St Augustin

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.
Who lives sees much, who travels sees more.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

L'Aussie Travel is visiting Fiji! Finds a Bollywood takeover!

Bula from Fiji!

So here I am in Fiji, in the middle of a 6-week stay, courtesy of a fellow blogger who invited me to house sit. Good deal! Hadn't been to Fiji before, so this is a great opportunity to check it out.


If you missed him on facebook,
this is the Fijian policeman
next door. Cute uniform!
Bollywood has overtaken Hollywood as the biggest movie maker in the world and I was surprised to see a Bollywood takeover of Fiji. There are currently several productions taking place (four simultaneously) and locals count themselves lucky to be asked to play extras for the princely sum of $30 (AUD $15ish) per day. Wages in Fiji are very low, even for professionals like policemen and teachers, so the Fijians are happy to earn a little extra to be an extra (pun intended). Anything that helps a struggling economy is a positive if you can get over the fact that to most of us such low wages reek of exploitation.

I shouldn’t have been too surprised at the popularity of Bollywood movies here, as 37% of the population of Fiji is Indo-Fijian compared to 57% of native Fijians. Every day there are Bollywood movies showing wherever you go to visit or eat as most of the businesses are owned by the Indo-Fijians. There are Bollywood movies on the television if/when I turn it on during the day. Not to mention the shops and handicraft stalls where you can buy saris and look the part! (Psst, I got to try on a sari of Nas’ and report it is very uncomfortable when you’re not used to it!)


Fiji consists of two largish islands, Vanua Levu and Viti Levu (where Nas lives and I'm hanging out). Vitu Levu has Nadi (the tourist capital) where Nas has her home, and Suva, (the political capital). However, these are just 2 of 300+ islands. The scenery is what most people consider paradise – golden sandy beaches, reefs, jungle-type mountains complete with waterfalls – all making beautiful locations for movie making.

Long before Bollywood invaded Fiji’s sparkling shores, Hollywood was here! Here are some movies made on the Fijian islands which you may recognize:

  • ·         Robinson Crusoe (1932)
  • ·         The Blue Lagoon (1948)
  • ·         The Blue Lagoon (1979) - remake
  • ·         The Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991)
  • ·         Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004)
  • ·         Cast Away (2000) – the island (Monuriki) is now unofficially called Tom Hanks Island and after a day trip there everyone wonders how Tom and his volleyball could drag themselves away. There is actually an island already called Castaway Island so they can't change it to that!
  • ·         Contact (Jodi Foster’s ‘heaven’ sequence)

For the Bollywood fans, the major movie currently being shot around Suva, Nadi and the islands, is Table 21, starring Rajeev Khandelwal and Tina Desai.

The reason why Hollywood stopped choosing Fiji for locations is because of the instability of its government. Since independence from the Brits after 96 years of colonial administration , then the first steps to Fijian self-government in 1960, there have been four coups, with Commodore Frank Bainimarama in charge since he declared himself President in 2006. Democratic elections are set for 2013. Registration is currently underway. Great news!

Maybe Hollywood will return!
As will I. On our go-to list for next week:

·         Cocktails, dinner and watching the fire dancers at Denarau (an island close to Nadi Town)
·         A bus trip all the way around our island, Viti Levu – via the Queens Road to Suva, then return via the Kings Road through the mountains.
·         A full day sailing on the Seaspray 83 foot classic schooner, visiting 9 islands, including a traditional Fijian village.
Plans are known to go awry, but that’s the plan for now! As you can imagine, there’ll be some awesome snaps.

The lucky couple at Denarau where you catch the boats for the islands.

Moce (Goodbye) and Vinaka (Thank You) for reading a little about Fiji.

This is reposted from my Denise Covey, L'Aussie Writer site, as I just paid a visit here to see that many people have been visiting. Sorry! And my background had gone silly, so I deleted it. All fresh and clean now!