It was home away from home for Upen Patel in his recent visit to Johannesburg, South Africa. Accompanied by his mother and other relatives, Upen has fond memories of Johannesburg since the city made him feel almost at home, courtesy the warm reception he got there from people of Indian origin.
"It was a heartwarming moment for me as close to 5000 Indians assembled as I visited Rameshwar Mahadev Mandir (in Lenasia, a suburb of Johannesburg) for the Diwali celebrations. They were very nice to me and were happy to see me amidst all the celebrations. They also enquired about my upcoming projects", says Upen Patel who had incidentally been to the city earlier for the shoot of SHAKALAKA BOOM BOOM.
"Yes, in fact they were wondering when would I be returning to the city for another Bollywood project. I assured them that bigger and better things would happen soon and I hoped to visit the city again", Upen adds.
Another incident that Upen can't forget is the visit of seniormost local politician Jacob Zuma, president of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party, at the event.
"It was good to see him participating in the celebrations even though the festivities of Diwali could pretty much be alien to him. Well, for me what was most memorable though was to be able to spend time with my family. Outside the hustlebustle of Mumbai, I had a great time with my mother. We roamed around the city and did a lot of shopping as well as catching up together", says Upen fondly.
On the professional front, Upen would soon be resuming shoot for AJAB PREM KI GHAZAB KAHANI at Goa. Directed by Rajkumar Santoshi, the film stars Ranbir Kapoor as well as Katrina Kaif.