I love nothing more than sitting down with some freshly baked goods, a cup of tea, and watching a new (to me) film. I joined an online film club last month and have managed to see a few new films through that, but I love spending a little time each week reading and researching new films to watch. I’m open to any genre and style (except for really gory horror – I’m a bit of a wimp!) but recently, I’ve sadly noticed big gaps in my international film knowledge. For example, I, a self-proclaimed film lover, have never seen a film from the biggest producer of films in the world – Bollywood. Today was the time to change that.
Bollywood, the Indian Hindi-language film industry, produces more films than Hollywood, and sells nearly twice as many tickets as it’s American name-sake. Although Hollywood has it beat on box office revenue, there’s no denying Bollywood’s massive popularity. Bollywood films are well-known for being colourful and overly dramatic films, with characters breaking out into song and dance every so often, whilst this was certainly true of the film I chose to watch, I found that there were many more dramatic and serious films out there.
I decided to watch Om Shanti Om, the 2007 film starring Bollywood mega-star Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone. I’ve got to admit, it was the bright colours and retro setting that enticed me at first, but once I saw the running length was almost 3 hours I was a little apprehensive. Considering the last film of this length I watched was Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, it would be quite the change of pace.
My apprehension disappeared about 30 seconds in. The opening shot sweeps over a brightly coloured film studio in the 1970s, it was so full of warmth and life that I knew this was going to be a fun watch. The film plot is a a lot – a struggling actor (Khan) is in love with an actress (Padukone) when he witnesses her murder, shortly before being killed himself. Fast forward 30 years, the actor has been reincarnated and slowly realises the truth about his untimely demise, vowing to seek vengeance for the love from his past life. The film is like the perfect escapism action film, combined with some old school Hollywood Singin in the Rain – it is exactly my cup of tea.
I had such a big grin on my face all the way through this, it was so just so much fun to watch. Most of it was played for laughs, but it was really a pleasure to see such a big, sweeping romance, with every beat purely for the audience’s enjoyment. I can completely understand why Shahrukh Khan is the biggest name in Bollywood, he is charming, hilarious, and a talented actor – not to mention his insane body in this film.
I couldn’t stop talking about Om Shanti Om after seeing it, and I’m now desperate to see more Bollywood films. I’ve already had a few recommendations from Instagram, but I’m always open to more!
This has been one of my favourite new things of late, just pure enjoyment through and through. I’m so happy I finally took the plunge and pressed play.