For some of you out there that don’t know what Bollywood is…It’s the informal term used for the Indian Film industry. In fact, Bollywood produces approximately a 1000 films per year compared to Hollywood which produces approximately 500 films. It also sells the largest number of movie tickets all over the world and is projected to make $3.4B in revenue this year.
Bollywood has definitely become hip and more mainstream in the US over the past several years. We are starting to see a wave of Bollywood music and dance routines on American television shows. It is quite shocking to drive down the streets of Old Town Pasadena, and mixed in with the hip hop and rock, you hear bhangra music (Fusion of Indian folk and hip hop) blaring out the open windows of a night club. To be standing in a Gucci store in New York City and suddenly realizing that you are listening to tracks by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan playing around you is rather refreshing. To hear a rendition of an old Bollywood movie song (I am a disco dancer) by a gorgeous actress model from Uzbekistan at a pre-Emmy event in Los Angeles is mind-blowing (It’s true .. it really happened to me .. I swear!)
Some of the top Indian inspired cultural trends that we are starting to see in Hollywood and around the globe are:
– The Sari : An Indian outfit which is on average 9 yards of fabric(silk, cotton, chiffon). It is usually worn with an underskirt and a short top called blouse. The Blouses and the sari’s have come a long long way since our grandmother’s days. The blouses have gotten shorter and the sari styles have become sexier. Deepika Padukone (Bollywood starlet) recently even wore a sari on the red carpet at the Cannes Film festival in France.
Some of the Hollywood celebs that have been seen wearing sari’s are Nicole Scherzinger (Pussy Cat Dolls) and they surely have clad it with a lot of sensuality and style.
-Henna/Mehendi: Some people also refer to it as a temporary tattoo. It is made with natural dye and is cool and painless. Some of the Hollywood stars that dig it are Madonna, Gwen Steffani, Jessica Simpson and Beyonce. Katharine McPhee has actually even worn it on the red carpet and was trying it out as a trial run before she got the real deal. Henna designs are fun and stay on for approximately three weeks before they start fading away.
Henna is not only being used as a form of body art, it’s being used to create beautiful art work too. Check out the amazing website http://allabouthenna.com/ for some amazing artistic creations from candles to jewelry boxes to paintings. They can henna just about anything for you.
–Indian Jewelry: The Hollywood divas and starlets are loving antique Indian jewelry be it the Kundan (form of craftsmanship) pieces or the vintage inspired silver jewelry that dates back to the Moghul era of India. Julia Roberts is decked out in Kundan in the September issue of Elle magazine and Keira Knightley on the red carpet with chandelier Kundan earrings. They are excited about wearing designs that are unique and intricate. Natasha Alam, was seen wearing an RGK D’Zines (www.RGKdzines.com) Kundan ring at the Hollywood Domino Gala & Tournament.
Not only is Hollywood discovering that Bollywood is cool, but most Indians across the globe are realizing that it’s kinda cool to be Indian after all. Check out http://republicofbrown.com/ which is a website that is for all things cool, hip and Indian across the globe.
Do you think you will ever see Angelina Jolie running around a tree singing a song in a Bollywood blockbuster? Hmm….Maybe not, but I do know that Bollywood is here to stay. So Chak De Phatte (loosely translated…Raise the Roof)!