Cinematic Experiences Bollywood Style!

We have just spent a lovely evening, my parents and I and my two children, at the cinema, to watch a Bollywood film. I am a firm believer in exposing my children to experiences from their home culture as well as the country they live in.

The movie in question, Dilwale, is a new film, starring two very huge actors from the industry, Shahrukh Khan, and Kajol, a pairing that has seen many successful films made over the years.

Dilwale-MP3-Songs-2015

December 2015

I always love a good Bollywood film, and after a series of comments with a fellow blogger, Syl, I thought I would share some experiences.

Now going to the cinema here in the Western world is one thing, an evening of popcorn, soft drink, and a good film.  The cinematic experience I had in India… on a WHOLE new level!

It has been a good 18 years since I have been to the cinema back home, and I know that, since then, multiplexes, like we have here, have sprung open all over the large cities.  Multiscreen cinemas with bars, restaurants, and bowling alleys, all that sort of thing.  But I can’t help but think the civilised nature of these modern places dulls the atmosphere that there would be in the old style cinema halls.

If you know anything  about Bollywood, you will be aware that to watch one of these films, you need to be prepared for around 3 hours of singing, dancing, drama, comedy, colour, and a whole lotta costume changes!  Luckily for me, I love all of that, and when I got a chance to watch a film in the cinemas back home, I was so excited!

Actors are totally hero-worshipped, and it is not uncommon for people to watch the film many times. This means that when you go to see a film, undoubtedly, there will be some who are saying all the dialogues, alongside their hero or heroine of choice, and when the music is on, the crowd can go wild!

We saw films in Delhi and in Chandigarh, in two quite different cinemas.  In Chandigarh, it was an old Aerodrome that had been converted into this HUGE cinema, and we watched a film that was a very popular at time choice, Border, which was about the Indo Pakistan border, and about the lives of the military personnel there.

Being in the Punjab, and watching it, there was an extra buzz, and the atmosphere was electric! We were sat in the best, air conditioned seats, above many others, but down in the stalls, you could see the fun happening! When a popular song was on, people were singing, and some even dancing in the aisles! When there were emotional moments, or fight scenes, there were voices calling out, telling the characters who to give what for. In general it was quite a civilised experience.  Where there had been queues, people had queued, and there wasn’t a crazy rush to get in.

cinema

The Delhi experience… totally different!

By that I don’t mean it was worse, but we saw things from a different view that time! We arrived at the cinema, 4 women, and there was a huge crowd, waiting to buy tickets. The jostling, pushing and shoving, gave many perverted males a chance to grab handfuls of butt, or try and touch women, and after a few moments of this, my aunt who was with us, went to the security guard, slipped him some money, and got us into the foyer before things officially opened! (It was an easy thing to do there!)

We were unable to secure the best seats, and ended up in the stalls, but not right at the front.  This time we went to watch another popular film from that time, Virasat. I loved the music from this film, and to be in the midst of an audience who ate, slept, breathed Bollywood, it was brilliant! If I wanted to sing along, out loud, I wasn’t going to be stared at by anyone, because they were all doing the same thing!

I didn’t get to see this, but I know they can erect huge outdoor cinema screens too, near villages, where there isn’t a cinema, to allow folk from more rural areas to see films!

Cinemagoers watch a Bollywood film inside a tent cinema in Pusegaon

Cinemagoers watch a Bollywood film inside a tent cinema in Pusegaon in this undated handout realised on February 4, 2010. Cut to a far-flung district in western Maharashtra state, where thousands of farmhands attending a religious festival crowd under giant marquees to watch another movie, on another, similar makeshift screen, a few weeks later. REUTERS/Amit Madheshiya/Handout

Back to today, the film was great, I loved it!  But, there was no singing happening, just avid viewing.  The seats were much cleaner, the snacks more appetising, but the atmosphere nothing like the cinemas in India!

