Kigali, Feb 26 (PTI) When the head of Rwanda’s Senate hosted a luncheon for Vice President Hamid Ansari atop Kigali’s oldest luxury hotel offering a stunning view of the picturesque hills, the moment was more than coincidental.Also Read - T20 World Cup 2021 Points Table After Pakistan vs New Zealand Match; How does a Pakistan Win Benefit India? Explained

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During Ansari’s recent visit to Kigali, first high-level visit from India, he held bilateral talks with President Paul Kagame and Senate President Bernard Makuza, and Rwanda, among other areas of cooperation, proposed to India to shoot Bollywood films in that country. Also Read - Covid to Make a Comeback in India? China, Russia, UK Report Significant Resurgence in Cases | Key Points

Makuza hosted a luncheon for Ansari on the rooftop of Hotel des Mille Collines, now an iconic landmark thanks to the famous and critically acclaimed film ‘Hotel Rwanda’.

The Hollywood movie was inspired by an episode in the 1994 genocide during which the hotel and its manager at that time, Paul Rusesabagina, had sheltered over 1,200 people.

“The choice of a famous hotel (Hotel des Mille Collines) and setting up the lunch on its rooftop that overlook the breathtaking view of the hills, this wasn’t a mere coincidence, I believe. It was to subtly tell India, what Rwanda can offer to tourists and filmmakers,” an official told PTI.

Endowed with natural beauty, landlocked Rwanda is nicknamed as the ‘land of thousand hills and million smiles’.

Amar Sinha, Secretary, Economic Relations in the MEA, who accompanied Ansari during the visit from February 19-21, said, “Another area where they have sought cooperation is production and shooting of Bollywood films.

“After a Hrithik Roshan-starrer film was shot in New Zealand, it pushed tourism in a big way in that country. We hope we can find models to replicate it in Rwanda,” he said.

Rwandan capital Kigali perhaps epitomises the cleanliness and beauty of the country, as the city has well-manicured roundabouts, squeaky-clean streets lined with trees and a stunning golf-course that attracts the rich and the famous.

Delhi-born Aniket, 21, who spent part of his childhood in Rwanda and India, but now lives in Kigali, says, the hotel is a tourist attraction, and “everyone visiting Kigali asks for it.”

“Also, many people here watch Bollywood films with English subtitles, and they include native Rwandans too. The city is clean and situated on rolling hills, it would be a perfect backdrop for Bollywood films.

“People here celebrate beautiful Kigali and Indian filmmakers can showcase this in movies. America and Europe has been shown too many a time, this city and the country would bring in freshness for the audience back home,” he said.

Rwanda’s enthusiasm towards India can be gauged from the fact that Rwandan Parliament tweeted in Hindi to welcome Ansari in Kigali: “Aapaka svaagat hai, H.E Shri M Hamid Ansari & Smt. Salma Ansari in #Rwanda”.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.