Hooray For Bollywood

Here’s my latest dirty little secret: I have become a huge fan of Bollywood musicals. I’m not sure when it happened, or if it was instantaneous, but I’m hooked.

Of the couple dozen channels we get on our TV hookup where I work, one happens to be an Indian-language network, which we have on in the background surprisingly often (probably because daytime fare on other channels is either Springer, COPS, Oprah, news shows, judge shows, or soaps — and all those get old after a while). So through that channel, I discovered the joys of their version of American Idol and other popular programs of the country… through this I learned that they have something in their culture much like Spanglish — a montage of Indian and English that really still throws me for a loop when I hear it. Then there are the old Indian movies from the 1970s, with lots of cheesy mustaches and extreme close-ups — gotta love it.

But the best thing that they have to offer, by far, are the musicals. I was reminded of them today at lunch (see my other post today for more details on that), as they played a closed-circuit feed of some Bollywood movies on DVD while everyone was eating.

How to describe this to someone who’s never really seen them? I suppose they have a certain kinship to the lavish MGM musicals of Hollywood’s golden age. One might expect that if Flo Ziegfeld were still alive, and were living in Mumbai, he might be creating wonders such as these. The technicolor scenery and costumes, the entrancing music, the amazing dance sequences — yes, they’re all part of the allure.

But the women. Oh, my. The gorgeous Indian women in these movies. No, not just gorgeous… otherworldly. I’ve never laid eyes on women more beautiful. So lovely, Aphrodite herself would be insanely jealous. I don’t know what they put in the water over there, but whatever it is, it must have fallen from the stars. A friend of mine, who was for a while dating a former Miss India, has told of his voyages to India — of both its graces and its disgraces — but despite all that, I surely need to visit that country one day.

Until then, I’ll be watching these Bollywood musicals featuring those goddesses whose names I can barely pronounce. Yeah, the movies are campy. No, they’re not particularly well-written. But who cares? They’re fun!  And they go very well with curry, too.

© 2007 DJ Holte

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