She Reads South Asia


Monday, June 26, 2006

Per your request

At the request of Matt and Laurie, I'll attempt to answer their questions on the name Simran.

Matt, I got the name Simran from the Hindi movie 'Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge', which in English means - The braveheart will get the bride. The movie stars Kajol, who plays Simran and Shah Rukh Khan who plays Raj. As a matter of fact, this film was Shah Rukh Khan's rocket to stardom, even though he had been in the industry for five years. It was his first "lover boy" role, since he was used to playing the "bad boy" and that's all it took. He went from a "middle-class brown boy from Delhi", as he says of himself to the superstar he is now.

DDLJ, produced by Yash Raj Films is the longest running film in Indian cinema. It released in October of 1995 and is still playing today in the cinemas of India. That'll be eleven years this Ocober! WOW! It is a great love story, which takes you from London to India in the course of the story. It's really a must see film. Don't worry you get used to the subtitles after awhile.

Now, although I simply love this film, it wasn't my introduction to Bollywood and all things Indian.

Laurie, the film that endeared me to these was none other than - Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham translated -Sometimes Happy, Sometimes Sad. It's produced by Dharma Productions.

K3G, as it is called in the world of celluloid opened up a whole new world for me. I had never even heard of Bollywood before that - imagine? After being whisked away to another country, cinematically of course, the colors, dancing, music and the culture I was "hooked" and wanted to know everything I could about India cinema (those in the industry don't really care for the name Bollywood, as it makes it seem like it's a imitation of Hollywood, which is about as far from the true as you can get. Hollywood with all its technology couldn't make films like these). This film too, ironically stars Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in the main leads, as they have done quite a few films together.

It was three years ago this past March that I watched K3G and I've since watched so many more that I've lost count. Until I found a Hindi theater, DVDs were the way to go. We went to see two of the films in the cinema about 60 miles from here before it was no more. :-( So now, I need to find another cinema, until then it will be back to the DVDs. I now have a collection of all of Shah Rukh Khan's films and some non-SRK films.

My research on Bollywood landed me a writing position with Bollyvista, an online portal for all things Bollywood. I also now have two Bollywood columns - one in New Zealand - The Global Indian and one in India - Paramount Airways in-flight magazine called Wings and Aisles. I have written other articles as well for Associated Content and Indian publications that have to do with other things Indian besides Bollywood too.

A co-written Bollywood script and adapted novel are also up for publication. Stay tuned for the news on those!

I've yet to visit India, as I mentioned but I'm working on it. My Indian friends here have shared so much of their culture (including their delicious spicy food) with me. My online Indian friends have offered so much as well, several of them are from the Absolute Write writer's forum. Listed in the links of the navigation column you will find so many more friends and their websites. If you go back to some of my previous posts, you'll find even more.

Thanks to Laurie and Matt for their questions, which prompted this post and as they say in the film world - that's a wrap.


  1. I don't remember titles so well, so it wasn't until I went to IMDB for Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge that I thought, "Oh. THAT one." Yeah, I remember it well. :) Beautiful movie. I didn't know THAT was the one that's been running for over a decade. Cool!

    We've also seen Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... which, if you knew the size of our DVD collection, is not at all surprising. I'll give you a hint. We have less than a thousand. But not by many. :D

    Bollywood movies really are beautiful and addicting. Do you watch Tamil movies, too? Or other foreign movies?

    Here, Bollywood movies are very easy to find, as are Tamil and Hollywood movies. Other foreign movies are available here, but not to the point of asking for specific titles. Ya get what's available. But we have managed to pick up a few Thai, Chinese, Hong Kong, French, and other movies anyway. And had a lot of fun in the bargain!

    Thanks for the post. :)

  2. Yes, DDLJ is a beautiful film, isn't it? I know over a decade, that's something to be proud of for sure!

    WOW almost a thousand movies? Phew! And I thought I had a lot. (note to self, go count all the movies we have lol)

    They certainly are beautiful and addicting films for sure. I've seen a couple of Telegu films. The one I simply love is Aarya. If you haen't seen it, you must. Although the references to Bollywood movies is a hoot. (The dance on top of the train from 'Dil Se', the song O My Brotheru mentions Devdas, etc).

