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23: When KWK Inspired Me

23 Jan

I just watched the KWK episode with Priyanka Chopra, and I think I’ve found a new role model to add to my list. Oh well, my notes, because I don’t have a list. I’ll admit to never really having liked her, not as an actor because I think she can act, but because she was everywhere, and in a way, that was annoying, and something I didn’t want in my face constantly. But some good has come from this couch show, and I think it’s that in all these years, and through all the things that have been said and not said about her, it was a breath of fresh air to hear her talk.

She made me realise so much that I’d either chosen not to see or missed seeing or was simply latent in me. It also got me thinking about the impact that portrayals can have on our perceptions. By that I mean, not once in all these years of her crossing the seas and breaking concrete, did I get to see from her words, her voice, her thoughts, or even in her silence, a glimpse of her reality. This noise so far, has only been that – noise. And perhaps it was a different kind of noise thing, because maybe that’s how it is abroad. We Indians are super noisy about a lot of stuff too, but in different mannerisms. But I’m not here to talk about cultural differences or white noise or even noise. What I saw on television, and keeping in mind that it was indeed a television show, I felt more realness speak than I’ve ever seen. She is yet another woman who is par strengths that so many of us dream to possess or realise we own.

Watching her on television today made me feel so good, and so proud, all together. How can a person, especially a woman, not feel good about seeing another out there, achieving things that, let’s admit, we at some point have wanted to do for ourselves? I won’t take the liberty to speak for anyone but myself, and I will confess quite matter-of-factly, that she has what I dream of having. And in that identification, I found inspiration. I aspire for goals that are my own, but which come from that same universal dream of getting there, being successful, and owning that success. Who doesn’t want that, after all? I fear failing, and I hate losing. Bumpy roads bring the demons out in me, as much as the awareness that most often success ironically mandates standing out, and therefore standing alone. Thinking of these things scare me, and therefore I do not allow these thoughts to gain strength or even a voice. I don’t think I’ve ever been so really moved and prodded by an episode on tv, except that gratitude/thanksgiving one on Oprah those many years ago.

The Priyanka Chopra I saw today, brought forth the many things I idolise in my world view, and maybe even reminded me to never put them on the back-burner, like I have in some cases.

Be busy working hard, and smart. Make no room for thoughts that debilitate this effort.
Never show the world the chink in your armour. Remember that you’re not perfect, and move on.
What is an obstacle now, will in time, and with experience, be water off your back. (I love this one!)
Each of us has our demons, which in turn have their own voices. Know when to let them talk, and when to silence them.
The world will always talk, irrespective. Keep walking. (I follow this, and believe in it a 100%)
In versatility lies the key of progression, just as change is always constant.
Boundaries are definitive in maintaining best health.
Silence is gold, even when it’s most tempting to give away.

Of course she’s said a lot of things and I’m clearly, but unapologetically bowled over. Enough inspiration and influence for one day, no? :)

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Sun Chasing

25 Jan

The last week of January is making its way in with this weird time warp and all. It does feel like time is moving both slowly and fast; it’s confusing, and disorienting because I can’t ascertain how I feel. But it is here and post Sankrant and Basant Panchami, there has been a noticeable change in the shift of seasons. It is cold, but a cold that is comfortable and happy; cold enough for me to be able to roll down my window at 6am and embrace the morning air. It doesn’t get depressingly dark by 6pm anymore and the sun takes his time to stick around a bit longer, till about 645 or so. It’s heartwarming for a sun-chaser. It makes me undeniably thrilled. I love winter and will miss it, till next time. Spring has arrived. And everyone’s chasing the freshness of a Spring sun almost desperately. It’s a happy scene.

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Talking about happiness and desperation, I dreamt of the most vividly gorgeous red velvet cake day before. It was the kind of vivid that ensured I remembered just how it looked, felt, tasted and smelt; enough to drive me into the kitchen and bake one. Of course it wasn’t even close to being as ornate as the one in my dream was, but it was moist, tender, red and well…tasty. So it compensated in its own way.

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I’d reckon this is a fine way to begin any day, if you ask me. Cake and coffee hit the spot and always will. It’s the zing, the pep, the joy, the shot, the love we could do with once in a while. Really.

