Monday, November 16, 2009

Why a white girl watches Bollywood movies...

My new favorite blog isn't Bollywood related - it's a blog called Sociological Images, which analyzes Western pop culture output and how we are meant to consume it. I bring this up because of a constant niggling concern regarding my love for Bollywood. I am not Indian nor of Indian descent, so what is the best way to explore my love for Bollywood without venturing over into either cultural appropriation or exoticism.

My heritage is a typical motley American mix: German, English, Scottish, Irish, and a bit of Cuban for good measure. From time to time I get comments asking why I don't just stick to my own culture. Well, actually, I do like my own culture just fine. I love attending the German Weinactsmarkt at the local German language church in Baltimore every year. I read copious amounts of British literature and listen to Scottish pop music. And just because I don't write about it doesn't mean that I don't enjoy visiting famous American Civil War battlefields (I had
three ancestors in the War - two fighting for the North and one for the South.)

The reason I started writing about Bollywood online is that nobody in my real life really cares about it. I have people to discuss the latest episode of
The Office or Doctor Who with but nobody wants my theories on Karan Johar and Shahrukh Khan's relationship. Therefore, I turned to the Internet. And I think that being able to write and communicate with Bollywood lovers from all over and of all different nationalities has saved me from falling into the dual traps of cultural appropriation or exoticism.


It's very easy for people who are unfamiliar with a culture to fall into this way of thinking and I admit to having been guilty of this to varying degrees in the past. While what initially drew me to Bollywood was my love of film songs, I would be lying if I said that the elaborate costumes and beautiful actors and actresses didn't help further my interest. The visuals in Bollywood are extremely different from what we are used to in the West and it took sometime for me to be able to normalize and make sense of them.

Take a film like
Dil Se. This was one of the first Bollywood films I saw and although I loved it immediately (and continue to love it) my reactions to it have changed. I remember being just as taken with the colorful celebrations surrounding Shahrukh's character's wedding to Preity Zinta as I was with the amazing song picturizations. To me, then, unfamiliar with Indian culture, I thought he was choosing the simplicity of Manisha Koirala over the elaborate Preity Zinta. It's not until re-watching many, many films later that I understood the mundaneness of the wedding scenes and how normal and middle class it all was. Preity's character wasn't an exotic princess dancing in Kerala but just a normal girl with a normal middle-class life.

This is the danger of watching something from another culture without context - exoticism can blind you to the main points a film is trying to make, which is what I sense whenever I read glowing reviews by Westerners of average Bollywood films (and I'm looking at you, Rachel Saltz of the
New York Times - Rab Ne was an okay film, but SRK fangirl-ism should be saved for your personal time) or when reviews mention an "authentic slice of life" or "colorful ethnic costumes" while ignoring the fact that film is just average. And I wonder how much of this exoticism is reversed, too, with the glowing reviews that many average Hollywood films get from Indian reviewers.

Ideally, there is room for both Hollywood AND Bollywood (still not a typo, spell checker) and the film industries worldwide to compete without the fetishization of the "other" but somehow, I don't think it will happen anytime soon. Until that glorious day, we'll just all have to keep in mind the perils of exoticism and try to watch ourselves watching movies to see if we are reacting to the story as intended or caught up in the "otherness" of it all.

Othering and Objectifying

This is another tricky subject. Bollywood is certainly good at providing eye candy but from time to time, I get uncomfortable in enjoying the spectacle. Is it really okay for me, as a white American with all the cultural baggage that comes with it, to enjoy lusting after Hrithik Roshan and Kangana Ranaut as much as I do? Personally, I think all of us non-
desi fangirls (and boys) are in the clear enjoying Shahrukh Khan and Hrithik and the rest because we don't like them because of their race or culture. We like them because they are global superstars and they have clearly defined public persons that encourage our adulation. This isn't Gwen Stefani and her nameless Asian backup dancers - we like Shahrukh the STAR, Akshay the STAR, etc. Their individual personalities are a large part of their charms.

