A well-created Bollywood film is the embodiment of sensuality.
With rich and vibrant colors, blaring music, sharply choreographed dance moves, stunningly gorgeous stars, and the occasional bit of misplaced humor, what’s not to love?
I hadn’t even heard of Bollywood until my senior year of college, when one afternoon I wandered to my best friend’s house to relax before the week started. She had been assigned the task of watching a film for one of her elective courses, so I assigned myself the task of helping her watch the movie.
Not only did I not understand what was going on, but for a while I’m not even sure I liked watching the film. I found myself drawn to the rich colors, the artistic camera shots, and the choreographed dance scenes, but the acting was overdone, and there was something silly about the way the actors randomly mixed English into their speech. But I still cried at the end of the very sad love story, in spite of Shahrukh Khan’s exaggerated wailing. (He cries in nearly every film I’ve seen him in, but before I ruin his image I’ll throw in a bonus photo of him to thank you for reading this.)
Something drew me back to Bollywood anyway, and it wasn’t Shahrukh’s muscles.
I raided the school library and came away with a few more films. I told a few friends about my new minor obsession, and they all acted stunned that I hadn’t yet seen Bride and Prejudice. (Yeah, I thought it was a typo at first, too.) So I returned to the library, found a copy, and watched as East met West on-screen. After all the hype it created, I wasn’t as pleased as I’d expected to be with this film. I figured later that I’d only been spoiled by watching the real thing first, so that the watered-down version of Bollywood seemed less than sincere.
For those of you who know B, and who know how much B likes to poke fun, you can only imagine how much laughter ensued after I snuck the first Bollywood film into our Friday-night movie date routine. He was no stranger to my obsession, but I was a bit nervous about introducing the genre only to find that he couldn’t stand watching it with me. (Quelle horreur!) He loved it so much that when the movie ended he jumped up and started shoulder-shrug dancing his way around the living room, laughing like a fool.
We promptly added a healthy dose of Bollywood to our Netflix queue, and life hasn’t been the same since. He now randomly breaks out into shoulder-shrugging song and dance routines, I get to remind him there’s “no life without wife,” and we cruise around town blaring songs like Crazy Kiya Re and Jhoom from the car stereo. When our neighbor told us she didn’t understand why the actors busted into song and dance at the end of Slumdog Millionaire, he shrugged his shoulders, told her squarely that she lacks culture, and shoulder-shrug danced his way back inside our house.
This evening I wandered through one beautiful photograph after another as I built my Flickr Favorites list. Somewhere between my searches for “India” and “Bollywood” I found one of Amitabh Bachchan in a train station. The unknowing photographer (lucky soul!) deboarded a train at Waterloo and wandered upon him during filming! This coincidence was enough to spark tonight’s post, and the ensuing Google image searches.
As I googled away, I discovered that the Bollywood craze really does appear to be catching on here in the West. It has spread so far that Akon will soon make his Bollywood debut, starring opposite Shahrukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor. You don’t believe me? Read about it here.
Bollywood for Beginners, a crash course:
Dhoom 2 – If nothing else, watch it for the cheesy action scenes and abounding hotness.
Jhoom Barabar Jhoom – Very funny tale. One of my favorites.
Devdas – Shahrukh Khan does some serious crying in this one. It’s a sad love story.
Veer-Zaara – A beautiful love story with a happier twist