One of the first months I was here, I was laying in bed one night trying to find a movie to watch. Skimming through the rows of endless free movies (thank you, Netflix!) I came across one that had a picture of a young couple in a dramatic embrace, their faces contorted with the obvious pains of forbidden love. The genre read "Romance", so I clicked "watch".
What followed was a three hour introduction to the world of Bollywood. There was singing, dancing, drama, unbridled cheesiness, and over the top acting. I loved every minute of it. Yes, I winced here and there at some awkward scenes of passion.....actually, after typing that last sentence, I should probably explain a few things before anyone gets the wrong idea about this passion I speak of.
Kissing in India is considered taboo, so movies (if you want them to be accepted by the general public) do not contain kissing. To make up for not being able to utilize this very universal show of affection, there is a lot of hugging. Intense hugging. In this first movie I watched, there was one rooftop scene between the two main characters who are trying to figure out how they can be together even though her parents would never allow it. She would start running away, turn around and speak intensely about her love for him, run back and throw herself into his arms, then run away again and repeat. I kid you not, at least three times this happened. Right in a row. I can appreciate the desire to not want to socially display kissing, but as a member of Western culture, it was slightly painful to watch, because every time she came running back, I so badly wanted him to just plant one on her!! Granted, in the other Bollywood movies I have now seen, there is plenty of kissing other parts of the face/neck/shoulders. Just no lip contact, though there are a lot of close calls, close enough for starry eyed viewers to lean forward with anticipation. You would think this would leave a hopeless romantic such as myself feeling unfulfilled, but it strangely never has. There is still plenty of intense hugging to be enjoyed.
After I finished the movie, I just couldn't wait to see more. I have already exhausted all the free stuff that Netflix offers and have resorted to less than savory websites to find others. Sometimes, there are no captions, so I have no idea what is going on. Also, as I hinted to before, most Bollywood movies are at least three hours long. So if you are wanting to watch one, better be in it for the long haul!
I wonder if my love of old Hollywood musicals has anything to do with my new love of Bollywood. Our American movies these days.....well, they just don't make 'em like they used to. But while I don't know what they are singing about, musical numbers in Bollywood movies pretty much always deliver. Everything is big and colorful and the dancing is awesome! I would be lying if I said I don't now have a sweet collection of Bollywood beats on my ipod. I dance. In my room. In the bathroom. I can't help it. See for yourself:
So just know that if you ever want to ask me to watch a Bollywood movie with you, my answer shall always be: Yes!