With the actresses, I think things get tricker just because Asian women are so often fetishized by white media and white men. I do feel uncomfortable with white
guys, especially, enjoying photos of Bollywood actresses because of stories like this one from the blog Stuff White People Do.

One time I went with my (white) partner to see his two white male friends. They had met while they were in Indonesia on a language study exchange program. They all seemed to have had Indonesian girlfriend(s) or ‘girlfriend(s)’ while there. It was the first time I was meeting these two men. But no sooner had I sat down then I felt a sense of ‘yuck’ dumped onto me like a vague slimy mass. I felt as though his friends saw me as an ‘Indonesian woman’ as opposed to just a person or even just a woman. It was as though they saw me more as an Asian decoration that a white man could f*** (in both the literal and figurative sense).

There will always be an element of this kind of "yuck" with the white admiration of Asian actresses and better writers than I have tackled it. That's not to say that white men can never date Indian women (my brother has been dating a woman of Indian descent for about 7 years now) but it is something I try to be aware of when presenting images of Indian women on my blog. I like to do the "Bollywood Beauty" bits with different actresses in photo shoots but I aim (and hope that I succeed) to present these women as personalities - like Bebo - rather than
Harajuku Girls.

(And an added note: I have a whole other post on the objectification of white women in Bollywood.)

Cultural Appropriation

Ah. This is the big one, I think. When I get e-mails telling me to stick to my culture only, I have a feeling the (legitimate?) fear of cultural appropriation is behind the anger. Here is the thing, though, and maybe this should be a separate post, but obsessing over
Bollywood film is different from obsessing over India. I know I'm not Indian. While I may pepper my writing with filmi phrases from time to time, it's not an attempt to desi-fy myself. Adding a yaar or something to a sentence is usually one of two things for me - either I've been watching a lot of movies and because my ear has tuned to the Hindi I feel the need to slip something in, or there just isn't a way to say something in English that I want to convey.

What this fear of cultural appropriation shows is a very strong bond for some people between Bollywood and an Indian identity. It is inconceiviable for some folks that I could appreciate Bollywood films as just another form of media. I am not sure, since hate mailers rarely include their locations, but I wonder if part of this fear or possessiveness comes from the diaspora, where an Indian identity is defined in opposition to the cultures around them. Viewed from that perspective, seeing me as a white person at the local Bollywood theatre, I'm not out to enjoy a film but to "steal" or "pollute" an Indian-only space.

Another odd little side-effect of this view is that if Bollywood is only Indian, then Hollywood is the default "international" popular cinema. And this view is a large part, I think, of what leads all those reviewers in the Indian press to say things like "we're almost competing with Hollywood" and "this film is almost as good as Hollywood."

But, to my mind, Bollywood is not and has never been strictly a regional cinema. It plays well in Africa, the Middle East, China, and the former Soviet Union - a wide variety of world cultures. Rishi Kapoor was just honored by the Russian government and Shahrukh Khan by the Malaysians. Bollywood is not provincial just because it hasn't caught on in the United States - it's a different style of popular film making from Hollywood films, not a bastardized version of Hollywood films.

Although I am not Indian, I can and do enjoy Bollywood films. Just because I am not Hindu, doesn't mean I can't appreciate stories of religious awakening or reconciliation. Love, whether between a mother and son or brother and sister or two friends or a couple longing to become engaged is a universal emotion. This said, there are some films that I understand aren't targeted at me and that I will not enjoy them -
Love Aaj Kal, for one - and you know what? I don't watch them. But just because I can't identify with a film that explores the specifics of the Indian experience doesn't mean I can't laugh my butt off at Partner or weep at Omkara. Some stories are universal, or at least can be appreciated on a universal level if one puts a little effort in.

So, how to tie this up together?

