Bollywood, Baby...
The movie I saw.
Sure is different from our theaters.
Back to India.
August 14, 2006

I just had my first Bollywood experience. Actually, I lie. I did watch a flick on the plane ride over here. My eleven year old
friend Abby who was sitting next to me would inform me that the psycho chick in the movie is a psycho chick in every movie
that she is in. I would also be involved in a game of UNO with Abby and his mom (where I was the victor), but I am

Today would be my first experience in an Indian Cinema. It was a lot snazzier than our movie theaters back home. Here they
had one large cinema where they play one movie. The movie would be the new release by director Karan Johan called ‘Kabhi
Alvida Naa Kehna’ (I am filling you in on this information because I recommend that you try finding it either in independent
theaters or on Netflix when it becomes available). In the movie were several of the popular Bollywood actors.

But back to the actual ‘movie’ experience in India…

First of all, it put me out 60 rupees – the equivalent to less than $1.50. The food was extremely cheap inside – thirty cents for
candy, fifty cents for popcorn, about twenty cents for samosas, etc. They would ring a bell when it was time to enter the
cinema. We found our seats (assigned seating) and the movie began just a few minutes later.

At home, movie theaters are quiet when the movie begins. Not here. People talk, cell phones ring (and get answered), babies
cry, people walk up and down the aisles, etc. Maybe this is the reason for the louder-than-usual volume. The movie was
approximately 80% in Hindi and 20% in English. No worries as it was extremely easy to follow (with the exception of missing
out on what people were laughing at during some of the Hindi dialogue). There was also the fun dancing that Bollywood films
are known for.

The movie gave me a piece of ‘home’ as it was set in New York City. I saw people wearing Abercrombie & Fitch, Starbuck’s
cups being carried, and Bank of America ads posted in train stations. The main theme of the movie was infidelity. So much for
me thinking everything is hunky-dory in Hindi marriages (Kumar would inform me after the movie that it is getting to be
more common in India as women are becoming more independent out here as well and not needing to rely on the man).

There was a point where the curtain went down (yes, there was a curtain!) and I sat there and thought “Wow, that ending left
a lot of questions out there.” Then the word ‘Intermission’ appeared. I feel that is a very kind thing to do with long movies (we
were already almost two hours into it) as a bathroom break is often needed at this time. The movie started up after the bell
rang in the lounge.

One other thing that occurred in an Indian theater was that the power went off…three times. It wasn’t too long before the
power came back and we were again watching the drama taking place between the two couples. In the end, there was a scene
that…despite the dialogue being in Hindi…produced tears from my little eyes.

I am really hoping that this movie is available at home when I get back so I can see it with subtitles and have more of an idea of
what they were saying. In the meantime, their acting more than got the point across of what happened in the end…


August 17, 2006

Okay. Now I know I was totally wrong with my thoughts at the Taj Mahal. Maybe I got too swooped up in the whole ‘love’
theme of the place that I was not thinking too clearly. I was under the impression that everything was 110% blissful with all of
the Indian couples that I was watching. I am sure
some of them were more than happy. Hopefully even a lot of them were.

Watching this movie already made me a bit skeptical of my thoughts. Then I bought the soundtrack to the movie. Inside there
is an editor’s note. This is what Karan Johar wrote:

There are three kinds of married people in the world. First, whose marriages are arranged, I’ve never quite understood
that, but I’m sure they know what they’re doing. Then there are those that fall in love and marry their soul mates. These
few, I believe, are the most fortunate people in the world. And lastly, there are those couples that marry for their parents,
for money or play it safe and marry a friend. These are the most unfortunate ones in the world… and they don’t even know
it. Until one day, riding the fast train of life they run into their soulmate, and are faced with the hardest question of all. What
do you do when you meet the love of your life and you’re married to someone else? What do you do? What do you do?

See… Even though things seem so different in this country called India, they really are not too much different from at home…