Ode to Bollywood

It’s been a week for reading. Aren’t books a marvelous way to cope with bad news, out of town significant others, and heat advisories? This week I’ve read The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, and Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. All of them marvelous.

Then when my husband returned from his trip, it was a weekend for TED talks and movies. SRK’s TED Talk prompted me to share my love of Bollywood greatness today. Because like SRK, I feel really sad for friends who have never seen any of his movies. So much so that it is one of my go-to icebreakers: “Have you seen Shah Rukh Khan’s latest movie? Who is SRK?” Introverts have to have a plan for when time are tough.

My interest in Bollywood started in high school, when a classmate put together a PowerPoint presentation on Hrithik Roshan. Not that I remembered his name, but I did remember that he has two thumbs on his right hand. That fact is hard to forget.

(He used to hide his two thumbs…wonder why?)

Bollywood. Sounded interesting. I went to Blockbuster (yes, times have changed,) that weekend and asked where the Bollywood movies were. Adam Brody (yes, for reals,) told me that they didn’t have any. And because it was 2002 that was the end of my trip down the Bollywood rabbit hole.

(Yup, he looked just like that, but in a blue shirt.)

Years later, one afternoon in my college days, my brother-in-law and sister rented one of Hrithik’s films from Netflix. “Amelia, your boyfriend is here. Don’t you want to see him?” Yes, I had mentioned at the dinner table at some point during high school the Bollywood movie star with three thumbs. My BIL knew exactly who I was talking about.

And so, as a freshman in college, I watched my first Bollywood film and learned about THE DOUBLE ROLE (think Lindsey Lohan (or Hayley Mills) in The Parent Trap but for the star of an action movie/romantic comedy/musical). I learned the crazy mash up of genres that is a Bollywood film: Cringed inducing on-screen blood. “Whoa, this is a little violent for a musical.” Sister corrected me, “It’s not a musical; it is Bollywood.”

I learned the joy of idiosyncratic subtitles: “Wait, she just said that she was going to her Uncle’s ‘Outhouse’ for the weekend?”

And my head started spinning: “Did you like it, Amelia?” I was too shocked to know. “Wow… It was uh, it was long. I think I have a paper to write.” Head continued to spin throughout college.

Years later, I was married, mommy to a baby girl, living in Mississippi, and proud owner of my very own Netflix subscription (that included instant streaming with the two DVDs that came to our brick mailbox. Yes, times have changed). I went to visit my sister and BIL in CA and they said, “Amelia, you have to see this. It’s Hrithik’s latest.” They started streaming Dhoom: 2 on Netflix.

They showed me the beginning, and I laughed till I couldn’t breathe. Y’all, it is amazing. I loved it. When we returned to Mississippi, I shared with my hubby. He laughed and said, “No, we are watching all of it now.” It was glorious!

I asked my BIL for more recommendations. He told me about Rab Ne Bana De Jodi. It is just about my favorite movie ever. This movie is the best. Watch it. Fall in love. Tweet me about it so I can relive the joy of seeing it for the first time!

I demanded more recommendations.

Did you know that Shah Rukh Khan is the only self-made-man in Bollywood?

And I have enjoyed a steady diet of Bollywood ever since.

(Favorite dance sequence ever in this one.)

Then there’s the one where Hrithik flies around Singapore in a flowing trench coat and mask:

Life is better with Bollywood. And reading subtitles is fun– makes me feel super smart and cool. “Why yes, I do have a bowl of popcorn and my reading glasses on.” Just kidding, I never wear my reading glasses… unless needles and thread are involved.

So what are you into that makes your life better? Comment below and share the joy!


  • Ona June 24, 2017 Reply

    Bollywood is amazing. What’s even more amazing is that SRK did a TED talk. And I didn’t know about it.

    Your story about Adam Brody reminds me of our first morning in Tokyo. The director of Om Shanti Om, Farah Khan (no relation to SRK) just happened to be wandering the grounds of Sensoji too. I wanted to go all fangirl on her, but Will said no. Kinda wish I did now. Nobody there recognized her.

  • Amelia Hollingsworth June 27, 2017 Reply

    But now you know and can watch and enjoy–unlike SRK’s live TED audience. It made me so sad when (many) of his jokes bombed.

    I wish you’d gone fangirl on Farah. If you had, then I’d be only one degree of separation from her… which means I’d be only two degrees of separation from SRK. And then I wouldn’t feel this need to write books and explain the complexities of adulthood, love, and my(our?) need for stories in novel form because my life would be beautifully whole.

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