Friday, June 26, 2009

Bollywood Romance

Eric's at Romancing the Blog today, discussing and recommending some Bollywood movies:
A few years ago, as I was wrapping up my first class on romance fiction, an Indian American student told me that she had loved these novels partly because they reminded her of Bollywood movies. When I told her that I’d never seen one, she was shocked [...]

Om Shanti Om
, whose reincarnation / mystery / revenge / love story plot and echoes of older movies reminds me [...] contributed lots of catch phrases to our family lexicon, including [...] the movie’s big quotable motto: “If it isn’t a happy ending, then the movie isn’t over yet.”

Our latest favorite is a movie set in Amristar, the Punjabi city you might have seen in Bride and Prejudice. It’s called Rab Ne Bana di Jodi, which means something like “A Couple Made by God,” and its plot draws on all sorts of tropes familiar to romance readers : the abrupt marriage of convenience (in this case, to please a father); courtship under a secret identity; healing and redemption through love. Again there’s the mix of sentiment and humor, subtle and broad; again there are lots of winks and inside jokes that I’m actually starting to get. What really wows me in the movie, though, is that it’s a version of Inspirational romance, but with a very different version of religious faith and its relationship to romantic love. My favorite song in the movie, “Tujh Mein Rab Dikhta Hai” (”In You I See God / Oh, What Shall I Do?”), features our hero by turns in a temple (Hindu? Sikh? I’m not sure), then a church, then a mosque, singing a hymn to his wife the whole time. I don’t know if that’s anything special to an Indian viewer–there’s a similar ecumenical theme in another film I liked, the historical epic Jodha Akhbar–but I’ll tell you, it blew me away and has been haunting me ever since.

Please join Eric over there to read the rest of his post and join in the conversation.

1 comment:

  1. Reading this post is mind-blowing, because I just flew back to the US from India a few days ago and watched Rab Ne Bana Mi Jodi, loved it, and have been thinking about it ever since. I was struck by how touching it was (the whole idea of seeing God in the person you love, and in expecting nothing in return but to see the beloved happy), and also by how much the disguise device reminded me of Shakespearean comedy.