It’s turning out to be one of those weekends that doesn’t go as per plan. It’s the one weekend I was prepped to step out for some chores but ended up staying put at home, catching up on movies and books. Greasy Indo-Chinese food in the form of Chilli Chicken (dry) and Dragon Chopsuey (all of which can never ever be replicated at home or any decent Chinese restaurant in India) was had in the company of Sholay. It’s one of those combinations that is so typically Indian, so typically homely and so gorgeously sumptuous that one can never have enough of it. You know what I mean. Of course it’s another thing what that addictive Indo-Chinese grub can do to your system when mindlessly consumed because you can’t ever totally focus on your food when you’re watching Sholay. You’re either caught up with Gabbar and his (mind-blowing) acts or you’re singing along or you’re doing the obvious – mouthing lines along with the characters because really, can you count how many times you’ve watched this legendary Bollywood movie?

Talking about which, Birdman and The Imitation Game have been watched. The former took me a while to warm up to because I didn’t know what was going on…until I went and read its blurb on IMDb post which it started fitting in. And the latter, well, I’ve been waiting to watch it ever since I first watched its trailer sometime last year. I’m so glad there are people in this world who write books and make movies because really, who would’ve ever known about Alan Turing, The Enigma, and his contribution to this world, unless I was a computer engineer or a mathematician? It’s heartwarming to constantly learn and discover the many pages this worldbook is made up of; to bring to light unsung heroes and their passionate dedication to making this worldbook more intriguing and fascinating beyond the ordinary. And I of course thought that Benedict Cumberbatch was just right for the role. However, now it makes me miss Sherlock even more because I need to see him in his original role; because it’s been too long and because there technically should be no justification required.

And as if there wasn’t enough of a British influence on my days already, I’ve finally started reading The Silkworm. It’s been long, long overdue but then again, my kindle took over and I’ve refrained from starting anything new on it till at least this one gets done with because I spent some big monies on buying what is ultimately just a crime novel.

Before I return to reading, here’s what living with sun-chasers everywhere, feels like. Poppy (my last standing guinea pig) has his spot in the sun where he gathers all his food and also has his numerous REM sleep cycles. Every flower, plant and human hand in this balcony also seeks the sun, after mild tussles and pokes from thorny plants who may actually not appreciate sharing sun-time with the human and her hand.

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Soak up that blissful springtime sun, won’t you? Have yourself a lovely Sunday!

Holi

17 Mar

Today is Holi and I came to know that it’s one of the biggest festivals of the year, today. It’s strange when you stay so far away from a place that’s home, in the root sense of the word. I still haven’t discerned which is home; whether I’m from the north or south, but I’d like to believe that I’m an awesome mix of both, with a lot of me leaning towards the North-Indian side, in the root sense of the word, like I said earlier. I don’t know if that made any sense, because it sure as hell didn’t make any sense to me.

So today is Holi, one of those festivals we usher spring and summer (I guess) in with. There’s a lot of colour, water and food involved, of course. Memories of Holi, back when I lived in the north, were laden with it all beginning with that essence of it in the air. One just knew Holi was around the corner. And then we had quite obvious (and most often obnoxious) signs of a festival with loud speakers everywhere, with an effigy erected at almost every junction, to be lit at the eve of Holi to signify the triumph of good over evil. I don’t know much about the mythological aspect of this festival and maybe it’s time I read up about it. But since I’m so far removed from it, I feel like I’ll be excused for not knowing. :D

Holi was always welcomed in by our verandahs stocked with cans of oil, bags of ingredients and a large stove at the corner where I remember my paternal grandmother spending almost all her time, dishing out magical goodies after magical goodies. I don’t remember seeing her get up from there as she produced sweet and savory treats for the entire household, family, friends and neighbours, perhaps. That was a lot of cooking. It wasn’t me, it’s my genes. I blame my family. I blame them for throwing me head-on into this blissful world that completes my life so beautifully.

We’d always wake up before the sun to get an oil bath before we head out to watch the effigy ignite. And once the sun was up, we’d be out, laden with powdered colours, water guns, water balloons and buckets that didn’t ever speak of drying up. Balloons got thrown at each other, colour got splashed when you weren’t looking and there was never really a sign of stopping. We’d go back in to recharge with all that had been prepared over the days that led up to Holi, unwashed hands, too nonchalant because we’d race to go back to the terrace and keep the spirit of the festival going. The baths thereafter were painful, except we got bathed by our mothers, or aunts. So it wasn’t half bad.

