Bollywood - Take Two...
November 5, 2007
So there is a movie that many people have been talking about since I first arrived in India. It’s called ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa’. Ask an
Indian and they will tell you how funny this movie is. I had every intention of seeing ‘Jab We Met’ (a romantic kind of movie)
but one of the guys at my hotels steered me in the direction of the former.
I was now on my way to seeing the second Bollywood movie of my life while in India (since it’s technically the third in my life
since I watched ‘Monsoon Wedding’ on Netflix at home).
Last year I saw Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna in palace that was converted into a movie theatre in Jaipur. Kind of a hard act to
follow. Today I went to a multiplex just like at home. Except I don’t need to walk through a metal detector at home. And I don’
t need to surrender my camera at home. And there isn’t a Baskin Robbins housed in the lobby at home. I went to my seat
(yup, assigned seating even when there’s only 10% occupancy) with my Baskin Robbins strawberry milkshake in hand (what
were the odds that I was craving one of these just the other day? Ahhh…takes me back to my kiddy days when this was our
treat after coming home from having our teeth pulled at the dentist.).
After the commercials, a big India flag covered the movie screen. It was time for everybody to stand for the national anthem.
Did we do this last year? I don’t remember. I will have to check my journal later.
And now let the movie begin!
Last year the movie I saw was set in New York. It was a great way to get in touch with things back home but it also set some
false expectations. For example, it made me believe that all Bollywood movies were approximately 20% in English (it’s not just
movie scripts but also everyday Indians that like to bounce around speaking Hindi and then some English). This is not the case.
I learned that today. Maybe 20 words in the entire movie were in English. And considering my Hindi vocabulary extends to
three words, let’s just say I was at a disadvantage. However, it was great to see a movie based in India. Especially since it was
based in Varanasi and we were just there. Every time I saw a scene on the river, I was reminded of how beautiful it was out
there. (And every time they showed the spiritual people underneath their umbrellas, I was reminded of how duped I got out
Another difference was that last year the movie I saw had lots of singing and dancing incorporated into it. I loved these parts of
the movie. I thought all Bollywood movies were like that. Not so. The first song-and-dance part of this movie was more out of
an MTV video. A rather old-school MTV video. And it didn’t even fit in. The movie was playing. A scene was happening. And
then it all of a sudden changed to this music video. And once the movie video was over, it went right back to the movie. Then, a
few minutes later, the song was playing in the background of the movie. Totally bizarre. I wonder if that’s how most movies
out here incorporate the song-and-dance into the movie. I wasn’t a fan. I preferred the style of the movie last year much
But here’s the kind of funny part. Last night when my taxi was taking me to my hotel, a Bollywood-like song came on the radio.
I was really liking it but had no idea in the world what it would be from. All I knew was that it said ‘Hare Krishna’ a lot. So what
would be the odds that this would be the MTV-like video that flashed during the movie? Itunes – here I come!
And now I should make mention of the obvious difference of senses of humors that Indians have to us Americans. I can’t think
of one adult at home that would really find this movie funny. I guess this might be a bit unfair of me since I couldn’t
understand the dialogue – but I know what I was watching. The premise was that there was a man who was spooked out
because apparently the palace he lived in was haunted. Possibly a ten year old would find it funny. But there were male adults
who couldn’t stop laughing.
I also got another component with this movie that I didn’t get last year – the crazed psychotic girl. And we are talking over-
the-top crazed and over-the-top psychotic. But with one session of hypnosis, she was fixed and everyone lived happily ever
after. And this was after she attempted to repeatedly axe her husband’s head off. At least that was more entertaining that
watching a man be scared by ghosts.
As with the movie last year, it was played at a deafening volume. I am almost sure that this played a factor in my having an
intense headache upon leaving. (Why do I never carry Advil around with me? Having it in my suitcase really makes no sense. I
need to remember to move it to my purse when I get back to the hotel.)
So now I am batting .500 with my Bollywood movie selections. I loved my pick last year. This time, not the case.
Just checked my journal from last year. I never wrote anything about the Indian national anthem. I guess that means it didn’t
But I did write down that last year the movie cost me 60 rupees. Today it was 110 rupees. It was less to see the movie in a
palace than in a multiplex? Baffling, I tell ya.
Billboard of the movie.