Navigation | “Bollywood” from the perspective of U.S. Pop Culture-Lilian Medford

“Bollywood” from the perspective of U.S. Pop Culture-Lilian Medford

As a dancer, I spent most of my adolescence watching So You Think You Can Dance on TV. I still remember in season 2 when the producers of the show decided to introduce a new genre of choreography to their stage: Bollywood. I was captivated by the richness of the choreography and the upbeat feelings watching it always left me with. I now realize, however, that this first glimpse into Bollywood was somewhat unrealistic. While SYTYCD uses traditional Bollywood choreography, the music choices are almost always catering to an American audience. For instance, many of the most popular dances have been adaptations to A.R. Rahman’s Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack. As I mentioned before in a previous post, I think it’s sad that what many Americans associate with Indian film is Slumdog Millionaire, a really westernized movie (I personally love that film, but I now realize it’s far from all that’s out there, and there’s so much more Indian cinema that I think is far richer now).

Bollywood, however, has recently come to the foreground of my focus in American Pop Culture. I’m not sure if it’s just in conjunction with this course material, but I certainly notice a lot more “Bollywood” influence around, and when I talk to people about this class, they always have interesting perspectives to share with me.

At the very beginning of this semester, a new ‘episode’ of Neil’s Puppet Dreams with Neil Patrick Harris came out, called “Neil Patrick Harris dreams BOLLYWOOD!” Since I had only seen DDLJ and watched Dil Bole Hadippa out of curiousity when Professor Anjaria had mentioned it briefly in class, I had very little exposure to Bollywood. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but thinking, “Is this really how we (Americans) view Bollywood??! There’s so much more richness there than a dance with a shirtless guy and an Indian cow!” I mean, the video still made me laugh, but I was really wary of it as a glimpse of Bollywood culture.

Flash forward to Om Shanti Om. Now, having seen a dozen or so Bollywood films, the first thing I think of when I see King Kahn in Dard-E-Disco is how much this scene reminds me of Neil’s Puppet Dreams.


It just goes to show that Neil Patrick Harris has probably seen a lot more Bollywood than I have. Not only that, but you totally can’t judge anything about a Bollywood film until you’ve seen quite a few and have more perspectives to compare it to. Though this is probably the end to my watching Bollywood for credit in college, I am not stopping here. I can’t wait to spend my summer nights watching more and gaining more perspectives on what this Bollywood thing really is.

Filed by lime at May 15th, 2013 under Uncategorized

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