27 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. TanGental
    Dec 30, 2015 @ 23:24:25

    The little Bollywood I’ve seen is epic in every sense. I’m always interested in understanding the cultural backdrop. I wholeheartedly approve of making sure your kids have a deep understanding of their ancestral roots – my dad was born in a village in the Midlands: nothing on the same scale as you but going back to visit to see where he grew up helped round out a picture. And I love the fungibility of how we all talk about ‘home’. For you it clearly crosses continents. It will be fascinating how your children view that concept, as they grow. Lovely thoughtful post Ritu.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Dec 30, 2015 @ 23:33:29

      Thank you Geoffles!
      You’re right, my ‘home’ does span continents! India is the origin, but my parents were born in Kenya, so we have the African influence, then my brother and I were born, and brought up here. The different influences made me what I am today, and I only hope I can do justice to my children, in getting them to feel all these different influences too! And since then, my family has moved to all corners of the world… Canada, the USA, Australia, and with my brother and family in Finland… Well, we’re pretty much everywhere!!!
      Their dad’s family is rooted in India, with him being born and brought up here with his brother, yet their thinking, experiences and upbringing were totally different to mine, because they didn’t have the added Kenyan influence. So again, more experiences for our children to understand!
      Wish you a very Happy New Year Geoffles!!!

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply

  2. lbeth1950
    Dec 30, 2015 @ 14:43:31

    Nothing so good as a shared family experience.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  3. feedingthesonis
    Dec 30, 2015 @ 13:00:47

    I experienced the old style cinema in Fiji which is similar to India’s and they definitely were more fun..especially when people say things out loud in unison or give a dishoom here and there!! I breathe bollywood just luv it. Great post Ritu..now I know you’re as filmy as me.😉👍🏼

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. Erika Kind
    Dec 30, 2015 @ 10:08:43

    Wow, Sis! I don’t know anything about Bollywood movies. But what you wrote here shows a spectacular picture of a community event. I imagine all united within the same excitement and sharing the same interests in such a joyful way. That must be awesome! For sure different than going to a movie over here. Thank you for sharing this beautiful impressions and experiences, Sis!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  5. Prajakta
    Dec 30, 2015 @ 06:07:38

    Movies and family go really well 🙂 Some good ol’ fashioned fun. That said, why Dilwale?? 😛 I mean.. Even though the pair was coming back after years, I couldn’t bring myself to watch it. Bajirao Mastani was a decent watch in comparison

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  6. Judy Martin
    Dec 30, 2015 @ 04:37:51

    I like the idea of the interactive Bollywood experience with people singing and dancing along. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  7. Tony Burgess
    Dec 30, 2015 @ 02:11:23

    My knowledge of Bollywood is limited to Shah Rukh Khan and Aishrarya Rai (sorry for any spelling errors). Are there any English dialogue/dubbed titles you would recommend?

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Dec 30, 2015 @ 10:04:50

      Well nowadays in the western theatres, most are subtitlef, which is great for the youngsters! There are so many great films, I’ll have to get back to you with a list!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  8. syl65
    Dec 30, 2015 @ 01:52:45

    Thanks again, Ritu for sharing!! I remember growing up and going to the movies and depending where you went, the audience really got involved with a lot of talking to the screen, clapping, cheering for the hero, or laughter in unison. I don’t know how it is now, but I think pretty calm compared to some good aisle dancing and singing to a Bollywood film.. great post!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  9. Dara Reidyr
    Dec 30, 2015 @ 01:17:10

    This is interesting Ritu, the difference of experiences and excitement you describe among the different venues. I recently saw Star Wars, waited in a long line of excited people, and when the credits opened, a few people clapped, but all in all, I was really disappointed that people sat there like lumps on a log! In my smaller hometown, when I saw another star wars movie, the place was packed and people stood up cheering when their favorite character was in a light saber duel! That one much more fun to experience 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Dec 30, 2015 @ 01:19:40

      I totally agree Dara! It is so much fun, when people get a little involved! Now Star Wars is such a big thing, I would have expected more craziness, with all the fans, but you’re right, people are so subdued in the West!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  10. Rareity
    Dec 30, 2015 @ 01:14:23

    Pretty awesome you keep your kids educated in the culture still. Nothing is more important then holding onto your roots.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Dec 30, 2015 @ 01:18:04

      Oh I wholeheartedly agree! They don’t speak Hindi, but understand Punjabi, and as long as there are subtitles, they can get along fine! But I really want them to love Bollywood as much as me! It is such fun genre of film, and the music can be awesome!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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