Making a choice for B was quite tricky! There are so many things we love about trips that start with B.
Beaches, Baklava, Barcelona, Brussels, Belgium Chocolate, beer, bread, books and of course Bollywood.
How do you choose from a basket of all the awesome stuff?
B for Bollywood
Long before Eat Pray Love, Before Sunrise Trilogy, Under The Tuscan Sun, Midnight In Paris happened to me, DDLJ made me think of everything to take this train!
For most of my teenage years, I thought I was Geet.
I was Meera.
I was Veera.
I was Tara.
I was that Imtiaz Ali protagonist of the film whose story has not yet been told. The thought, the emotion, even the characteristics were similar. The trip was on hold.
I grew up with Bollywood. Aside from the incredible 90s cartoons and a wave of Ekta Kapoor’s K-sagas on TV, Bollywood was my only gateway to a new world. And therefore Bollywood was destined to be one of the biggest influences in my life. And I accepted it wholeheartedly. I may not have watched so many movies in school due to my boarding school life. But back in Bombay, my teens only talked about movies.
This is where the business of films and the urge to wander, slowly but eventually, arose. Looking back, it’s amazing how my world opened up.
It started with Bollywood movies (Hindi movies from the 90s and early 2000s). When I started to take movies more seriously, I moved from Bollywood to Indian cinema. I started watching movies in different Indian languages, even those that were old and unattractive at first. I had barely watched Hollywood movies growing up. Not even the most popular like James Bond or Star Wars. Titanic was probably my first Hollywood movie and I’m pretty sure I watched it years after its release. Finally, I graduated from world cinema. Even today, I remain a Bollywood fanatic at heart. I can tell you about the most random movies. And I certainly have some very questionable Bollywood facts and anecdotes. But I am so happy and grateful that I made this trip.
As a film student, you are often told to watch the same movie again. The idea is to focus and understand a different aspect each time. Watching films allowed me to discover exotic destinations – their beauty, their specialty, etc. But it also helped me discover the difference and similarities between cultures and people’s way of life.
I hadn’t realized that these big chunks of information were being so subtly processed by my brain.
Now that I’m aware of it, I’m definitely dealing with these things more consciously. At the cost of being boring, I often pause a Google Details movie / show. Destination, events, food, distance, culture, etc. It makes the experience even more special and enjoyable when I marry my two favorites: travel and entertainment.
Besides influence, inspiration and information, what I love about Bollywood is how much everyone loves it. I have had so many conversations, friends, great deals traveling overseas purely on the basis of people’s love for Bollywood. Tell them about Raj Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra and Kareena Kapoor Khan and you will certainly find a fan in the lot. They will tell you about the movies they watched, the songs, dances and dramas they love.
There are days, too many, when I am amazed at how Bollywood continues to influence my life and my travels. Whenever the moment comes, I am confident that I will have Bollywood to my rescue.
Fun fact: the only movie I watched in flight on my first solo trip was Queen, subconsciously hoping to muster some courage! (too many clichés, eh?)
Parampara’s choice: Bollywood films that inspire me to travel
On that note, here are my top 5 Bollywood movies that make me want to travel:
1. Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge: Shah Rukh Khan reaching out for Kajol to jump on this train was perhaps an iconic moment in Indian cinema. But it is finally Amrish Puri who says: “Jaa Simran Jaa… Jeele Apni Zindagi” which rings a bell and makes me want to travel once again!
2. Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani: We went there, traveled like Bunny, falling in love with the world every time. We would do it again. And even. AND EVEN!
3. Queen: As I mentioned, I was watching Queen on my way to Istanbul, my first solo trip. Much like the character of Rani, the reminder of courage and adventure that is this world is exactly what I need to start another travel plan.
4. Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara: Come on! After watching ZNMD we all wanted to be on this trip to Spain with our friends. We wanted to go scuba diving and scuba diving and running with the bulls. I’m still only halfway down my list.
5. Festival: “What is happening in Corsica, stay in Corsica!” Meet a handsome stranger on a small French island? Please take me to Corsica. Also in Shimla, to meet Baba (the storyteller). This is the material that dreams of travel are made of! You do not agree?
We all have a Bollywood story in our lives, a story that drives us in the direction of what we ultimately do.
Do you also have one?