The last time I celebrated Holi, if I can call that a celebration, because I stayed cooped up inside the grilled balcony of my uncle’s friend’s house, was in 2011. Here’s the thing with Holi; the more you hide or act coy about not “getting dirty”, the dirtier you’re bound to get. So you might as well throw your hands up in the air and ring in the spirit of this festival, with fists full of colour, while you’re at it. The great thing about Holi is the bhaang, a preparation made from cannabis leaves, that one gets to have, if you’re old enough to do so. I’ve never given it a try but rest assured, if I do get the chance to celebrate Holi back up north again, I will give that more than just a try. :) Why must one stray from the norm, right?

Here, in Bangalore, there are almost no signs of Holi. We had work as well, today. So, there’s no wonder I was oblivious of its arrival. Perhaps it’s a good thing because the festival really has begun to become dirty over the years and I’m quite glad to be away from it. As time progressed, Holi took a back-seat and wasn’t one of those festivals I really looked forward to. It’s not Diwali and only Diwali that I love so dearly. But, having said that, and keeping in mind the gene pool that I’m blessed with, I came back home to get a few things ready for Holi, because it’s the done thing. In my head, at least.

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I managed to make namkeen mathri (savory crisps), shakkar paare (sugar crisps) and gudd chawal ki kheer (rice and milk pudding seasoned with palm sugar), which was a first since I’ve never really ventured into the territory of rice kheer before. I feel happy. Because no matter what or where I’ll be or under what circumstances, it’s heartening to know that certain things remain the same. And that’s the beauty of tradition I thrive on because it happens, almost unknowingly. Things get passed on, unconsciously.

Holi will always remind me of sitting with my grandmothers and watching them cook. Sometimes, all you need is to just be there. The rest sort of takes care of itself. It really does. And memories supersede religion. Almost invariably. And so comfortably. There’s no doubting the power of associations, memories and experiences. They catapult us to places we’d never dream of. In the best ways possible, in this context. :)

I hope you have a lovely festival and a beautiful year ahead.

And here’s what I would dance to, today, even though this isn’t a track pictured on Holi. Turn it up, as always. :) ;)

“Clean” Fridays

15 Mar

Going on Lent has shown me another side of what living life without the consumption of alcohol and/or non-vegetarian food could be like. I never thought my life revolved so much around the two. Not that I’m fond of alcohol or that alcohol is the central aspect of my social life, or even life, for that matter. What I really do care about is food, without a doubt. And I’ve realized that I absolutely refuse to pay large sums of money to consume vegetarian food outside unless I’m eating something that is better than the vegetarian fare I get at home. On a daily basis, we’re vegetarian 95% of the time, so really, I don’t think I’m missing out on much. Bleargh.

Therefore, I’ve been spending time doing things I’ve always wanted to do but didn’t do because my Friday evenings ended up being spent in the company of friends over food and that beer for friends + that occasional rum+iced tea in case I felt like a drink. Have you tried that combination? One small (or whatever portion fancies you) of dark rum dunked into a glass of lemon (only) iced tea. It’s most mind-blowing and refreshing all in one. I will always be grateful to my ex-boss for introducing me to this beauty. Also, it was his way of initiating me into the world of guilt-free consumption of alcohol. :P Which reminds me, I heard the most sad news ever: that the production of Old Monk rum has been stopped indefinitely. I was most heartbroken. I hope they start right back. Till then, I’m left without a choice of poison. I don’t really know if that’s a good thing or not. But I can live.

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I’ve spent almost 98% of my life, here, in Bangalore. I’ve passed this lake so, so many times as I’ve grown up over the years. Some of it just hasn’t changed while some of it has, as is usually the case with a lot of things. While I have visited it a couple of times, I haven’t really spent much time at this lake because I don’t really stay close by and it hasn’t been a place I really, really wanted to go to. But over the past few days, I’ve wanted to go for a walk by it and given how gorgeous Bangalore’s spring-summer collection of 2014 is, I figured it would be a good idea to give it a try since I couldn’t really go have mince on toast and my rum iced tea.

