I can speak Hindi not because I took classes, but I grew up watching Hindi movies. Well, that’s how influential Bollywood can be.
I have grown watching Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan growing old, and Sri Devi and Madhuri Dixit disappearing from the silver screen. I’ve also witnessed the birth of the new generation of actors and actresses who now keeps Bollywood up and running as ever.
I can say that India’s multi-billion film industry has become an important part of my life, and I think I can somewhat speak for the rest.
We have laughed with it. Oh, the girls have cried their hearts out. And on some occasions, we have certainly bonded for Bollywood. In so many ways, I feel Bollywood has brought us together, as friends and as family: Watching a classic in the living room with my family, hearing them how much they adore classics, or bunking college classics to watch the early morning, cheap show of the latest Karan Johar movie.
And not to forget the music and typical Bollywood dance moves. Songs like “Jai Ho” has become an exemplar, making young, old, desis and bideshis (foreigners) show their moves.
On Saturday, about 200 people danced to “Jai Ho” at Victoria Embankment Garden in London. People joined in a synchronized Bollywood dance event to raise money for charity. It seemed like Bollywood bringing people together, having fun, and doing something for a cause regardless of their age or race. It was purely for the love of Bollywood, as it looked.
Bollywood has also helped me bond instantly in a foreign land.
Last year, in Durban, as the cab driver was listening to songs from “Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham,” I asked him if he liked Bollywood. The conversation that followed led to a “discount” and a good deal for a ride to the airport just because we loved Bollywood!
Maybe because it is so close to our culture and we can relate a lot with the characters and the plot, Bollywood seems to be close to our hearts. C’mon, I bet we all have remembered our friends and wanted to go on some trip while watching “Dil Chahta Hai” and “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara,” if not anything else.
And as I am writing this, a list of Bollywood tunes is blaring on my iTunes, and I cannot stop saying, “There’s something about Bollywood!”