As a white person, I need to be aware of how I am consuming popular cultures from other parts of the world. Exoticism and cultural appropriation - such as Gwen Stefani's "Harajuku Girls" - are traps too easy to fall into. But there is a big difference between hitting up the local Indian theatre to go to a film and wearing a sari to a formal event; a difference between getting your hands henna'ed at a street fair and Natalie Portman as a "Bollywood princess" in a music video. As the Internet flattens out the plane of popular culture, I don't think there is anything wrong with non-desi people watching Bollywood films just as people around the world watch Hollywood. America and the west don't have a monopoly on the global popular culture. People should be free to like Tom Cruise, Shahrukh Khan, Bae Yong Joon, or Kimura Takya no matter WHERE they are from.


Rum said...

Filmi girl, this is a great article, and I in fact love it when white people like Bollywood films as I dunno it just gives a sense of community to my theories on Anil Kapoor or KJo and SRK! Lol i try and convert anyone i know to watching Hindi films because film is film the world over and it doesn't matter who you are, you can still enjoy a dance in the fields and produce a reaction from a foreign cinema like Bollywood.

Anonymous said...

You posting this has reminded me of something. My mom has this friend from India. They eventually got each other added on Facebook and he added me because my mother had mentioned my love for Bollywood.

I was talking to him the other day and he was asking me all these questions. He asked if I've seen Dewaar (1975), and I started going on about it. He then told me that he's never seen it, but his father loves it. He said I was a bit freaky for having all this Bollywood knowledge.

I just thought it was kind of funny that he's always going on about all these Hollywood films I've never seen, and I'm talking about all these Bollywood films he's never seen.

Damilola Adejonwo said...

I am just like u. I am a big bollywood fan, even more than u. I have gotten so addicted to it and I watch tons of it. Kangana Ranaut is my favorite actress and let me tell u, a film is made for entertainment for everyone. Though it is an Indian film, it can also be watched by many people because it is entertaining. People tell me the same thing, but I dont care. I will continue to love bollywood till I get tired of it. I even speak Hindi now for my love of bollywood. main hindi baat kar sakta hu, if u kno wat dat mean yaar! WE ARE BOLLYWOOD LOVERS AND PROUD OF IT. I even have a blog dedicated to kangana ranaut called check it out.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post.
I think I'm still guilty of a little exoticism --there is just so much eye-candy to love. Bollywood tells the type of stories I like, and in a style I enjoy. My other favorite "types" of film/TV are British costume dramas, and Hollywood pre-1960s. I find most modern Hollywood boring or disgusting.

Anonymous said...

How is it that you write such intelligent articles? I mean, I agree with a lot of this and sometime in the past I think 'hey, maybe I should write a post about this', but don't think I could put my thoughts into words properly. But you always seem to hit the nail on the head, and I am eternally jealous.

Keep 'em coming!

veracious said...

This is a great post! Can I nick the idea and link back to you on my blog because I'm afraid if I start rambling here it'll get to be way way too long?

I read the post hastily because it's morning and I have class soon but really good points, I love both blogs you mentioned (Sociological Images & Stuff White People Do). It's good to consider these things, how one's innocent hobby may come off as to somebody else. One needs to be respectful but also, we have our right to enjoy the things we like, same as anybody.

Banno said...

Filmi Girl, I really enjoyed this article. I never realized that you could actually get hate mail for liking Bollywood films.

I don't find myself 'exoticizing' Hollywood films so much, just because I think we've seen too many. But I do find myself wondering about art-house cinema from other countries. I know I am more easily swayed, and more forgiving when it comes from elsewhere than I would be if it was an Indian film, just because I am carried away by the strangeness of a culture and a landscape I do not know.

Filmi Girl said...

Thanks for your comments!!

@Rum I try to get people to watch, too, but sometimes I think they are watching the wrong things in a film... :(

@martoufmarty LOL! I love that story! XD

@Damilola Great blog!! I'll have to bookmark it!

@myrna-nora I know! I find a lot of modern Hollywood - especially the "Oscar Bait" films - really boring...

@rhilex I have a lot of practice. I couldn't have written this five years ago. :D

@veracious Sure! I don't mind - it's good to get a discussion going. :)

@banno Yes, I occasionally get hate mail telling me to "stick to my own culture" or sometimes more vile. :(

shell said...

