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Culture

Offbeat Israel: The Bollywood-Style Video Taking Israel By Storm

The video that has Israel talking this week is, believe it or not, a Bollywood-style musical by the country’s leading weapon’s manufacturer, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

It has emerged that at Aero India, a trade fair organized last month by India’s Ministry of Defense, Rafael screened a movie of Israeli dancers in Indian costumes singing about how the potential for Indo-Israeli defense trade ties. They are dancing around mock-ups of Rafael’s products.

Bloggers who write on security issues have derided the video. Noah Shachtman, contributing editor at Wired magazine and the editor of its national security blog Danger Room, writes:

Every element of the promotional film is just plain wrong. The sari-clad, “Indian” dancers look all too ashkenaz and zaftig. The unshaven, hawk-nosed, leather-clad leading man appears to be a refugee from You Don’t Mess With the Zohan. Then of course, there’s the implication that the Indian military is somehow like a helpless woman who “need(s) to feel safe and sheltered.”

But for my rupees, the worst thing about the video is the damn theme song they’ve concocted for the thing. To pimp its weapons, Rafael produced a sitar-heavy twist on Rick Astley’s love letter to Satan, “Together Forever,” complete with a new chorus: “Dinga dinga, dinga dinga, dinga dinga, dinga dinga dee.” The rest of us now have to suffer for that bad, bad choice.

And how has it gone down in India? The Indian men’s lifestyle portal MensXP calls the lyrics “drivel.”

It’s odd that the reception in India was so unkind when Rafael’s research process seems to have been so thorough. “In Israel we have Jewish people from India, so we know about Bollywood and the song and dance numbers,” Assy Josephy, the director of exhibitions for Rafael, told the South Asian defense and strategic affairs site StratPost when asked about the background to the video.

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