Rain pours down while a beautiful woman sings and searches. Searching for what you ask? For answers, her lover, her voice, the truth….the answers are endless, but the scene is priceless. It’s a scene you’re almost always guaranteed to find in a Bollywood film.
Growing up in an Eritrean household there are two movies guaranteed to be in your possession. The first of these films is “The Gods Must Be Crazy” and the second is “Mother India” Without knowing, we grew up on Bollywood. Of course the love I have for it now is one that had to be discovered. When one first sees a Bollywood film, and isn’t necessarily aware of what goes on in one of these films, their response is usually one of “huh?” but like anything, it gets better and better every time you watch it. I rediscovered a love for Bollywood, one I didn’t even know I had, when I saw “Bride and Prejudice” a remake on the Jane Austen classic, “Pride and Prejudice”. If I’m honest, I was taken aback by all the colors and the random outburst of song. The first time I saw the film I actually thought I’d wasted money in purchasing the film. A few days passed and I decided to watch it again, this time I found myself involuntarily tapping my foot, working my hands as they did in the film, and singing along. And by the third time I was ready to pack my bags, move to Mumbai and audition for a Bollywood film. Obviously, that didn’t happen but I did want more! Much more of what it was I just watched.
As if by fate, a cousin of mine told me of a Bollywood film showing on Netflix. Duh! Netflix was bound to have a Bollywood section and it did! I watched movie after movie until I ran out of films to watch. I became familiar with names like Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Akshay Kumar, Aishwarya Rai, Rani Mukherjee, the list goes on.
One becomes seduced by the colors, song and dance, the overly dramatic love stories, and the heartfelt ways lovers find their way to one another against all odds. Definitely a much different take on films than that of Hollywood and that’s okay. It works. One needs to understand that Bollywood is not a reflection of what happens in India but more a way for the citizens to escape into a world of make believe, while still keeping with the tradition of the people. It’s absolutely beautiful!
My only problem? I now find it difficult to watch Hollywood cinema. Not a bad problem to have.
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