How interesting to come across this blog post today. While I am relieved that I haven't received hardly any hate mail at my own blog, a negative comment on ajnabi's blog the other day propelled me to blog on my own views on cultural appropriation (sort of) just this past week. While I think diversity in cultures in something to be celebrated, I think too much emphasis is put on whether someone should stick to their "own kind". Life is about exploring, learning, sharing, loving and I don't agree that anyone should be restricted based on where they were born. Whether you like Bollywood, Hollywood, European cinema or whatever else for that matter, for it's actors, it's culture, it's location, etc, I think everyone is the world has a right to enjoy whatever it is that brought them there in the first place and expand on that if they want to.
At least we can be assured that we have a community online that respects and supports each other and that I'm thankful and grateful for.
Thanks for the post!!!!

E said...

Maybe because I live in New York City, that wonderful melting pot, I'm always surprised at some people's intolerance of other cultures.

I see my great love of Bollywood equal to my great love of the incredible Pedro Almodovar's films(whom I worship on bended knees). His films are innately Spanish just like "Veer-Zaara" is innately Hindi and I love them all without one canceling the other - on the contrary - I feel that with Bollywood I'm open to a new sensibility in film that may not exist in either European or American films and that's great, all the more for us!! How fortunate for all of us!

(And whether it's George Clooney, Antonio Banderas or Hrithik Roshan, I will be equally accepting of either of them should they choose to call me..)

Anonymous said...

Word, on all accounts. I've been grumbling about the cultural appropriation stuff recently, so that section made me want to applaud. I have acquaintances who can get condescending about my Hindi film-watching, implying I "want to be Indian." But, you know, Hollywood's popularity abroad makes perfect sense, because we're Americans. Americans! Everyone wants to be like us!
It's an odd stance to take, since the same kind of people are typically taken aback by "Western" sounds and English in filmi music, claiming it sounds "stupid", while expressing either neutrality or positivity towards appropriation of foreign languages/sounds into American music.
So, yes! Thanks for the great thought piece!

Filmi Girl said...

@humchale I totally agree with you - and that is a very good point about film music. Have you heard the Weezer song with the "Jai Ho" singer - I don't remember her name - in it?

Anonymous said...

Wow, I stay away for a few days and you write this genius article (it seems too profound to call it a post).


Beth said...

I'm glad people will talk about this. We'll have to see of any of the hate-mailers/hate-commenters - which I have had as well - will pop up.

My basic theory is that engaging with other cultures with respect and as much attempt at understanding context as one can is what life is all about. I remember being so shocked the first time someone (largely anonymous, of course) told me, basically, "shut up, white girl, what right do you have to talk." Then again, I work in a university at a world cultures museum - thoughtfully engaging with other cultures and helping/encouraging others to do so is my calling. Trying to silence or bully voices of commentary and questioning is a dangerous way to go - assuming, of course, that the voices are respectful. Non-respectful, non-effort-using voices need to think twice and try harder.

To end on a lighter note, there's a white woman in my town who walks around in a salwar suit with bindi and henna and gives you the namaste gesture when you pass her on the street. I always laugh at her in my head, but then I think "Well, who am I to judge?" But then I giggle again :)

Ness said...

Really interesting post - I'm relatively new to the world of Bollywood love and thankfully have not as yet encountered any 'backlash' - mainly my European friends are just vaguely bemused by my enthusiasm, and my Indian friends and acquaintances are either equally bemused or excited that I know who Shah Rukh Khan is.

From a film studies perspective, I love Bollywood films ironically partly because of how they quite often display old-school Hollywood influences quite openly, but also because of all the ways they are demonstrably very different from the usual Hollywood fare. Part of the joy is with each film learning a little more about a different culture, or understanding a new filmi reference outside of the little Western bubble we've been raised in. How is loving Bollywood different from loving Italian, Spanish, French, Japanese, British....etc...etc...films? The more we are exposed to the better!!!!

ajnabi said...

