Friday, May 20, 2011

Bollywood 101

Mixed reviews for the Bollywood tribute at Cannes, critics divided but audience reportedly enthusiastic. Reading the reviews makes me want to see it even more. 81 minutes of the best of Hindi film's musical numbers would be heaven to me--like an uber-wonderful YouTube playlist on the big screen. Orgasmic. For Bollywood greenhorns, however, it could be baffling, I imagine.

I learned a long time ago not (NEVER!) to watch an Indian film for the first time with a friend who is not familiar with Bollywood, because I would have to stop the video every few minutes to answer a question: why is he touching her feet--what does that head gesture mean--what's so funny--who's he.... On subsequent viewings, okay--that's how I learned much of what I know too, by asking a lot of questions. But the first time I see a film, I want to enjoy it, uninterrupted.

By now, after decades of immersion in Hindi film, I can't be completely objective about the cultural barriers for the Gora (English subtitle: white people.)

There are great resources on the web. Bollywhat is an excellent, encyclopedic Bollywood 101 site, and for thoughtful AND hilarious reviews and analysis from a gori POV Beth Loves Bollywood is read by everyone.

Now what's needed is a comprehensive, multimedia Bwood 101 site combining the wit and knowledge of the above filmmakers and bloggers with a user-friendly format like that of the new Dhunio, with videos, wiki and witty commentary from viewers, bloggers, critics, and stars.

Putting it out there in the universe....