Big screens welcome Bollywood abroad

Growing overseas trend of Bollywood movies on big screens

A flock of girls, probably in their 20s, – giggling and talking – briskly walked into the theater complex. Quickly checking the movie times, followed by a quick look at their cell phones, they laughed and giggled some more.
“Thanks God, I thought we were late”, Kavita said. Jiggling the car keys in her hand, she went on, “Friday night is our Bollywood night; many of us drive for more than half an hour to meet here for the movie date”
“The boyfriends or husbands are not allowed”, interrupted Rupa while her fingers still busy texting.

The ‘Golf Glen 5’ movie complex is conveniently located in the north-west suburbs of Chicago. For Indian movies, today’s choices include ‘Aadhavan’ Starring Nayana Tara and Surya; and ‘Blue’ starring Sanjay Dutt and Akshay Kumar in the lead roles.

The Bollywood is becoming more and more popular in America. Instead of the limited option of renting a DVD from your local Indian store or burning an illegal copy, the ever increasingly popular option of big screen is now available in your nearest cities!
Yes, more and more theatres are showing Bollywood movies on regular basis. Though not many but the choices are there. In so many theaters nationwide, you can now choose between a Hollywood movie or a Bollywood flick, depending on what the mood strikes.

Big Cinemas– a division of Reliance, India – is cashing in on Bollywood movie fans among Indian Americans in USA. Spanning across New York, Virginia, California, Georgia, New Jersey…..Big Cinemas has 18 theaters all over America, catering to the growing population of Desis. The posters, the advertisements and the leisurely strolling Indian Americans inside the theaters resemble a scene of an upscale theater in India.

The USA has a fast-growing and affluent population of Indian Americans, an estimated 2.5 million strong. For the cities with high density of Indians, Bollywood movie theaters seem obvious and profitable business choice.

“Does it have English subtitles?” inquired a white woman with short blonde hair at the ticketing booth. Continue reading “Big screens welcome Bollywood abroad”

The Bollywood Love Story on Oprah Show

AishWarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan’s appearance on Oprah Show

Aish and Abhi (
Aish and Abhi (

As mentioned earlier, Aishwarya Rai along with her hubby was in Chicago, the Windy City, for Oprah Winfrey show. The show featuring the couple – Aish and Abhishek Bachchan, was telecasted worldwide on Monday Sep 28, 2009. It also included a live link to China, to the audience of Chen Lu Yu – the talk show host who is also known as the Chinese Oprah.

Here are the synopses of their introduction by Oprah:

“Ash and Abhi, as they’re known to their 5 billion fans around the globe, were Bollywood superstars long before they fell in love and got married in April 2007. Abhi, Ash’s leading man, was born into India’s film industry. Both of his parents are famous Bollywood actors, and over the years, he’s starred in more than 40 films.

After being crowned Miss World in 1994, Ash became Bollywood’s breakout star. Since then, this emerald-eyed actress has landed dozens of endorsement deals and starred in more than 40 movies. She reportedly earns more than $15 million per film….. “

When asked by Oprah about his marriage proposal to her, Abhi shared:

“I was filming in New York for a movie,” he says. “And I used to stand on the balcony of my hotel room and wish that, ‘One day, wouldn’t it be nice if I was together with her, married.'”

Years later, in New York City as a couple, they were there for the premiere of Guru…. Continue reading “The Bollywood Love Story on Oprah Show”

The best Bollywood movies of all times!

Bollywood Movies- The best of best!

The opinions vary, the tastes differ. When it comes to the best of Bollywood movies, it depends; It depends on who you ask and in what mood they are! There are way too many VERY good movies out there. Here are some of the best ones:

Sholay: Sholay needs no introduction. The dialogues, the story, the cast, the acting…everything is so refreshing. The story moves at its own natural pace. Sholay is the highest grossing film of all time in Indian cinema. When first released, the movie did not win any major awards from the film critics, but it has a cult like following. At the 50th Filmfare, it received the award as the Best Film of 50 Years. The mega cast includes Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Jaya Bhaduri and Amjad Khan.

