Story Column: Through the eyes of a Bollywood enthusiast
November 22, 2017 | 5:31 PM
by Siddhant Suri Dhawan
Years of experience as a spectator of Bollywood movies

He twirls around the tree in a playful dalliance while she bashfully dances to the melody of the chorus, whirling into his arms and now perfectly harmonizing with the invisible violin serenading them in the background. Their outburst of romanticism is brought to an abrupt halt with the appearance of the malevolent anti-hero whose death defying stunts blatantly contradict almost every known Law of Physics, sparing nothing between gravity and the speed of light.

A logic-defying fight scene ensues, the protagonist emerges victorious and proclaims his undying affection for the woman of his dreams. This coupled with the all-pervading aroma of butter popcorn and the chitter-chatter of movie enthusiasts sums up myweekend experience. My family’s long-standing tradition of going to the movies has been such an enduring aspect of my existence that some of my earliest memories are, in fact, scenes from Bollywood movies.

This fascination, perhaps even borderline obsession, with the ‘Reel-world’ that my parents share is the root cause of the Friday evening movie soirees that they ardently host. They keenly peruse the latest movie posters, promptly jotting down the release dates of upcoming Bollywood movies on their phones, and make their movie bookings with an excitement no less than that of a child in a candy store.

And while they revel in the world of song, dance and melodramatic shenanigans, I often find myself severely out-of-place as a partaker in the utopian experience they weave around the world of films. As a realist at heart and a logician in approach, whose repertoire of TV shows and movies includes an exclusive range of medical and legal dramas, political documentaries and event-inspired productions, I cannot help but roll my eyes at the spontaneous dance sequences and wild histrionics that Bollywood actors and actresses are prone to.

And while my taste in movies is often criticized as being painfully erudite and grossly unimaginative, I find great comfort within the confines of reality and the realm of day-to-day existence. Does anyone really break out into spontaneous dance routines and sing with a pitch-perfect timbre or perform humanly impossible feats at the drop of a hat? No, the pragmatist within me is moved to rebel. Yet, despite my vehement protests, I’m often dragged along to watch the latest Bollywood blockbuster and forced to ‘leave my brain behind’ as I view yet another re-incarnation of the time-tested, classic Bollywood plot.

And while I still wrestle to relate to the cheesy dialogues of Shah Rukh Khan or the wild torrents of emotion that overcome Priyanka Chopra or the zany plot-twists of a Bollywood thriller, I must admit that the escapism that the world of movies provides is undoubtedly alluring. Through my years of experience as a spectator of Bollywood movies, I have grown to learn that the beauty of cinema doesn’t lie within the boundaries of the mundane, trite or realistic, but occupies a special place amidst the endless wonder of human imagination.

Through the medium of cinema, I see aspirations, hopes and wonder converge, millions of hearts beating as one, millions of people ridding themselves of the tribulations of every-day existence that weigh them down and casting themselves into a realm of innumerable possibilities. I still roll my eyes at the tree-whirling heroes and heroines breaking out into flamboyant Bollywood tunes; yet, somewhere deep-down, I see my child-like imagination come to life through the eyes of a Bollywood [email protected]

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