Jane Austen introduced me to Bollywood

I’m sure I’m not alone in having found a new obsession/hobby during 2020. Mine has been watching Indian films with my daughter.

Disclaimer: I don’t know anything about the Indian film industry. Just what I’ve learned by watching them. I’m certain I miss or misunderstand cultural elements. I don’t always quite always know the difference between Bollywood, Tollywood, Kollywood. But I’m getting there!

The first Bollywood-esque movie I watched was Bride and Prejudice (I’m also a Jane Austen fan). I came across this Pride and Prejudice adaptation a few years back and love love loved it. I had no idea I was watching a Bollywood movie, to me, it was just simply a movie about Elizabeth, Jane, Bingley, Darcy set in India with elaborate dance numbers. I assumed someone decided India would be a nice setting for an adaptation and turned the whole shebang into a musical. If you like Jane Austen adaptations, you need to watch this one.

Earlier this year, I desperately needed something to take my mind off everything. I came across Bride and Prejudice again and wondered, hey! maybe there are other Jane Austen adaptations in the same style. There are a few, not surprisingly. One thing led to another and I was hooked.

My early ventures into Bollywood movies were light fluffy sweet romances. The first movies I watched were Khoobsurat or The Zoya Factor. With each movie, I’d search for more movies by the actors I liked and following that method I discovered more and more. Eventually I stumbled upon Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, a couple of the biggest names. I don’t think you can watch much Bollywood without running across them!

Obviously I love Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, but Dilwale tops my list.

Right now, anyone who knows anything about Hindi cinema is judging my taste. I am aware that Dilwale did not do well and the reviews were poor. It’s cheesy etc etc. Whatever. I don’t care, it’s cute, silly, romantic, the action scenes are fun, it’s perfect. I thoroughly enjoyed the music and the chemistry between SRK and Kajol. In fact, I’m listening to the theme song as I write this post. And I’ll readily admit to having rewatched it several times.

The main thing I’ve learned is that my impression of movies is usually vastly different from the reviews. And I’m ok with that. I like what I like!

To illustrate the point, another one that I adore and apparently everyone else hated is Daawat-e-Ishq. First, Aditya Roy Kapur and Parineeti Chopra are the cutest. second, the music is super fun. Finally, the plot is delightfully silly and wraps up just exactly as it should. Girl sets out to take revenge on all men via an elaborate dowry revenge scheme and ends up falling in love with her target. Target falls in love, finds out about scheme, sets out to take his revenge. They realize they love each other and all is forgiven. Believable? Nope. But from my limited experience, believable story lines are not particularly a strong suit of Hindi romance movies. And that is 100% ok by me! It’s all about escaping reality for a minute or two or three hours, right?

I’ve also taken a few side tracks to watch more serious films, like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and dark stuff like Sacred Games. I love Kalki Koechlin. And even adaptations of other classics like Fitoor (based on Great Expectations).

I’m still waiting for more Jane Austen adaptations though. There simply aren’t enough.

10 replies to “Jane Austen introduced me to Bollywood

  1. Thanks for sharing your story and the reviews for those who want to venture. Because if you, I may just check one out 😊 love you cheeka❤️

  2. There’s a radio station in my area that basically goes back and forth between playing old 1920-30’s music and Bollywood music. It’s one of the only stations that I’ve known that swings so far in two directions yet is usually playing something my ears enjoy!

    I recently noticed some Bollywood movies in Prime and now’s a pretty good time to dive in. Thanks for the nudge!

    1. I’m not sure how I feel about that radio station 😂 but if you need recommendations re what to watch, I’m yer girl. Also the asiamatticians channel at work is a great resource 😀

  3. > the chemistry between SRK and Kajol

    ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ was a major part of me during my teen years; I remember a major TV station played that movie every Valentines Day for years. I watched Bollywood movies late at night with my younger sister while we giggled uncontrollably and picked up our jaw when Amitabh Bachchan (another senior actor) appeared on screen.

    This is like Ranger Pink and Ranger White/Green — Kimberly and Tommy — ship (how the young cool kids said it now. “I ship them”)

    Recently, I watched ‘Dangal’ for the n-th times. No Shah Rukh Khan (we have Aamir Khan!), but the movie is… 😭 ✨

    1. KKHH is great! Love it.

      And I just watched Dangal, it was great!

      > I watched Bollywood movies late at night with my younger sister while we giggled uncontrollably

      This is my daughter and me too ❤️

  4. Wow…am also a Jane Austen fan as well as loved Aishwarya Rai and so had waited patiently for Bride and Prejudice to be released. And I should confess I was thoroughly disappointed….Reading your review I am sure gonna watch the movie again because maybe my high expectations were the cause of my disappointment.
    Also if Dilwale will always seem better than DDLJ because you watched it today. Both movies are from different eras. For me DDLJ was a childhood movie which taught me what’s love and Dilwale is a grown up one which showed how you stay in love even after years. Today DDLJ has no doubt a special place in my heart but if asked to choose a movie between the two to watch again I would prefer Dilwale.
    Also would like to welcome you to the charismatic bollywood movies..

    1. Hi @PerplexedMe 🙂

      > And I should confess I was thoroughly disappointed….Reading your review I am sure gonna watch the movie again because maybe my high expectations were the cause of my disappointment.
      I could never be disappointed by any Jane Austen adaptation, I think it’s just not possible for me 😀 Even if bits of it aren’t great (for example, the Mr Darcy in Bride and Prejudice is a bit awkward) there is always something for me to love.

      > For me DDLJ was a childhood movie which taught me what’s love and Dilwale is a grown up one which showed how you stay in love even after years.
      That’s a great synopsis! I just rewatched DDLJ and I liked it even better the 2nd time.

      I’d love to hear your recommendations for charismatic Bollywood movies to add to my watchlist 🙂

  5. Based on the kinda movies you are watching and liking…I would recommend dil to pagal hai, jab we met, hum dil de chuke sanam. These are some of the many I like because of the actors and the music. Do let me know if you like them 🙂

  6. dil to pagal hai: I love any movie with SRK, of course so, this was good.
    jab we met: loved it! LOVED it. I’ve watched it several times now 😀
    hum dil de chuke sanam: I’m not sure if I should admit that I haven’t watched one movie with Salman Khan in it (unless you count cameos, I have seen him in a few cameo roles)! I suppose I should, considering he is one of the great names of Bollywood. I will add this one to my list and report back.

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