Pakeezah: This is another legendary movie from the 70s; with a larger than life appeal. Beautifully directed by Kamal Amrohi, this movie is a combination of good artistic tastes, lovely costumes, a fluid storyline, excellent settings and melodious music. The film is a story of a Lucknow tawaif (courtesan) played by actress Meena Kumari. Raaj Kumar and Ashok Kumar lead the cast. The evergreen and superb music comes from Ghulam Mohammed and Naushad.

Mother India:The first Indian movie to be nominated for Oscar, this is one of the highest ranked Hindi movies in the international film festivals, and for a reason. The cast of Nargis, Sunil Dutt, Rajendra Kumar and Raj Kumar delivers a brilliant acting. Superb music and an evolving storyline are the hallmarks of this classic gem.

Mera Naam Joker: Raj Kapoor spent every penny he had on this movie, and it flopped during the first release – it was just too long with run time over 5 hours. The second release, the re-edited and compressed version, ended up as one of the most successful film of all times. This comic but sad story has something for audiences of all ages. The mega cast includes Raj Kapoor, Simi Garewal, Manoj Kumar, Rishi Kapoor and Dharmendra.

Mughal-e-Azam :This is one of the most expensive Hindi movies ever made of its times. It took more than 9 years to complete this feature. The star cast is ultimate; the dance sets are unparalleled for its time. Some of the famous dance sequences of Madhubala are filmed in the Shish Mahal -The Palace of Mirrors- in Lahore Shahi Qila. Continue reading “The best Bollywood movies of all times!”

Bollywood Abroad: Aishwarya Rai on the Oprah Show

Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan to appear on Oprah Show!

Aishwairya Rai in 'Devdas'
Aishwairya Rai in ‘Devdas’

The most influential woman in the world, Oprah Winfrey, is back with 2009 season of her world famous and the highest rated talk show. The downtown Chicago area – the Magnificent Mile- was closed to traffic last week as she kicked off the 24th season of Oprah Winfrey Show.

When it comes to the influence of this billionaire, Oprah is a force beyond comprehension. She has single-handedly popularized and revolutionized the tabloid talk show genre. Oprah has a very loyal world wide fan base, especially among women. A book lands on the ‘best seller list’ just by her mentioning of it on the show; the cattle ranchers in Texas get nervous if she promotes vegetarian food or says something against beef…..When Oprah talks, people listen!

And look, who is coming back to the Oprah show again- Aishwarya Rai! The popular Indian actress and former Miss World is no stranger to the show; and this time she brings her husband, Abhishek Bachchan, with her.

Aishwarya Rai is supposedly in Chicago with her beau preparing and shooting for the show. It is ‘rumored’ that the couple has been in USA for more than a week. Obviously, they did not get stopped by the immigration, otherwise we would have heard of it. 🙂 Continue reading “Bollywood Abroad: Aishwarya Rai on the Oprah Show”

‘Bollywood Heroes’ Vs ‘US Customs and Immigration’ : The duel goes on!

The US Customs and Immigration affects Bollywood travels to US

Shahrukh Khan
Shahrukh Khan

SRK stopped by US Immigration office for additional questioning; he blame US immigration for profiling based on Muslim name!….. – 8/11/09
Salman Khan is concerned about the US Immigration office; cancels his US trip!…- 8/28/09

Salman Khan has cancelled his upcoming trip to New York. The bollywood star was planning to visit USA to promote his upcoming movie ‘Wanted’. One of the main causes for this cancellation is quoted to be the recent incident where US immigration stopped Shahrukh Khan for additional questioning at Newark airport.

There has been much reported on this SRK immigration incident. The whole thing is blown way out of proportion by the media with so many twists and turns. Many are of the opinion that the agenda was to promote ‘My name is Khan’, his upcoming movie about experiences of a Muslim in USA in post-9/11 era.

The US Customs and Immigration denies any profiling and called it a routine stop, mainly because his baggage was delayed. You decide- who is right and who is wrong.

