© 2005

   Jobs can be very stressful. I'm a cook - or better, I was. One day something happened that pushed me into quitting: my health! When I quit, I came down with the worst cold and cough I'd ever had. I was sick for a month and a half. So, one Sunday, I stayed home because I was feeling so bad. I was also bored out of my mind. Zapping through all the TV channels, I couldn't find anything that held my interest. And then, on a Dutch channel, I came across something different.

  I didn't know it was Bollywood. (Later, I would realise that in the past I had seen, and liked, clips from Bollywood movies before, but they had seemed so inaccessible that I hadn't known how to follow through.) I didn't even know it was a movie. I couldn't understand the language, and actually had no idea which language it was. If the goofy looking guy hadn't been so darn funny, I would have continued to zap. But he was funny, and I could do with cheering up, so I decided to give it ten minutes. I learned that this goofy looking guy was called Raj and he wanted to go on a trip across Europe. Ten minutes turned into twenty. I learned that a girl called Simran wanted to go on a trip across Europe too, but afterwards she would have to go back to India to wed!

   I decided to leave it for thirty minutes. I still had no clue that it was a movie, but I was very amused by what I saw. Suddenly the goofy looking guys started to sing and dance (at the time, not knowing about the lip-syncing but, I thought wow, these actors sing well!). I just loved the part where Raj drops Simran at the end of the dance in Paris. Anyway I knew these two would fall in love and of course after an hour and half later I realised it was a movie.

  I was simply blown away by what I was seeing and hearing. I thought it was a musical or something, but from what country, I didn't know! The afternoon grew late; I didn't notice it had become dark. I kept thinking, this isn't fair, she doesn't love this guy who she's supposed to marry! He didn't look like a nice guy, either! I wanted to know what was going to happen, I needed to know. I don't cry easily, but at the end when Raj got beat up, I pinched a few tears away!

After the movie I wanted to know what I had seen, but all I could discover from consulting the TV guide was that this movie - the most beautiful movie I had ever seen - was called DDLJ. For a month I couldn't stop talking about it. I was so excited and taken with it. I wondered if there were any other movies like that out there. It wasn't until some months later, when I was reading the Empire, that I saw a picture of SRK. Excited, I told my mom that this was the goofy looking guy in the movie. Finally, I knew his name - and that this cinematic revelation was called a Bollywood film! A year later, they played that movie again, andI taped it. Sometime later they played Devdas, but by that time I had already seen Lagaan.Of course I taped Devdas and later bought Lagaan. Thus began my love affair with Bollywood.

   After Lagaan and Devdas I got a computer and started to look up Bollywood. I couldn't believe the wealth of information that I found, but getting hold of those movies was very difficult. Asoka and KKHH cost me a fortune - but one I gladly invested. I got my parents to watch Bollywood movies with me and they actually like them too. But for me, as I'm still learning about them, it simply opened up a brand new world to explore, not just movie-wise, but India-wise too.

   The movies encourage me to pick up another language. I've started to dance more, to broaden my horizons and listen to filmi music. It's a hobby in a way to learn about these films and about India. But as opposed to the poverty we get to see in documentaries, it has made me see the more beautiful side of India, like the landscapes, the cultures and religions and customs. Through these movies I've grown to respect India, its people (and its film industry) even more than before. Its splendor, its magic, its spellbinding cinema, the music, the dance routines, and the actors have hooked me for life!

I can't use Bollywood or India in my profession, but I sure can use Bollywood and India in my life. I feel richer and wiser knowing things others seem to ignore.

- SRK Fan


This filmi ramble was
written by SRK Fan!

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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