It’s Christmas Eve in an Indian household. Freezing cold outside. Everyone is off for the holidays, so the family gets together at a common place. The entire house is buzzing with all generations in one house, grandparents, parents, teens, kids, the entire gang. Everyone is gathered around the family room snacking on warm toasty samosas with cool tangy chutney, munching on appetizers. While waiting for the main course someone says ” let’s play antakshari! I will start with my favorite song from a 1970’s film.”
As this plays out, a typical ABCD child observes this, not knowing any older Bollywood songs. Through the night, soon learns of many Bollywood classic songs by many classic artists.With each old song sung, comes a comment about the movie, the memory, and timeline of events surrounding the film. “Okay time for dinner!” comes the announcement. As everyone rushes to the table to grab a plate someone shouts, ” Since we talked about it so much we HAVE to watch this movie tonight!”
After dinner, the movie begins. The older generation is THRILLED as this taking them back to their childhood. As the movie plays, the “adults” start explaining the background to the children who are unaware of the movie context. ” Back in this time this is what was popular in India, this was the culture, this is what everyone used to do, these songs came from here, the songs had SO MUCH MORE MEANING!”
During the movie, a dances scene comes on and the dancers in the room getup and start dancing while the scene is on from the movie. ” In my college days this was our JAM we used to perform for this at all events, this brings back SO many memories!” At the end of the night, the child that was an abcd, now has knowledge about many different aspects of classic Bollywood and the timeline of India’s events as this happened.
I’m sure this is a familiar scenario in many households abroad, or even in India and this is how many kids got exposed to Bollywood.
I believe Bollywood helps bridge a culture gap! I think when children are able to watch movies from 20-30 years ago, they learn about the culture and timeline at that time. They learn so much just from observing movies and as a byproduct learn about music, dances, language, and so many other things that played a big part in developing India’s social culture. Kids are also exposed to different fashion styles, and of course different types of artists as well as storylines & plots.
In my case, I remember many times when my parents would watch a classic Bollywood movie and I would learn so much about the social culture of India at the time. I also started to love the music from those days and now I believe I am able to relate to all generations because of my taste in music. I think music and movies bridge a gap. Of course as an artist myself I have an extra interest in films because I am able to observe the art aspect of films, but I think it’s beneficial for everyone.
There is a certain connection we develop with Bollywood movies of different times and I think that is also a huge part of passing on culture as Bollywood has impacted our lives in a huge way. As described in the story above, music and films bring people together. If you meet Indians abroad, the first question they will ask each other and connect on would be Bollywood music & movies. I think it’s important to expose the next generation to classic Bollywood, as it truly bridges a gap to enable a wholesome view of the Indian film industry and equip people with a social cultural knowledge.
On that note…picture abhi baaki hai mere dost 😉
“The Indian Girl”
Connect with me on Instagram: Meri Sanskriti,would love to hear from you and your experience!