Salman Khan
Salman Khan

As a part of security measure of modern days, every country including USA is being extra careful as to who crosses their borders.We all know, the US Immigration and Customs check-point is last place to find friendly faces. The custom officers’ job is to probe everyone who enters the country and try to separate the good guys from bad ones. They frequently stop all kind of travelers –white, black or brown- for additional questioing and screening. The officers do tend to be a bit authoritative, and many may consider them ‘rude’; but that is the nature of their job.

So there you have it! Two Khan’s-the Bollywood mega stars vs. the US Customs and Immigration…. It is hard to fathom that Bollywood is so much worried about ‘not-so-friendly’ US Immigration officers. These Bollywood heroes, whose daily job description is to overcome the hurdles and fight big bad bullies and villains in the movies, seem to shy away when it comes to passing through US Immigration and Customs. Is it that the real life drama is more intimidating than a Bollywood script with a pre-planned favorable outcome?


Come on our Bollywood heroes, you can do better than that! We are so used to your bigger-than-life persona, your bare-hand fights against evils of all sizes! You can single-handedly kill an army of villains in those movies; demolish anything that crosses your path, or that of your love-interest! You can jump out of high rise buildings, dash out of flying planes and come out winners without a scratch on your body. And yet, you are scared of an immigration officer at a US check-point? Where is all that bravery that we are so accustomed to witness on the big screens? We all thought that you are tough enough to put up with some questions from a non-smiling customs officer in real life! Continue reading “‘Bollywood Heroes’ Vs ‘US Customs and Immigration’ : The duel goes on!”

The Bollywood Quiz: III

The other quizzes on this site can be found as linked below:
Bollywood Quiz 7 – Bollywood Playback Singers :A quiz on popular Bollywood playback singers.
Bollywood Quiz I: Know your Bollywood?:A Bollywood quiz about old movies of yesteryears!
The Quiz III below relates to Bollywood movies or stories from August 2009, (and originally published in August 2009):

Name the first film  produced by the "chota nawab" Saif ali khan?

Farhan Akhtar makes a comeback as an actor in  Luck By Chance directed by his sister..

Sonam Kapoor and Abhishek Bachchan star together in this movie from Rakesh Omprakash Mehra..

This Bollywood film about experiences after 9/11 is directed by Kabir Khan:

In which movie does shahid kapoor play a double role?          

In "sankat city" who plays the lead actor role?

Director Nikhil Advani is back with Akshay Kumar staring in a lead role in this movie:

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Shahrukh Khan is god; so is US Immigration Office: The lessons learned

Shahrukh Khan
Shahrukh Khan

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” ~ Mark Twain

This incident of SRK’s additional questioning and detentionis in Newark is still getting so much coverage in the news. Actually, this was the main topic of discussion during Independence Day celebration in USA.

Here are the lessons we learned from the whole thing:

USA Immigration and Customs Office is god:Yes, god, but still with a lower case ‘g’. Nobody worship them, but they don’t care. So lets not tangle with someone with this kind of attitude. We can admire them or hate them from a distance. When going through the customs,  if you are over-friendly or over-nervous, they will suspect something is wrong. ‘Suspicion’ is their middle name.

Shahrukh Khan is god: Many worship SRK, so no quarrel here. Problem starts when our Desi god collides with a foreign god, like an Immigration personnel in this case. While you can decide which one of the two would be villain (I think I know your answer 🙂 ), you don’t have to. This is no epic battle of Mahabharata where good and evil are already defined; sometimes nobody wins in these battles of today. In this incident, I think both sides won, in their own words, of course. SRK got publicity for the the new movie and US Immigration officers showed that the law applies to everyone.

VIP Treatment not everywhere: VIP treatment in US is very limited. Actually people get upset when they see a VIP getting special treatment in a public place. Totally different culture, let us not fuss about this. Remember, most of immigration officers don’t know much about our big shot celebrities. Continue reading “Shahrukh Khan is god; so is US Immigration Office: The lessons learned”

SRK, “My Name is Khan”…umm… too bad!