I just realized I never commented, just read and ran. :-) I'm like you, I have a lot of pride in my Scots and German heritage, and I love attending the big Highlands meetings we get in this region, the Oktoberfests, etc. But those things are so much a familiar part of my internal landscape that I don't feel compelled to blog about them--if I want to discuss them I can call up my mom, or my husband, who's of the exact same lineage! :-) The blog is more of a way for connecting for me.

I hadn't thought about the objectification of Asian women, since 1) when Americans think of "Asians" they picture Chinese or Japanese descent, and 2) because I have a Japanese sister-in-law I forgot about the nasty stereotypes many hold. Sad but true. :-/

I can't wait for your post on the objectification of white women in Bollywood.

Nicki said...

Wow, you started a great trend on blog world ;)

Sorry that you've been getting hateful, nasty emails. I think it's sad that people have nothing better to do.

Machu said...

Awesome article. But I am curious about the hate mail that you receive.

1) Is the number of hate male proportionally large vis a vis mails of interest about Bollys?

2) Who do you think they are primarily from? Indians or non Indians?

I actually find the non Indians fascination with Bollywood and Indian culture not only fascinating, but also leads me to believe more and more that our values are not very much different. When I read (german) review of bolly movies, They seem moved and laugh at the same points in the plot lines, which shows me that they are almost identical to my and my value system (Indian/Human).

The only time I have been annoyed and irritated is when white people assume stuff about Indians when they make judgemental commments on Caste system and stuff like that after they have seen a few bollywood novies. The primary people who make such comments are the far liberal whites who think they are in tune with these things. IMO, they are usually 95% wrong.

Filmi Girl said...

@machu Thanks!

The amount of hate mail isn't large but it is very strongly worded. There is also a fair amount of "oh, you are white and like Indian culture, so you must be interested in having sex with me." Both are disturbing.

And I agree with your final point. I really dislike when white liberal types try to tell me that Bollywood isn't "authentic," so I can only imagine how super-annoying to must be to you. :) I don't know if you are a regular reader, but I try to critique western reviews of Bollywood whenever I can, just to show how hypocritical and WRONG they usually are.

Anonymous said...

Wonderfully written!

Didn't know about the hate mail, and frankly cannot even understand why it would happen in the first place. Then again, how often does hate mail have a valid reason anyway?

The cultural appropriation argument actually sounds a little outlandish to me, though. How is Indian culture threatened if someone likes bits and pieces of it and integrates it into their lives in any manner whatsoever? I guess my query stems from your use of the word legitimate, even if it is enclosed in parentheses and disclaimed with a question mark :-)

Besides, pretty much every culture appropriates something or the other from other cultures, doesn't it? Don't we (as Indians) appropriate enough and more from the West ourselves?


Filmi Girl said...

@ramsu Thank you! :)

Cultural appropriation is such a tricky subject! I think it all comes down to what your culture means to you. Like, Americans expect that everyone all around the world is going to think we're amazing and awesome and want to be like us, so we see everything through that filter. Americans love when people watch Hollywood but we hate when local cultures adapt bits of American culture into their own products. I'm thinking of the confusion and outrage over things like the Govinda is Superman song that people love to mock on youtube.

For Indian culture, there must be some people who still view things through a post-colonial filter, which is totally understandable and where the "legitimate?" comes in. The western exploitation of India's people is not something that can be forgotten overnight and I wouldn't want people to but I think it makes it harder to have a discussion on cross-cultural pollination.


Maybe I need to do a follow-up post!

Three Wishes said...

What a well articulated post--and such eloquent prose too!

I'm completely guessing here but the haters and people who tell you to retreat to your own culture are probably a small but vocal minority?

And you must be doing something right if they are reacting so strongly. So keep on with your badass gori self :)

Anuradha Warrier said...

I have even forgotten through which means I landed up at your blog; suffice it to say that I skipped through at least four blogs (that I can remember). :) It's always interesting to me to find non-Indians who are interested (truly interested, I mean) in my culture, my language, my traditions. I love to share, and I love to learn what I can about their culture, in turn. There are so many misconceptions on both sides; so many pre-conceived notions, that it makes sense (to me) to be able to discuss, agree (or not) with respect.

