhh… Indian….. How cool…. We have a soap opera Caminho das Indias… blah blah…)

And this is the story of my life. Ive heard this line over a hundred times and now… and last week, I finally tuned into TV to watch a few episodes. Novella (as soap operas are called in Brazil) are dramatic, romantic and emotional…. an escape from reality, it is medicine to the overworked housewife… no different from the classic K series of India (For those who dont know what K series is, its soap operas from the famous Ekta Kapoor in India.. all the soap operas have names that begin with K.. Like Kyunki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi…. Kasauti zindagi ki…)

Coming back to Caminho das Indias, Imgine Ekta Kapoor making a Brazilian romantic drama in Hindi.. Caminho das Indias is the Brazilian version of the same ( The story of a girl who obviously falls in love with a guy from a different caste with a romantic triangle angle to it as well…. (Most of the time, my task is to explain to the people the entire history of caste, scenario of arranged marriages, cultural nuances of not kissing in soap operas, movies in India, etc…)

With Portuguese actors all dressed in extremely jatak (gaudy) Indian clothes (looking thoroughly North Indian), speaking Portuguese, its a total riot. I laughed so much watching one episode. The episode was a wedding….. the background music that was playing in the wedding as they did the saath phere (sacred walk around the fire symbolifying marriage) was Kajra re (one of the most popular songs to play in dance bars in India). Its almost like playing Shakiras ‘Hips dont lie’ when someone is walking down the isle in a church.

In another scene, the heroine Maya (Juliana Paes) walked over to the buffet table and made eye contact with the hero Bahuan (Marcio Garcia) and trying to be Indian in all ways possible, they showed a dream sequence of them holding hands… not in person. It was hilarious.

I guess till I leave Brazil, Ill be subject to Caminho das Indias in some way or the other. Im seriously considering approaching the director for a small role, considering Im actually Indian. I dont mind playing an extra.

Guest Appearance: Aparna Shekar

TRPs up big time.


12 thoughts on “Caminho das India

  1. I loooved the soap .am a kenyan and since i started watching i have been so interested in india and the indians.i often turn on the streets to look at sari s that indians in kenya wear.its perfect

  2. I didn’t take your article as a put-down 🙂 I just wanted to offer a different perspective. I love Brazil and Brazilian culture. Now I’m interested in Indian culture too where before I wasn’t, even the language. I even got the Caminho das Indias – Indiano soundtrack 🙂

  3. Thanks so much for your feedback ‘That one guy’… I guess its a matter of perspectives… I love everything brazilian, everything indian and a pot pourri of both.. was just coming from the humour perspective…. did not mean to put down any cultural insights of any country. Infact, I saw the soap a couple of times myself and thoroughly enjoyed it. Learnt a bit of portuguese thanks to that too 🙂

  4. Actually, I enjoyed Caminho das Indias. I am American married to a Brazilian (and the Brazilian girls love their soaps), so I got kind of sucked into it when it first started. I have a different view to offer. Even though there are inaccuracies, one good thing about the soap is that many people became interested in Indian culture, myself included. I agree that having Brazilians dressed as Indians and speaking Portuguese is a bit comical, but it wouldn’t do any good to have Indians speaking their native language playing roles in a Brazilian soap either. I understand your point of view, but I think that every country has things like this (movies about other cultures, but in their own native language). This is nothing new.Also, India has a bad rap for being an extremely poor nation and the soap opened up some of the more glamorous things about India.I believe that the actors did an outstanding job in their roles, considering they’re not Indian. I don’t think I could play the part of a Chinese man, so I applaud their efforts.I’m not disagreeing with you, just offering a different perspective. There are many people now interested in Indian culture that were not before. Before the soap, most probably didn’t even consider India a place to visit. Maybe now some will even consider visiting India to learn about the country and culture themselves. Just another approach.

  5. Just back from Brazil, it was awesome what our political leaders could not do in last 60 yrs CDI has done it in 60 days. “Arre Baba” will it wake up our MEA and make them invest in Soap Operas instead of Seminars and Bi lateral meetings. For the first time I felt so proud to be an Indian, and communicate with my Brazilian friends.

  6. I also think the soap is hillarious, Indians speaking portuguese all the time with a “carioca” accent… unnatrual and fun. Brazilian ppl don’t have good memory, in a few months when everything is over, nobody won’t even remember the principal caracter’s name.

  7. lol..hilarious on the kajra re quote…yup its pretty funny…especially the fact that the try to incoorporate “all things india” even tho it totally doesnt realte and its like all different states…ridiculously cute tho!!!!

  8. haha hilarious…esp the kajre re and hips dont lie quote. I just arrived to Rio last week and guess wot? …You guessed it..I go EXACTLY through the same ritual of De onde voce …and the whole nine yards. You wont believe it, I even thought of myself of finding a minor role as a sidekick in the novella considering my authentic origin. lol. Btw, I found ur blog while searching for more info on CDI. I tuned in the TV in my hotel room and accidently this novella CDI was goin on. Intrigued, I watched the whole episode and even chuckled over a few phrases…Arre Baba…nahi nahi … lol.

  9. seriously wanna play an extra (figurante)? drop an email to vitor.surf2 [att] gmail [dot] comyepp, i was planning to 🙂 too bad i had to come back earlier tho. speak to Chris Tardelli. thank me later.

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