    My collection of other foreign films isn't what it should be but I have Cinema Paradiso and It's a Beautiful Life. I've rented other one but not bought them.

    dil se, (from the heart)

  3. Thanks for answering that! Interesting story - now I'll have to find the movie.

  4. DDLJ launched (as a director) and introduced Aditya Chopra, who has since then become one of my most favourite directors (and yes, even producers). Everything he does has something to recommend it since he does atypical Bollywood movies. Most Bollywood movies are actually rehashes of Hollywood storylines - just with a "desi" twist :p Of course, most of the Bollywood industry prefers to say that they were simply "inspired" by the Hollywood movie but when scenes are lifted verbatim from a certain Hollywood movie, "inspiration" does not seem to exactly describe what is going on :p

    I can tell you about the time I watched not one but two movies on the same night which lifted a lot of stuff from "The Usual Suspects". Of course, that movie seems to be a favourite of most Indian film makers whether Bollywood or Mollywood :) But despite all that, I usually prefer the Bollywood (or Mollywood) remake of most Hollywood movies to the original. One of my favourite examples here is "Coming to America" - I've seen it as an Urdu version, a Tamil version and a Hindi version. The Hindi version is my favourite :)

  5. You're welcome Matt. Thanks for asking. If you want to buy it online you can go to Yash Raj films directly -
    or even Ebay has most of the Bollywood films. Just don't buy the two-in-one or three-in-one, etc as they are pirated copies and are usually lousy viewing.

  6. Fahim,

    Yes, DDLJ really started Aditya on a roll. Many of the films do take scenes and lines from Hollywood you're right. I guess I don't watch enough Hollywood films to know which ones though. LOL

    Oh don't forget about Tollywood and Lollywood, along with Hollywood, Bollywood and Mollywood.

  7. Well, actually there is Kollywood, Dhaliwood, Nollywood, Pollywood, Lollywood, Tollywood and Mollywood in addition to the well-known Bollywood :p The interesting thing is that Tollywood refers to two different film industries (Telugu and Bengali) while Mollywood can be either Malayali or Madrasi (now Chennai - Tamil) movie industry. I hear that they call the Tamil industry Kollywood now - all very confusing :)

  8. Oh goodness, this is really getting confusing.

    I just introduced someone to Bollywood films with DDLJ last night. She was having a tough time with reading the subtitles and watching the action at the same time but she was getting the hang of it by the time intermission came around. She loved it and says they're a hoot.


    When Paramount Airways was introduced, every one might have been exited that for the first time airline based out of Tamil Nadu was started. There was also expectation that the aviation sector in Tamil Nadu would improve. For a long time Bangalore was the only headquarters for all airline. TamilNadu was a desert of aviation enterprise ever since Air Asiatic wound up.

    There was also reports of Tamil newspapers inflight abort Paramount, which would have attracted exitement in the emotional TN market.

    To tell the truth Paramount Airways is no different from they claim to be. They are just part of the Hindi-speaking herd which are based in Tamil Nadu only in name.

    THeir vacancies within Tamil Nadu DO NOT care for knowledge of Tamil but require Hindi. Speaking Tamil is considered shameful in India's aviation industry. Speaking Hindi is actual considered good etiquette. Paramount Airways has also shown this preference.

    They barely link 3 of the busiest airports in Tamil Nadu, which others like Air Deccan have already been doing.

    The only thing Paramount Airways is unique is that they are the most expensive.

    To sum it up, being an expensive airline which at the end of the day you get the usual English and Hindi only treatment, you would rather pick others for less.

  10. One does notice that in Chennai airport, only the baggage screening staff, check-in staff and toilet cleaners, none of the staff speak Tamil. The security staff are all Hindi speaking.

    Hindi is the only language considered airworthy for in-flight annoucments.

    May be as days go on the Indian airline industry may only leave Tamil speaking staff for Toilet cleaning posts, going by the progressive removal of Tamil within Chennai airport.