My only issue, as someone else mentioned above, is when people exoticise my country, and even today, am asked where I 'learnt such good English'. The implication being that I had to have learnt it *after* coming to the US. AAAAAARGH! (Conversely, when I was in India, I hated the Western = *baaaad* girl trope that a lot of our films (over)used.) To me, both sides could do with some more education - and blogs like yours (and memsaab's) help - really.

This is my first time visiting, but I'm sure to be back. :)

florin said...

Hello! I Am Florin Suteu from Medias, Romania. I like India and Cinema of India too!
Especialy tamil, telugu, bengali, malayalam, and hindi, of course. Also, Cinema of Pakistan, Cinema of Nepal, Cinema of Bangladesh! I am very impress about your knowledge about the cinema of India!! You beat mee by far away!

florin said...

I don t find white people watching Indian movies in Romania now, but in the past, when the only entertainment was to going to cinema, a lot of people new about the industry, here. But today, nobody watch this, only me and some 4,5 another man on the sites.I don t have nobody to talk about.In fact, in Romania, nobody goes to the cinema at all!

florin said...

I like all the Indian cinema since i was 5 years old, i guess, and i still like it now, when i am 38 years old!
Also, i like, Japanese cinema, Europe art cinema, by the way, this is a great cinema, also Romanian cinema is great! Most people confound Indian cinema with Bollywood, witch is not true,they don t no nothing about the rest of allmost 15 other cinema industries in India?

Filmi Girl said...

@Florin Thank you for your comments!! I have a friend from Ukraine and she says the same thing. In the past she would go to Bollywood movies but now it is changing.

I also like Japanese cinema and European art cinema! French films are very nice, I think. And Italian films, too!

florin said...

Still, i ask, white people watch Indian movies? Sadly, i think not!Very, very few people watch these movies! However, there is a growing interested in Indian cinema, as i see from reviews, other sites, and of course the main source of information, Wikipedia!

florin said...

I am so glad that you read my comment! again, sorry for my English!
I don t have to talk with about India cinema! i read all the articles on Wikipedia an i watch the movies from you tube now, sadly those movies don t have subtitles in English!!

florin said...

My last Indian movies was Payaa, tamil movie 2010, and Enthiran, also a 2010 Tamil movie, both movies are great, especially the romantic comedy, witch i like it soo much! By the way, i am in the "tamil-telugu mood" now!

Filmi Girl said...

@Florin I'm in a Tamil mood right now, too! I just saw 3 and it was so good! Now I want to watch all of Dhanush's movies. :D

florin said...

I like your name, "Filmi", it s so funny! Filmi is 75% of music in India!! i downloaded a lot of clips from movies, Filmi music, and i put it on Sd card, and i play those clips when i walk around, so people can heare it, especialy beautiful balades as "Dil Mein Ho Tum Aankhon Mein Tum","Tu Mujhe Jaan Se Bhi Pyaraa hai" (Wardat),but few people like it!Some old people remeberd the old songs from a time when they go to cinema, as "Awara" 1952, "Yaadon Ki Baaraat" 1973. This film, "Yaadon Ki Baaraat" in Romanian was something like "The chain of rememberence", was a enormous succes here in Romania back in the 70 an 80,the cinemas was so full, no tickets were avalible for days and weeks!! I can belive this now!!!

florin said...

Your e in Tamil mood too? great film industry! i want to see all of Tamannaah Bhatia s movies! is so sweet! i read about "3", on Wikipedia, "3" received mixed reviews from critics but largely praising Dhanush's performance.
But where to see it? on torrents nothing, on you tube nothing, i don t have any other opotunity!
you are in USA? is indian movies play on theater there?

florin said...

As for songs, i play now "Dil Mein Ho Tum Aankhon Mein Tum", all the time i m in love with this song! I have a Dell Axim PDA, and i play on it the clips from movies!
the song is from "Satyamev Jayate", 1987 hindi movie.By the way, Satyamev Jayate is the national motto of India!

florin said...

