Bollywood Dance Number, Chalo!

I guess this is Day 6, but I’m starting not to keep track. Here are a few things on my mind:

  • How is India a socialist country with strong influences of a caste system? WILD
  • Why and how to some people pray to celebrities and Bollywood actors/actresses (false idols) in such a dominating religious setting?
  • Why is everything vegetarian… Actually, I know the answer but I still can’t get over it. Craving beef beyond my wildest dreams!
  • I MUST take an International Cinema class when I get back to SU! This is too fascinating.
  • I’ve never had to think so hard about what to wear because of how men might look at me and/or decide to act upon what they see.
  • Damn, it’s hot.
  • So Bombay… Mumbai?
  • SO HAPPY to see “desi girls” with real bodies in films. I can’t explain my appreciation for India’s appreciation of beautiful natural women (except for their oversexualization in pretty much every Bollywood film).
  • Homelessness knows no bounds in India and it literally breaks my heart.
  • Colonization really just ruins everything.
  • How does everyone speak 3+ languages?
  • I’m so American!
  • Lungi Dance, Lungi Dance, Lungi Dance, Lungi Dance…

Other than these obviously vital life questions and realizations, a lot has happened this week! We’re all finally starting to get the hang of the conversion rate when shopping (60 rupee to 1 dollar) but we’re still struggling to order food. Here’s to learning on the go!

I am also deeply rattled by the idea that I need a boy/man to accompany me wherever I go because as a woman (and foreigner), I’m much more vulnerable to whatever dangers lurk in Mumbai. This means no real freedom to explore the city! 😦 Although it’s completely for our safety, the wanderer in me has been utterly squelched. We’ll be going on a weekend trip soon so hopefully I can be more adventurous without a manly companion (thanks Tyler, Wayne, Nate and Aaron for your chivalry!!!).

Since Tuesday we’ve been going to the Whistling Woods International film school and have had the chance to learn from amazingly cool people in the bizz. So far we’ve met Anjum Rajabali (screenwriter) and Sabyasachi Bose (production designer) they’re all just so profound and funny, I can’t take it! I am so in love with the way each of them gracefully articulates their role in the production of a film and the essence of a Bollywood film. It’s all about pure entertainment and an interactive and playful experience.

Also since Tuesday, we have all been working on our Bollywood dancing skills (yes, not what I expected either from a film program). I sincerely believe that Sanjeev Mehta (our PHENOMENAL choreographer and director who is legitimately my favorite person in all of India) thinks that we’re awful Bollywood dancers but we’re having a lot of fun! Tonight we’ll be shooting (as in dancing in) the final music video from 6pm to 6am (a night shoot, yessss!). Although I think I would have preferred to be behind the camera on this one and I’m actually terrified of anyone from the US actually watching it (I suppose you’ll find out why soon), it’s definitely going to be an amazing experience and real slice of Hindu cinema (aka Bollywood)! So, chalo (Hindi for “let’s go”)!

Since I’ve been in India I have been reflecting on my spirituality (as opposed to religiosity). We start each school day off with an hour of yoga. In the states, I had only tried it a few times and had never really had a positive experience. My yoga instructor in India has completely changed my world view on what yoga even is. It’s a spiritual quest to connect with the universe, it’s sweaty and relaxing and a pretty decent workout.

Note: So India’s not a socialist country anymore… awkward. But still, amazed by how the caste system remains prevalent even with it being outlawed. I definitely see parallels to the U.S. and race, especially in regard to affirmative action. A different place is usually more like your place than you’d think.


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