BOMBAY TO TEXAS: REDISCOVERING BOLLYWOOD
© bollywhat.com 2005

   I was born and brought up in Bombay, India. I did my schooling and graduation there. Bombay is a place where you can run into actors and actresses anywhere - in restaurants, hotels, even while shopping. Sometimes while walking or driving home from school or college I would see a shooting taking place and just stop and watch it. My college (Sophia College) is a former palace and has been used in many movies. It was used in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (K3G) as the young Rohan's school. So Bollywood was a part of life for me, one I appreciated and enjoyed but took for granted. Though I had my schoolgirl crushes on the stars, I was more interested in Hollywood.

   After marriage, I migrated to the US. I was fascinated by the TV shows, serials and movies here. I couldn't get enough of them. They were all I watched. Besides, the Bollywood movies available were on VCR tapes (DVDs hadn't made their appearance yet), and the quality of the tapes was terrible. So I was happy, settling down in a new place and discovering all the wonders of TV land. Until one day I rented a Hindi movie. I watched it and when it concluded, I cried for hours. It was then I realized that I had been subconsciously avoiding Hindi films. Seeing the familiar people, the landscape, the stars, the streets of Bombay made me so homesick that I felt ill. That was the end of Bollywood for a while again. When I visited India I saw movies with my family, but once back in the US, it was as if Bollywood didn t exist.

   A few years passed. I had babies to take care of, and didn't watch many movies at all. I remember in 1995 when I went home, my mom talked about this new actor . She said his name was Shahrukh Khan. According to her, he wasn't good looking, but was supposedly a really good actor (she hadn't seen any of his films either). I said yeah, yeah and went on diapering my son. I had lost touch with BW and the new stars didn't interest me much. Six years passed.

   In 2001, some friends of mine were going to watch K3G and invited me and my husband. We decided to join them, but only because we hadn't met those friends in a while. I'll never forget what I felt when I saw it. My first impression was how much BW had changed for the better. The quality of direction and the story impressed me. I saw this guy, Rahul and remembered my mom mentioning the name of that actor. I liked him very much. I found his acting very natural and pleasing. I liked Rani but didn't like Kajol so much till the end of the film, when I loved her. I thought to myself, hmm, I should watch more of this Shahrukh Khan. So I googled him and found the names of a few more of his movies. I emailed my brother and asked for recommendations. This way I got hold of KKHH and DDLJ. Two things happened to me. I saw DDLJ first and fell totally, completely, irrevocably, unconditionally in love with SRK and, to a lesser degree, with Kajol. Then I watched KKHH and hated Rani with a passion. I never wanted to see any of her movies, ever. How dare she take Rahul away from Anjali and cause her such agony? Most of all I never wanted to see SRK and Rani together in anything. I saw K3G again and gloated when Rani struck out. But more than anything I wanted to see SRK.

Now I'm back with BW, and I do occasionally watch a few non-SRK films. The SRK films, I try to make the first day, first show. But my chief discovery was that I was very proud of BW. That's something I had never felt before. I no longer felt a little ashamed at the song-and-dance routines, popularly known as "running around trees." And I loved that so many people from so many different countries and cultures found something to admire in BW movies and Indian culture. Before, I loved hearing the songs day in and day out, now I discovered a passion for the lyrics. Translating them for others to enjoy gives me more joy - the joy fans get from reading them. As for SRK? Well, if I start about him I won't stop. :)

- Palacerani

 

This filmi ramble was
written by Palacerani!
.


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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