It was a beautiful experience. Water has this enigmatic way of magnetizing you. It calls you towards it and also has this sometimes eerie way of telling you to keep away. I say this because I am afraid of water though I really wish I could let go to it and enjoy it for what it is. The lake, per se, isn’t as stinky as it used to be, which means the municipality seems to be doing a pretty okay job at keeping it clean and tidy. There’s a jogger’s lane around the periphery of it which made me feel grossly inadequate and unhealthy what with people (and kids) running everywhere. I reminded myself that I was here for a different reason and that sort of made it okay for me. There are trees aplenty and plants and birds, as well. It takes me back to my childhood days when I would pass it on my way to school every day. I’m always reminded of the army camps that live/work there and, who, I guess, use it for various purposes as well, if not own it. There’s a weird sense of identity you get from that lake, an identity that makes you feel you’re Bangalorean just like how Hyde Park may give one the identity of being a Londonite, I guess?

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An evening by a lake is something I’ve never really done, here, in the city. So I’m glad that’s check-marked off my list of things to do, here, in Bangalore. Couple that with hot chips, egg hakka noodles (sigh, when will you be here, Easter?) and episodes of Frasier in bed. That’s a Friday well sorted. Plus I feel like I’m 35+ because I didn’t spend my Friday night out, dancing to (Honey Singh’s) music in a club somewhere after, something that people my age would (still) easily do. Just saying. And here’s what I’ve been listening to on loop. Who said I can’t access chaar botal (four bottles of) vodka while on Lent? ;)

It’s That Day

20 Jun

My day’s almost coming to a close and I’m sitting here on my couch, gliding around in my world on a carpet ride of a newly discovered trance track that’s been on loop the entire day. The beats are fabulous but the feeling is astounding. My day’s drawing to a close and I picked up my phone thinking I’d tweet about my day only to realize that 140 characters just.would.not.suffice. So I’m subjecting you, my dear reader, to this rather than a 140 character, characterless tweet. But I love Twitter. It’s my favourite social media place to be at. I’m sorry, I just had to clarify that lest Twitter got upset and dumped me.

Before I begin, I’d like to begin by saying that the mother is back. And I am back to being the bratty child who sits on her couch and writes random stuff on her randomer blog while her mother takes over. Ah, that feeling…it’s just one of a kind. Yeah you got that right; the one where you do absolutely nothing and still ask the mother to hand you your quilt that’s right at your feet because you’re lying down and really cannot reach it. So grown up, right? So yes, she’s back and even though I fall asleep before she wraps up which means we barely get any time to catch up at all, it’s fabulous to know that she’s back.

Now I really begin.

The day has been fantastic. There has been a lot of learning this week at work what with one foot in training and the other paddling our work flow. It’s fun to have your limbs scramble around in every direction in a flailing motion. It doesn’t look or feel funny at all. Either way, as busy and choc-a-block as it has been, it turns out that I like such madness. I love being busy. I love having no time. I love being hyper in work. I love it all. It’s another thing that everything else in my life has taken a back seat, but there aren’t any regrets. Not yet.

Today was that day when it rained, poured and allowed to you to kick back on your way from work and sink into some good stuff that the obviously romantic RJ threw your way. And I’m as much a Bollywood girl (if not more) than an English music girl. So it was that day when you looked out of your rain specked window with the car to yourself, immersed in romantic songs that made you dream of interesting men who will never ever appear in your life otherwise. It was that day when all I heard were the swish of tyres in sync with the music that was churned out which transported me into my world of everything slo-mo. Isn’t that the best? You dream of the guy you’d want to spend such an evening with. You dream of how you’d randomly head out for a drive and probably sing songs with as you drive along. You dream of the near perfect guy because rainy evenings make you dream of such things, if not poetry. And then you wonder where the guy is and if he ever exists. And somewhere along the way, you dream of the biker boy you’ve been asking the Rain God to send your way every time he decides to get romantic with the weather. And then the smooth run comes to a screeching halt because you realize you have neither a biker or car boy. Let’s not even go to the complete dearth of pilot men. I am being dramatic, you know that right? But yes, dreaming is good, as are dreams that rainy evenings allow you to escape to.

