"We have some of the best locations where one would like to stay forever. Mountains, beaches, landscapes, greenery and modern buildings all can be used in Indian films. One can get maximum concession from our Government if a full film is made in our country."
Rajendran Govender is a fourth generation Indian in South Africa. He traces his family roots to Salem in Tamil Nadu. Now the Director of Arts and Culture Development in the Government of Kwa-Zulu Natal (whose capital is Durban), he also heads Kharwastan Secondary School, Indo-South African Association and South African Malaysian Friendship Association. He was involved in the formulation of the new arts and culture policy. During his recent visit to India, Rajendran Govender spoke to S.R. Ashok Kumar on how the countries could benefit by friendship and continued cultural exchanges.Actually, he came to India for a fortnight as part of his research on ``Ancestor worship and death rituals of Hindus and Zulus of South Africa."
"I saw a lot of similarities between the two cultures. It was interesting to note that the Hindus and the Zulus are similar in a number of aspects. That's why I came here, particularly Karnataka, for a detailed study. I stayed with the Kodavas for nearly a week to explore the activities of Coorgs and Tulu-speaking community, whose practices are similar to that of the Zulus on ancestral worship."
But that was not only his agenda in India. As a government representative he met film industry personalities here for promoting South Africa as a location for film shooting. That, he believes, can improve the bilateral ties.
"We have some of the best locations where one would like to stay forever. Mountains, beaches, landscapes, greenery and modern buildings can be used in Indian films. One can get maximum concession from our Government if a full film is made in our country. I met actor Prasanth and his father Thyagarajan, director-actor Ravichandran and his son Hamsavardhan. It was a wonderful meeting with director Adhiyaman and music director Bharadwaj with whom I discussed dubbing of their film "Priyasakhi" into Zulu."
Mr. Govender also met the educational fraternity to organise cultural exchange programmes involving students from Chennai and South Africa.
He presented a paper "Cross Cultural studies of rituals and practices in South Africa: A vehicle for national building" at the 2nd International Conference for Culture and Religion, at New Delhi.
"I can read, write and understand Tamil. I have passed matriculation in the Africkaans language and completed my basic communication [course] in Zulu."
He feels Indian films can be a major attraction in his country. "Rajnikant, whose Chandramukhi ran for 100 days in our place, has a big fan following in our country. Priyasakhi is one of the few films which got good response. So we decided to dub it in Zulu. But the films need English subtitles," he said.