I have a newfound respect for Bollywood. It has nothing to do with the renewed vigor which this community is showing towards quality cinema. But it has to do all with the escapist colorful cinema which is being churned out dime a dozen. Why? You may ask. There is a small industry in Paris which teaches Hindi to Parisians. Yesterday, I was at a dinner hosted by one of the Hindi tutors. He is returning back to Lucknow after completing a stint in Paris. The attendees were mostly his students belonging to different age, sex and color.
The conversation before, during and after dinner were in Hindi. Imagine a non-Indian face talking in Hindi with right grammar and diction. No words can describe the feeling. The main event also had the tutor addressing the attendees in French. Then, it was the turn of the students. A student recited her short story in Hindi and then in French. Another student sang a Hindi song. After attending the event, I have only one word to describe it. The word is borrowed from my Serbian's friend lexicon. Incredible. Before you repeat it, remember to roll the "r" and lengthen the "b". When there is no words to describe the amazement, then my friend has only one word to describe it - incredible.
What has all this to do with Bollywood? Most of the Parisians, who desires to learn Hindi, are seduced by Bollywood. Yes, Bollywood makes them take the first step. Everyone who enrolls for a Hindi language course do not finish the course because this requires a huge commitment in terms of time. Do you remember the Aishwarya Rai - Gurinder Chadha dud, Bride and Prejudice? It was a Punjabi version of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Most of us in India gave it a miss when it was released. But this movie has made a much bigger impact on non-Indians. I have two friends who were heavily influenced by this movie. Then, there are fans of Aamir Khan and Shahrukh Khan.
Yes, Bollywood is doing more than what we think it does.