It’s glitzy, glamorous, and rhymes with Hollywood… it’s the very dramatic, very Indian, and very fabulous Bollywood!
After a hectic venture to the train station, we arrived at the infamous, enormous Raj Mandir Theater in Jaipur, India for a screening of House Full II. Though we may not have been in the actual Bollywood, the big screen and buzzing crowd was enough to make it feel like the real deal.
We bought snacks of Samosas, lemon sodas, and chocolate bars. When I asked if he had change for a 100 rupee bill in the changeless Jaipur, he responded “No Problem!”, yet administered my 5 rupees change in the form of cheap candy. Oh well…
The lights faded in the lobby 15 minutes before the screening and the illuminated theater revealed a crowd dawning silk saris and traditional tunics. We slid into a row amongst Indian teenagers and families, and by the number of stares, soon recognized that we were the only foreigners at this screening. We found refuge from the attention as the lights dimmed, but then the true ridiculousness began.
Imagine a story of trickery and deception encompassed in an extravagant display of physical comedy, enormous group dance numbers and a Hinglish script.
We were able to work out the bits about an arranged engagement that sours when the man finds a new woman to love. Then, in attempt to seek revenge on another family, a series of staged engagements converge on an island, in a house divided, and eventually in a palace for a wacky yet tremendous eight person Bollywood wedding.
Don’t get it? Probably because even after watching it, the movie made just enough sense to be terribly confusing.
Though the finer details of the twisted plot were lost in translation, plenty of drama, some shoddy special effects and the occasional English “What have you done?!” served as an illuminated walkway to eventual understanding.
So my very first venture to a Bollywood film was altogether better than expected. It was crazy but genuinely funny, well produced, and filled with elaborate song-and-dance numbers that were as catchy as the slightly modified Western originals.
Only the truly stoic could have left without breaking a smile and that’s more than I can say about most Hollywood romantic comedies.
Not interested in going to a Bollywood movie anytime soon? You can also check out some of the wacky movies coming out of the enormous cinema industries of the United States (Hollywood), Nigeria (Nollywood), Indonesia, Hong Kong & Egypt.
Have you ever had a funny experience in a foreign movie theater? Let me know in the comments below! (If you can’t see Facebook comments, click here: Raj Mandir and Mid-Day Adventures with Bollywood)