SHAHRUKH AS PIED PIPER, or, HOW I DISCOVERED BOLLYWOOD
© bollywhat.com 2005

   I'm a 19 year old Australian-born-Chinese female in Brisbane, Australia. My first foray into Hcinema happened when my friend from Perth came back during holidays last year and she made all these friends, mainly international students from India, and embraced their culture. She wanted to hold a international movie fest, but I was the only one who had time or was interested. I'll admit...at first, I thought that I'd be laughing my arse off when the actors suddenly broke off into song and dance, images that were slapstick and quite stupid. Then my friend put on Kal Ho Na Ho.

   I then realised that my misconceptions about Bollywood was wrong, although not totally since there was still a fair amount of cheese to the movie. These were my main thoughts - the dancing and singing was fascinating and in context (Indian cinema is to dancing what Hong Kong films is to action); Saif Ali Khan was hot, Preity Zinta was, well, pretty, and whilst the storyline was nothing spectacular, it had so much charm that frankly, it didn't matter. But my main fascination of the film was Shahrukh Khan. I mean, this was a guy who wasn't particularly good-looking but I couldn't take my eyes off him, so much charm oozing out his pores. He was crying so much that he could probably cure the drought that Australia is suffering at the moment, but he made it work. Seriously, any guy who 'overacts' yet still being so charismatic and endearing at the same time has to be something special, right?

   My interest in Shahrukh led me to read as much as I could about him (internet is a wonderful thing, ain't it) and to watch more hindi films, like Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (fantastic!), Karan Arjun (slightly overrated) and Kaante (ok). However, while i liked the guy, my true obsession for Hindi cinema (and SRJ) didn't arrive til about a couple of weeks ago when the same aforementioned friend sent me a dvd for my birthday with Baadshah and Duplicate on it. Then it happened - after watching the films, which weren't even all that great, i couldn't stop myself from watching the dancing scenes. Suddenly the soundtrack in my head wasn't something by an American rock band but in a language I couldn't understand, yet was singing/humming anyway. I learnt the dance moves from the movies via osmosis and actually have to stop myself from busting a move lest I make a fool of myself when I feel the urge in public. I even started to learn Hindi to better understand the movies, although stopped since I realised that I do not have a talent for learning languages. Then I realised - I'm a bollywood geek!

   I have read everything I could find about the Hindi film industry, which, by the way, can rival any soap opera on TV, with main protagonists like Yash Chopra and the legend that is Amitabh Bachchan. From there, I started to learn about Indian culture, which is fascinating to say the least.

   As for srk...he has officially replaced Hugh Jackman as my no. 1 favourite actor, who has been at the top of that list for at least five years. Seriously, even Tom Cruise seems seems like small potatoes to this guy. Probably because Tom Cruise can't dance!

- Cora

 

This filmi ramble was
written by Cora
.


discovering bollywood - a new series

How did you discover Bollywood? So many fans have a story -- one told, retold, analyzed and polished -- of that lightbulb moment in which they encountered Hindi cinema like a revelation, a window into something they had never imagined film could be. From those who once had no idea that Hindi cinema existed to those who grew up loathing it, Discovering Bollywood tells their tales of that single moment when they suddenly, finally "got it."

 

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