If you’re not hooked on Bollywood movies, music, and dance yet or have not even heard of Bollywood, then you have overlooked a cultural element that is as essential to international interest as the Bee Gees were to disco. If you haven’t seen the 1998 Bollywood film Dil Se with the earthy and ethereal dance choreography danced within surreal imagery that gives sexual tingles while spiritually pleasing the soul- especially the Bollywood dance scene on a traveling train with several cars moving through a treacherous landscape while Shah Rukh Khan, the Tom Cruise of India, gyrates sexually and soulfully to the song ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya’ with the pretty Manisha Koirala and a load of other dancers, men with the men and women with the women (all the sexual play is between the two stars)- then you must give Bollywood a look-see. You just might get Bollywood fever and become a fan. (Get the scoop on charismatic, sexy, handsome Shah Rukh in this article ).
Bollywood Film- The Indian film industry’s greatest Hindi-language movie production is of the Bollywood genre, which mainly springs out of Mumbai, formerly called Bombay-hence the Bollywood tag, a name-blend of California’s Hollywood and India’s Bombay. The name arose in the 1970s when India overtook the USA as the world’s largest producer of films. Within the Bollywood category are most movie genres such as- action, thriller, mystery comedy, romance, and musicals. Yet, regardless of whether or not a Bollywood film is labeled a musical, the film will more than likely have song-and-dance numbers.
Bollywood Music- Numerous characteristics make the music appealing, including its upbeat-ness and innate Indian flavor. For instance, well-known Hindu singers with extraordinary voices sing the songs. The lyrics are often about the eternal interplay between a man and woman. Loving her at first sight, the male star woos, the female star seduces. He sings, she sings (mouthing the words of the real singers as they dance, often vigorously). She seduces with her eyes and body and then runs, he playfully pursues, she won’t say why she runs away, he keeps pursuing and tries to persuade her of his love, she hurts his feelings and he loses his high spirits, she tries to persuade him she likes him after all, he declares his love again, she won’t tell him why she can’t be with him. When she is convinced of his love, she lets him see hers. She is his universe. In each song, the male and female take turns singing (rather than together). The music for this emotional interchange of everlasting love is often lively and very uplifting. You don’t have to know Hindi to catch the drift. And along with the magical and sensational singing, is the dynamic dancing.
Bollywood Dance- The women’s costumes are often Hindu-lavish, colorful, and sexy- whether traditional saris or Western dress. The women, wearing enticing heavy makeup and glittering jewels, often show off bare midriffs; the men look ultra-masculine in silk kurtas or sherwanis. The women dominate with their femaleness; the men dominate with their maleness. The women use their eyes, bright smiles, and sensuously-shaking hips to flirt and seduce. The men look at them with smitten faces smoldering with desire. The Bollywood choreography combines traditional Indian dance styles, especially Bhangra, with Western dance Modern, Jazz, and Hip-Hop. The dancing is vigorous and more difficult than it seems- in exertion and technicality. Done well, it takes strength, precision, coordination, soul infusion, and abandonment. The Bollywood number on So You Think You Can Dance Season 5- danced to ‘Jai Ho’ from Academy-Award-winning film Slumdog Millionaire– was a huge hit.
Bollywood Exercise- Here, we could use the queen of high-and-low impact aerobics, Jane Fonda. While Bollywood exercise DVDs abound on Amazon, including a Bollyrobics one, they do not come up to the high standard of Jane Fonda’s exercise videos, especially her ‘Lean Routine’, which has different degrees of difficulty (and three time lengths- 20, 40, or 60 minutes) that keeps everyone moving and burning off the fat as well as maintaining the interest with clever aerobics choreography. And need I mention Jane’s expert vocal instruction as well as that of her co-starring instructors Jeanne Ernst and Laurel Sparks. Yet, even so, buying a Bollywood exercise DVD is worth the money. Of course, if you want live instruction, you’ll find Bollywood dance and exercise springing up in dance studios across the country.
Shah Rukh Khan (SRK), worldwide Bollywood star- There are many Bollywood stars, male and female. The top one during the latter part of the last century was Shah Rukh Khan. Still a young man at 43 and still hot to look at, Shah Rukh remains among the top ten Bollywood male stars in the twenty-first century. If you look him up on the Internet Movie Data Base (imdb.com), look him up as Shahrukh Khan, his birth name. But he prefers Shah Rukh Khan. His two latest completed films are Billu (2009) and Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008). In post-production is Dulha Mil Gaya (2009). In production for 2010 is My Name is Khan, a romantic drama. For this film, Shah Rukh is filming not just in India but also in various California cities as well as in Washington, Pennsylvania. When he was held unjustly by U.S. Customs at Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey in mid-August of this year, there was media brouhaha about it here and in India.
Shah Rukh’s nonfiction experience with U.S. authorities ironically echoed his fictional experience in the film he came to America to make- that of being mistaken for a terrorist, just because of his Muslim surname. This actor becomes his roles- perhaps too well- and yet exudes his own brand of limitless fiery passion, vitality, athleticism, and talent. The latest scoop is that he will star in Danny Boyle’s upcoming thriller Bombay Velvet. Mr. Boyle, who co-directed Slumdog Millionaire, really wants SRK for the lead in first part of the three-part film.
Shah Rukh Khan received an honorary doctorate in Arts and Culture from the University of Bedfordshire in England on July 10, 2009. Also in 2009, he was named by Newsweek magazine as one of the world’s fifty most influential men. After all, he has hundreds of millions of fans, who call him King Khan (not unlike Elvis Presley having been known as ‘The King’ or Michael Jackson as ‘The King of Pop’). If you can’t find Shah Rukh’s films in your local video store, look for them on Internet stores and on Netflix- I have several in my Netflix queue. In fact, my next Shah Rukh film is Om Shanti Om– yes, you got it- a romantic Bollywood musical!
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