It’s been that kind of day that saw me push myself like I haven’t for a very, very long time. See, I don’t need a reason to bunk exercising. It’s as simple as that. Babska, your foot hurts. Okay, skip exercise. Babska, your hair’s greying. Okay, skip exercise. Babska, you have to pamper yourself. Okay, skip exercise. Babska, the sky’s a nasty, stormy grey. Okay, thank you God, now you’ve forced me to skip exercise. So it takes a lot for me to get off my you know what to go you know where. It’s not like I despise physical activity. Okay, it’s not my most favourite thing to do but I’m just plain old lazy. So ignoring the fact that I haven’t exercised in over a fortnight and that all I’ve done is snarf food down and that the obvious of putting on even more weight has happened, I pushed myself to go do a cameo at the gym. And it was awesome because lo and behold, Babska, the girl who loves opposites, decided to go the gym when it was pouring; black sky and all. There wasn’t anyone at the gym. And that was just the best part. Normally something like that would have depressed me further, but I guess I was in an opposite mood today, remember? So exercise, I did. And enjoy it, I think I did.

And then it was that kinda day that continued to get more awesome because the rain stopped to a drizzle that allowed you to walk in it, enough to know it was drizzling but not heavy enough to leave you damp/wet and clammy. It was windy, there was barely any traffic on the road and a random walk and bus ride back home sealed my deal. I love how things fall into place sometimes like it was meant to be or something.

It’s been a randomly beautiful day. There have been moments enough to savour my peace and solitude while doing so many different things and I really do look forward to opportunities like these. A drive (in the rain), exercise and a stormy summer evening walk happened albeit without the cute guy from my dreams. I feel blessed and content nonetheless. And I’m happy because I know that this is all I need most often.

I hope you’ve had a splendid Thursday. It’s almost time for Masterchef; The Professionals and I bring this to a close. Cheers to more simplicities (I made that word up) because God we need them!

The Bollywood Band Baaja

5 Apr

I’m in the mood for a complete Bollywood washover today. Or let’s just say that I’ve been washed over already. Completely. Wholly. Totally. It doesn’t take much to bowl me over if I think about it. Especially when it comes to Bollywood. I’m a picky person; very picky in fact. One’s got to be that way considering the stuff Bollywood’s been doling out. However, it’s a different story when it comes to Bollywood songs. Really.

For those of you who know me know how amazing I am with names of any kind. I totally rock when it comes to recollecting names of people, characters, movies, songs, etc etc. Like totally man! Ask me anything and I’ll give you your answer even before you finish your question. Not. Which is why I’m so far behind on the entire entertainment industry scenario because I don’t know who’s who (except for the Khans and Kapoors and that’s all that matters to me frankly speaking).

Anyway, I was inspired to write this out because I’m in that can I use the word kitschy? Bollywood frame of mind. Also, I was reliving the short road trip we took over the Easter weekend and it’s needless to say that Bollywood featured in it, albeit for a short while till the radio signals lasted on our road trip. I don’t know what it is but the jocks take a turn towards the road of romance and all things dreamy especially when one’s on a road trip. Or maybe the road trip makes everything seem dreamlike and pretty? I don’t know which came first. It doesn’t matter. I’m not complaining except for that GHASTLY Fevicol item number that’s really topping the charts for God knows what reason. See, I told you one’s got to be picky now with the stuff Bollywood’s throwing our way. Ugh. Disgusting track. I’m hyperlinking it for those of you who wish to listen to it here. That’s all the space it gets on my blog. But I love you so much, Salman Khan (though I wish IMDB would put up a better picture of him!). Judge me!

Moving on, here are some songs that played on my road trip and put me on a fast track to my beloved dreamworld of everything romantic, cliched, pretty and happy. When it’s Bollywood, everything’s got to be over the top, colourful, dramatic and so worth every minute. And don’t be surprised if I haven’t watched the movies the tracks featured in. I’m weird like that. And picky, remember?

The Highest Common Factors (remember HCFs?) of all these picks are:
They sound melodious and make me drift.
In most probability, they feature actors I enjoy watching and dreaming of and being with.
They’re melodious. Melodies trump lyrics when I first listen to a song.

So as our car cruised through the roller coaster-like roads of the Bangalore-Mysore highway, here’s what slowed things down and eased my life up.

SaiyaaraEk Tha Tiger

I haven’t watched this movie. I just love this song. Also, I love the actor in this movie – Salman Khan. And I think Katrina Kaif‘s really classy and pretty and has a fantabulously natural pout! The ratio of her acting versus her prettiness is highly skewed. Being pretty does in fact get you places. I like the intensity much!