Shahrukh Khan goes through additional questioning at USA Customs and Immigration

SRK and Kajol to star together in 'My Name is Khan'
SRK and Kajol to star together in ‘My Name is Khan’

Shahrukh Khan (SRK), the iconic Indian Movie Star and the king of Bollywood, was subject of additional inspection and questioning by the immigration officers at the Newark airport, New Jersey. He was en route to Chicago to attend an event related to Indian Independence day celebrations.

SRK claims that he was singled out due to his Muslim last name – Khan. He added that the immigration officer was not convinced with any of his explanation about the trip.

The US Immigration and Customs office denies that his last name had anything to do with the additional questioning; he was stopped due to missing baggage. As per the statement from the Customs, everything was done professionally and by the book. It is common for a customs officer to ask someone to step aside for additional inspection if they are not satisfied with the interview.

It is ironic that SRK was in USA earlier this year shooting a Hindi movie titled ‘ My name is Khan’. The film is about the experiences of a Muslim in America.

Another remote possibility is that it was all planned by SRK; a thought that I could not resist.Considering how good an actor he is, he may have staged the whole drama. This incident turned out to be a very good publicity for him and his upcoming movie. Everybody is now talking about ‘My Name is Khan’ all of a sudden, which will be released worldwide soon. Continue reading “SRK, “My Name is Khan”…umm… too bad!”

Hire a Bollywood star for your party: Aaja NachLe!

Who would you hire from Bollywood for your wedding party?

Madhuri and Aishvarya in film Devdas
Madhuri and Aishvarya in film Devdas

Have money?… Looking for the knockout punch at your party?….
Well, look towards Bollywood.
Everything has a price, they say. For the right price, you can get almost anything.
So, what is the price for the Baadshah of Bollywood Shahrukh Khan to dance at your party? How about Rs 3 Crores to start with. Shahrukh Khan agreed to put up a show at the wedding of real estate giant Kanti Govani’s nephew for this large sum of money.

Who would you hire for your party?

From yesterday’s stars the stand-outs are:

  • Amitabh Bachhan:- I won’t mind watching him perform to the tune of ‘Pag Ghungroo bandh Meera Naachi thi..’ from Namak Halaal.
  • Helen: The queen of dance numbers..’Mehbooba Mehbooba…’ from Sholay is a heartthrob  of many!
  • Hema Malini: The ‘dream girl’, a trained classical dancer….

Continue reading “Hire a Bollywood star for your party: Aaja NachLe!”

Bollywood Quiz : Know your Bollywood? The Old Days!

Do you know your Bollywood?
Test your Bollywood knowledge of old movies with this quiz!

The other quizzes on this site can be found as linked below:
Bollywood Quiz 7 – Evergreen Playback Singers of Bollywood movies :A quiz on popular playback singers.
Bollywood – Do you know their real names? The Bollywood actors and actresses were not born with these popular and stellar on-screen names. Wanna test your knowledge of their given names? Try this quiz!

Bollywood Quiz 1 : The yesteryears!
Please go to Bollywood Quiz : Know your Bollywood? The Old Days! to view the quiz

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Bollywood + Hollywood = New fans abroad

With realistic stories and settings, Bollywood gaining new fans overseas

Bollywood-the Bombay (Mumbai) movie industry- is one of the biggest film production location in the world. There is no shortage of all-time-classic stories, romance or melodrama in the long history of Indian movies. It is not new that many of the Bollywood movies are churned out with English themes in varying tones; some of the major trends over many decades have been:
1. Indian movies with Indian stars in western settings, with a clear cut bias against western society; as in ‘Purab Aur Paschim’.
2. Patriotic movies linked to Indian freedom movement against British rule; such as ‘Kranti’ and ‘Lagaan’.
3. Movies based in a western country or a western society with local social and cultural issues; like in ‘Bollywood Hollywood’ and ‘The Guru’.
Many of these films have almost same concept with some variation: tell a story linked to a western country; expose the vices of such society and then save the day by renouncing the western culture, with the ending focused on some flavor of Mera Bharat Mahaan (My Great India! slogan)…. All these movies, even though made with substantial overseas locations in many cases, are limited to Indian cast and Indian production. The success of these movies is entirely determined by their showing in India and Indian theaters. Continue reading “Bollywood + Hollywood = New fans abroad”