As for the telugu mood, i am in love with a telugu movie, and the title song, somewhat of South Indian Superman!, telugu film 1980, with N T Rama Rao, Is so funny, but the song it was a hit, i like it very much!But this film is nowhere! i don t find it anywhere!

Also i watch "Paglu". a bengali cinema movie, 2011, a romantic comedy too.

I am so happy that you are so open to another cultures, most people are so close on their ways, they don t see the world where they live!!

But sadly, India is such a big country and such a poor country. I study India a lot, but the poverty rate is so great!! one of the poorest country in the world!! I am so sad about that! Cinema is a "heart touch" for almost one billion people!

florin said...

Hello from Romania!today i search on my hard discs, and i found some interesting movies! I watch "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge", a memorable Hindi film from 1995! I even found Romanian subtitles! That s incredible! even the songs are subtitled! To watch an Indian movie and to understand all what they said is super! The couple Sharuk and Kajol are great! Also, the music and filming too!

florin said...

This movie is still playing on a Mumbai theater, Maratha Mandir Cinema
, together with a new release, "Housefull 2". after 17 years! incredible!

florin said...

Hello! Today i watch another Asian movie, but not Indian. The Taiwanese movie Starry, Starry night, 2011. is a hart touching movie, superb picture. i will recommend you with all my heart.

Maulik Barot said...

Hii, I am a Indian and a bollywood fan, by reading your comments and this blog I am overwhelmed and felt happy that you consider this so beautiful and lovely that you discuss this here, Please ask me anything you want to know about India, bollywood, actors, movies , etc .. anything :)

And do come to India, you will get same hospitality which you see in movies, because we call our guests a form of God !

pranavchanchu said...

thanks filmy to put your consideration toward a mysterious island name of india.....what a great thought you possess, you ever most welcome to india to explore more...

barbie doll said...

Hi! Filmi Girl! Hav u seen magadheera. bcoz I 'm also a movie lover like u just wanted 2 share it. Have fun.

RickRiordanFan(proud to be an indian) said...

@Florin got romanian subtitles for DDLJ?!!!whoaaa!!anyone watched "3 idiots"the epic bollywood movie?if not then u should go for it.

manu said...


Ur article was awesome. U hv explained some very complicated and subtle things in a very simple and lucid way.

I hv generally found Hollywood movies much subtle and deep than Bollywood movies(though this has started to change drastically since a decade or so). That is why I was a bit surprised to see a person of ur intellect being a Bollywood admirer. This is not to say that intellectuals cannot become attracted to bollywood.

I was wondering if u use IMDb website to decide about movies. There are many good movies which don't make much limelight and are not big box office successes, but obviously are rated high on IMDb. In case u r missing these kind of movies, IMDb is a great way to go.

Also, just in case, if u will like to hv a authentic, very interesting, subtle, deep, and most importantly, very comprehensive knowledge about Indian Civilisation or Culture, or the affects of Colonisation on Indian Culture and mindset - There are lectures of a UCLA professor named 'Vinay Lal' on youtube, on his channel of the same name. I found them very fascinating and simultaneously very addictive.

manu said...

I will also like to say that in some ways I am jealous of non-indians like you having a admiration of Indian cinema, because, unlike u, I really cannot watch regional indian cinema(like tamil, telegu, etc.) because of the combined fact that first, there is not much appeal for me in those kind of cinemas(as much as to a foreigner), and second, I will have to use subtitles.
If I were in ur place, I would have been probably watching good movies from all over India, which obviously I don't do now.
So, incidentally, this fact might be new and interesting to u that generally middle class hindi speaking indians don't watch any regional cinema, but watch Hollywood a lot, which is ironically more foreign to them!

BDW, when I did some comparison of Hollywood and Bollywood in my previous comment, I didn't meant that I don't like Bollywood, or Hollywood is much better than Bollywood. I watch roughly equal amounts of d two, infact, u can access my movie ratings here, if u like:-

manu said...


In this post you have mentioned about your other post where you discussed objectification of white women in bollywood, but didn't provide any links for the same. Can you please post the link to that post as I am not able to search it in your entire blog.

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