SaansJab Tak Hai Jaan

I haven’t watched this movie either and have been told not to watch it. I’m such a Shah Rukh Khan fan and some part of me will always be irrespective of everything that’s happening with him today. There was a time in my generation when he took the world by storm; he was the ultimate romantic hero of my generation. No one comes to my mind faster than he does when I think of romance, especially Yash Chopra style. Again, I wish IMDB would put up a better picture of him!

Teri Meri Prem KahaniBodyguard

This one’s another with Salman Khan. And it has Kareena Kapoor. Even though I’m not gaga over her, I think she’s a natural and can act. I don’t think she needs to even try and even if she does, her attempts look effortless most often. It’s got to be the Kapoor gene man!

Pani Da RangVicky Donor

This track…this track…this track takes me away every time I listen to it. It’s that kinda song that makes you take off. It made me love Punjabis more than I did. And Ayushmann Khurrana, well he takes the cake man! He’s outstanding and he made me love him even more than I did. He’s everything Punjabi I love! Turn this one up if you’re driving especially.

Jee Le ZaraTalaash

Even though this one isn’t a romantic number, there’s something about it that blows you away. Call it Vishal Dadlani’s voice or the fact that it has the ever so brilliant and mindblowing Aamir Khan in it which shoots this track notches higher than its counterparts. I find it simply stunning.

HosannaEk Deewana Tha

If there’s a song you want to cruise to and flow with, this is one you should give a try. There’s something so pleasing, smooth and caressing about it. Enjoy it. I think this is the best thing about the movie! And that’s a judgment call because I haven’t watched it and am not gonna either.

GuzarishGhajini

and

Kaise MujheGhajini

I love, love, love these two numbers from Ghajini. Sigh. *sigh* Did I also profess my undying love for Aamir Khan and tell you how much I dig this man? *sigh* I love the scene of the second track especially. It makes me more of a believer than reality allows me to be at times. :)

Abhi Mujh Mein KahinAgneepath

This isn’t a romantic number in the least. However, it’s quite a powerful one. Especially because it has the marvelous and superbly talented Sonu Nigam’s voice. Anything Sonu Nigam stands the potential of making a person feel all that which qualifies as a complete Bollywood experience. Rona dhona, heart melt moments and all that jazz; that’s what I mean.

DarmiyaanJodi Breakers

I love this song. I’m not a fan of the actors in this movie though. Like I said, if it’s got the melody, that’s all it needs to bowl me over. This one’s a calm, sweet and soft one. It’s one you could cruise to.

Tu Hi MeraJannat 2

and

Rab Ka ShukranaJannat 2

I love these two songs much much much! I’m not big on the actors and I don’t even know who the actress is and I’m too lazy to look her up. But the songs – *sigh*

Ishq Wala LoveStudent of the Year

Crappy movie which I only bothered giving a dekho because of Karan Johar but stopped halfway through because it was miserable! I like the song though. Epitome of the cheesiness I spoke about! :)

Ishq SufiyanaThe Dirty Picture

I love this song, I love this movie and I have a soft spot for the actress – Viya Balan. I think she can be outstanding when she needs to be.

And because I realize this post has gotten way longer than it should have, I’m ending it with this amazingly gorgeous track. Ma’s gaga over it and so am I.

Haal-E-DilBbuddah Hoga Terra Baap

It has the supremely stellar and versatile Amitabh Bachchan acting and singing it. Nuff said.

OH WAIT! There’s this one too.

Khabon Ke ParindeyZindagi Na Milegi Dobara

This one’s got romance of a different kind in it. It is perhaps one of my favouritest songs to cruise to and let go to. It’s the perfect song to live, dream, relive and redream to. This movie is the philosophy of my life and that of a million others, which is why it became the hit it did. It’s probably one of those Bollywood movies whose story trumped the actors in it. I love it and urge those who haven’t watched it to give it a dekho. Astounding stuff.

If there’s a use for the term infinite, it would be apt to use it for Bollywood. I could go on and on and you’ve got to trust me when I say I haven’t even scratched the surface of the marvel that is Bollywood. There’s so much more and I know that this list will only keep growing.

And if you aren’t bowled over, even in the slightest, let me know, we’ll fix you a list!

Have a super Friday, folks!

:)