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 Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan stood on Iceland’s black lava rock that carpets the land as far as the eye can see. By his side was his co-star of many movies, Kajol. They were shooting a song for their upcoming film Dilwale. After a gap of five-years, Shah Rukh and Kajol were teaming up again. My Name is Khan their last film had been shot in the United States. As Shahrukh looked down at the black sand swirling in the Icelandic wind he thought it was a far cry from the golden sands of California. He had just been to Los Angeles with his son on a college tour.

I craned my neck as we passed Vik, the village where Sharukh and Kajol were filming. I was on my way back to California from Norway and had landed in Iceland just yesterday for a three day stopover. Now on a bus tour along the southern coast of Iceland I was in star company. I squinted at the bright blue sky and the black mountains. Waterfalls cascaded where the tongue of Myrdalsjokull glacier drooled down into a finger-like extension named Solheimajokull. Fields of black lava rocks carpeted the earth. I had thought Iceland would be white like ice. 

Nearby on Reynishverfi beach, Director Rohit Shetty watched Sharukh scramble atop the broken body of a plane. The camera was strapped onto the jeep. The song was sure to be a spectacular one, he thought. He had worked with Shahrukh earlier. They had made Chennai Express together. 

Passing the beach, hurtling down the road towards Galcier Lagoon which was still about 200 km away, I listened to the guide tell the story of the Vikings who had settled in Iceland. Floki Vilgeroason had landed in the northwest but a severe winter had killed his domestic animals and he had sailed back to Norway. He was the one who gave the land its name. He called it Iceland. Years later, Ingolfur Arnarson sailed with his family, slaves and animals. He landed on a cliff that rose like a large table. As he stood surveying the land, two wooden posts were thrown overboard. He vowed to settle at the place where the sea washed them up. The slaves went looking for the logs all over the island of Iceland. The posts were found in a bay or vik in the the southwest corner of Iceland. Smoke arose from the hot water springs nearby. Ingolfur called the place Reykjavik, meaning the Smokey Bay. 


The smoke that rises from the innards of Iceland is the smoky hot center of the earth. Smoldering fire bursts into volcanoes every four years or so. Red hot lava flows into icy glaciers. The dance of fire and ice plays out on the backdrop of black sand in the summer, and white sheets of snow in the winter. 

For the song being filmed in Iceland, Sharukh Khan had specially requested Farah Khan to be the choregrapher. He rode a red motorbike across the black lumps of lava rock. A blood red scarf unfurled and trailed in a stream of fire down from Kajol’s neck, and wound its way around Sharukh’s black leather-jacketed frame. They dipped their toes in the cool stream puddling beneath the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. Farah tweeted,”Iceland is “Niceland.” 

Two hours later I stared at the Glacier Lagoon. As the tour bus turned the rocky corner, lumps of icy blue rocks floated into view. ” A number of James Bond movies have been shot here,” said the guide. “A View to Kill”, “Die Another Day” and “the Tomb Raider”. You can go home and watch those movies again and recognize this place.”


I thought of Dilwale and our very own King Khan burning it up with sizzling Kajol just down the road from me. It was amazing that we were in Iceland at the very same time. I dreamily looked at the Viking ruled land that was so not white. The icy blue eyes of the blond guide looked into my warm black ones. Iceland was many shades of black and white.

How We Did It.

Took an Iceland Air Flight to Norway. This enabled us to get a free stopover in Iceland.

On arrival in Oslo, Norway we stayed overnight at the airport hotel Radisson Blu Airport Hotel, Oslo Gardermoen. The excellent location of the hotel meant we just walked with our luggage cart from the airport to the hotel lobby. Leaving our baggage there, we were now free to explore Norway with a backpack.

With a tour called “Norway in a Nutshell” we visited Bergen and returned to the beautiful city of Oslo. On our way back to Iceland we stayed at the airport hotel again. The proximity of the Radisson Blu Airport Hotel, Oslo to the airport allowed us to check-in our baggage and return to the hotel for a sumptuous buffet breakfast. Thereby we saved valuable time when we did reach Reykjavík as we were fed and ready to go.

In Reykjavík we checked into the Hotel Reykjavik Natura. To see What you can do on an Iceland Air Stopover? Click here.

Ritu Marwah is an award-winning author ✍️ and a recognized Bay Area leader in the field of 🏛 art and literature. She won the 2023 Ethnic Media Services award for outstanding international reporting;...