Netanyahu at the Shalom Bollywood event with celebs. Photo: Twitter
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday praised Bollywood saying that the world, including Israel, loves Bollywood.
"The world loves Bollywood, Israel loves Bollywood, I love Bollywood," Netanyahu said at 'Shalom Bollywood' event in Mumbai.
Emphasising that 'Israel wants Bollywood', the Prime Minister explained various reasons to make Bollywood films in his country.
"If you come and you need more, we will put in more. In Israel you will see great ideas and great technology," he said.
India and Israel on Monday had signed a MoU on filmmaking. With this, both sides envisage establishing a framework for encouraging all audiovisual media output, especially the co-production of films for the benefit of the film industries of both the countries.
Netanyahu speaking at the event. Photo: Twitter
The 'Oscar' selfie moment
Recreating the viral 'Oscar selfie', which featured several Hollywood stars in one picture, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tonight posed with Bollywood superstars as a sign of the "great friendship" between India and Israel.
Netanyahu was at "Shalom Bollywood" event in Mumbai, where top stars from the industry were present, including Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan, and filmmaker Karan Johar.
"I want everyone in Indian and Israel to know about the phenomenal friendship between our countries. So I've an idea. One of the most viral pictures took place at the Oscars where several celebrities took a selfie together," he said.
"So I want all the Bollywood actors, directors, producers present here to join me right now for a selfie so millions of people can see the great friendship between the two countries," Netanyahu added.
Posing for the selfie were Bollywood guests like Bachchan and his family, Johar, Randhir Kapoor, Vivek Oberoi, Sara Ali Khan, filmmaker Imtiaz Ali, Madhur Bhandarkar, Nikkhil Advani, Abhishek Kapoor, Subhash Ghai, lyricist Prasoon Joshi among others.
How the tinseltown responded
Karan Johar with Netanyahu. Photo: Twitter
Post the event, Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar took to Twitter to share his experience of meeting Netanyahu.
"A complete honour and privilege to meet with the honourable Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. Such a wonderful evening with friends of the fraternity," he tweeted.
Vivek Oberoi with the Israeli PM. Photo: Twitter
The similar sentiment was echoed by actor Vivek Oberoi and filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar.
Aishwarya along with producer Ronnie Screwvala welcomed the prime minister and the first lady, Sara Netanyahu.
Karan Johar's production "Drive" became the first Bollywood film to be shot in Israel for which Johar, along with Dharma Productions CEO Apoorva Mehta were felicitated by Netanyahu.
At the event, Bachchan gave the keynote address where he spoke about how, from a time when acting in films was looked down upon, today Bollywood has become a parallel culture.
Madhur Bhandarkar with Israeli PM and his wife. Photo: Twitter
Bachchan, 75, said when "we as a community watch films in a darkened hall, we never ask the caste or creed, or colour or religion of the person sitting next to us. We enjoy the same film, laugh at the same joke, cry at the same emotion. In a world where we see humanity disintegrating in front of us, cinema is perhaps (among) the few yet prominent entities that bring people together."
Netanyahu in his address quipped that Bachchan has "30 million more followers than me on Twitter" and stressed how if India and Israel come together, "magic will happen."
Choreographer Terence Lewis along with his group brought the curtain down with a dance medley.
The Israeli PM and his wife, Sara Netanyahu participated in the event that aims at exploring business opportunities for Indian filmmakers in Israel, along with select members of the film fraternity and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.