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Somalian Families

On a cab i took recently; from Lambert, STL to Chesterfield, i met a real interesting fella, Mo. Now though i don’t look American, there are too many Indians in US (even in the Midwest!), so people don’t assume nationalities by the way that they look. For some reason there was an air of discomfort around, to break which I got talking to him about St. Louis Rams and in a while realised that he isn’t a national either. In a while i learnt that he was from Somalia and he gathered that I’m from India. Bang! There was the Ice breaker – Bollywood! It didn’t take me much time to realise that he’d pretty much seen the entire spectrum of movies that I had. Movies as old as Awaara and as idiotic as Mela. He knew almost every actor of the indian cinema that was worth his two cents. “I can’t understand individual words in Hindi but after so much exposure; i can put two and two together and pretty much understand everything.” is what he told me and it almost seemed true.
But the most interesting part is yet to come… Apparently, everyone watches Indian movies because they tend to be much more fun (not quite as intense as Hollywood); have great songs and can be watched ‘with the family’. Wait, it gets better, he continued “But now even Bollywood is catching up… I saw a movie the other day, ‘The Train'”… (I’m thinking Good Lord! Hail Emraan Hashmi!) …”and i saw some real Kiss action man! No kidding… In a couple of years I bet we see titties.”… (yeah, too bad Raj kapoor died in 90s or we’d have by now)…”But i hope they don’t we’ve got american cinema for that; If Hindi movies go that way, what will people watch with their families?”
I was stupefied the rest of the ride…

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Categories: Bollywood, Culture, Movies, Society
  1. Knickknacky
    October 5, 2007 at 9:47 AM

    Bollywood seems to have finally carved a niche for itself in the world entertainment arena. If the Somalian fella is for real, it is indeed stupefying to realize the amount of responsibility Bollywood shoulders for delivering quality( the typical Bollywood quality that is) entertainment the world over

  2. saurabh
    October 8, 2007 at 9:26 AM

    hehe… at least bollywood films are successful in conveying that there is no nudity or kissy missy on the Indian roads… it would be quite interesting though to see the general perception on bollywood cinema there … also internet has made movies very much accessible so people just keep looking for latest stuff, and download them … adds to the pace ..

  3. Hemanth
    October 17, 2007 at 5:50 AM

    I think its very simple.
    People interested in ‘holes’ resort to Hollywood and the ones interested in ‘boli’ (more talking less bang-bang) move to Bollywood.
    And see they are named so for a reason.

  4. November 12, 2007 at 12:12 PM

    Well I dislike the word ‘Bollywood’ and the westwards looking naysayers. Every cinema is tightly coupled with its place and people. No wonder Europe has seen bleak movies and hope plays quintessential part of Hollywood movies.

    Hindi cinema has its own grammar which is to be made redundant, simplified and overt where the overt tends to tautological.

    for example It is universal in approach as it has to appeal a large and diverse audience as India. Surely Hollywood movies have their own stereotypes – Americans saving the world from catastrophe, teen movies etc.

    I hate people who would appreciate Matrix without understand and iota of it but would carp about Hindi Cinema song and dance routine. Hindi cinema is bound to be escapist as who would want to watch a depressing movie after a day’s toil when a large part of populace doesn’t get basic civic amenities. Cathartic movies are different than so called ‘realistic’ movies.

    Now there is a lot of banter for following things:

    * Bollywood tending to Hollywood: Genre based movies, dark movies will lead to angrezification of Indian Cinema. Such kind of linear extrapolation kills the whole process of creativity.

    * Bollywood as India’s flag bearer to outside world: It is still a crude form of entertainment for a third world country apart from argumentative and indolent game of cricket and favorite passtime of copulation.

    * Cross over: Now every other actor worth his/her athanni is supposed to crossover. Seems more of an illegal immigration than cultural fusion. Bride and Prejudice was not a cross over movie. It was deeply seeped in Indian context with mutual skepticism. Watch east is east to have a look at cross over.

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