Saturday 24 April 2010

Happy Belated Blogthday & How i fell in love with Bollywood

my first blog header

Oh! how times go by, this blog was 1 year old at the end of February but due to laziness and procrastination, I never really got round to writing this out plus i knew writing a post on how far this blog has come would make me a bit emotional, so i decided to give it a bit more time and alas just when this blog has just over a 100 posts plus i guess I'm a bit more open to let it all out, also a question i never really answered or bothered writing up was how i fell for bollywood/how i discovered bollywood, and what better time to do this than on this blogs first anniversary

I was born in 80's Nigeria, and for as long as i can remember, we always had bollywood movies in my household. Bollywood movies were the craze in 70's/80's Nigeria, according to what I've garnered from friends and family, Bollywood was at one point more popular than Hollywood movies in Nigeria. There was a sense of shared identity amongst Nigerians towards India, i guess the shared history of being a British colony, struggle for independence etc. made India very relate-able to Nigerians plus a lot of themes in bollywood movies at the time such as corrupt leaders, family values etc. was something a lot of Nigerians could relate to. Asides from the aforementioned bollywood films were very entertaining and the songs were usually hummed by many Nigerians, some Nigerian artists even sampled bollywood songs. Nigerians are masala lovers, and movies like Mard, Yeh Vaada Raha, The Burning Train, Seeta aur Geeta, Ghazab, Nagin, Dharam Veer, Dus Numbri, Disco Dancer, Mother India & Jugnu were really popular

The first bollywood movie i remember seeing was Suraag (1982) a Jagmohan Mundra film, which starred Sanjeev Kumar & Shabana Azmi, I remember it being shot in America, i remember spotting the Golden Gate bridge and parts of Las Vegas and indeed according to research i have done on the film, it seems it was the first bollywood film to be shot in America, i remember it was very entertaining and i would watch it over and over (gosh! i must have worn out that Vhs tape)
My first bollywood film, i hope it gets a full Dvd release

I had very young parents who had me when they were just about 20 and i guess that made my Mum somewhat very protective, i was never really allowed to go outside to play with other kids after school. I kept myself busy with my dad's disco records, Michael Jackson, reading Ladybird books & bollywood movies.
Showing my undying love for Michael Jackson aged 5

Bollywood became a favourite past time of mine, i would watch the movies over and over and mimic the language, the first word i learnt was Nahinnnnn (how typical), i loved the songs as well and i have to thank or i should say bollywood helped develop my sense of rhythm as i would watch and dance sync to all the dance moves till i could do it in perfection, had there been youtube back then, i'm sure i'd have asked to be uploaded doing my dance moves

Not only would i dance, but when my friends come over, we would re-enact scenes from our favourite bollywood films. Seeta aur Geeta was a favourite, one person would be the wicked aunty, another the slow Seeta and another the feisty Geeta (ahh the memories)

Overall i must have watched about 15-20 hindi films as a kid, watching over 5 of these films repeatedly overtime. As i grew into my teen years, the same old films seemed to have been in circulation, plus i guess with Nigeria's booming film industry, bollywood took a back seat for many, plus a lot of people felt bollywood was losing its originality as such my affection for bollywood sank, it didn't disappear totally but my interest waned.

Spice Girls 1997

At this time i discovered the Spice Girls who had a huge influence on me (don't laugh) and i guess they were my proper introduction to Pop Culture, i bought magazines with them on it and through them i became heavily interested in the world of film, music and fashion.

When i was 17 and after completing my secondary education i left Nigeria for England, where i reside even till now. I saw a few bollywood movies every now and then, mostly once or twice a year on Tv, but this time it felt a bit strange as i knew nothing of the new stars.

Years later in university, chats with Indian friends as well as a few films from my University library inspired me to start watching again, my first bollywood film after a long while was 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai', i remember not being able to watch it all in one go (i had forgotten the process), and watching it over the space of 2/3 days, i don't even remember what i felt after seeing it, i think i just thought it was cute. Following this, the arrival of youtube was what really brought bollywood back to me as i would youtube old favourites and reminisce on the good old days.

Upon graduating from University which just so happened to be when the world economy came tumbling down, i was unemployed for months on end, during which time i signed on to a dvd rental service and my bollyviewing ways began, i started by watching old favourites of mine, though a huge amount of them didn't seem to be available, then i started looking up recent blockbusters in India to gain an idea of what Indians were watching, i loved some of the films, and I hated some, but the oldies still left the biggest impression on me.

During a night time research of films one night, i landed on filmigeek's blog via wikipedia and my love for bollywood grew even more, she wrote passionately about some golden oldies i had seen, she also had links to other blogs, all of which i loved and would follow religiously. After months of reading many blogs i decided to start mine up, then came the trouble of deciding what to call my own blog. After weeks of frustration i chose bollywooddeewana as it reflected the bollywood craze I was going through at the time (still going through it i must say).

I didn't know how it was going to go but i knew i wanted to share my views as well, i had a hard time discovering the format i would use before deciding i would talk about the plot synposis alongside screencaps as you truly get a feel of the move through that, i also knew i would be talking about the songs as i watch a great deal of movies based on songs alone, i also knew i was going to give an honest review based on My experiences of the film, if i liked it/was entertainned by it, what impressed me or what was going through my head at the time of viewing, and the rest as they say is history

Since then i've blogged about over 80 movies and done some fan & fun posts in between, i've also had many wonderful bollywood experiences such as reviewing numerous films with Raj & Pablo of the Love Bollywood programme on the BBC Asian Network, found a fabulous bolly loving friend i go bollywood clubbing and to the movies with, i also made an appearance in a bollywood film as an extra for Veer (lol). I'll screencap the scenes i appeared in when i finally get the dvd, but below are the shots of the man himself on the sets, i didn't get to meet him personally though
Salman Khan on the sets of Veer at Greenwich, London (March 2009)
Here's the costume i was given as an extra

Having this blog has been wonderful, I've not only learnt an awful lot about bollywood but its also shaped my viewing experiences, i never thought i'd watch black and white movies or experiment with movies that didn't star my favourite stars or ones i knew well, but my viewing experience has been stretched and i have discovered & i'm still learning about new stars, music directors and a whole lot of songs through all you enthusiastic bloggers

I'd like to thank all the wonderful people i've come across through blogging and has helped make this blog what it is from the wonderful dustedoff, bollyviewer, Hmong chick, Avdi, Rum, daddy's girl, Nasir,Bhargav, Sunehri Yaadein, Shell, Sita-ji, Darshit, Richard S., thebollywood fan, Tiff, Cindy, Nida, Mister Naidu, Beth, Sujoy, Ajnabi, & Grand Masala as well as everyone else who follows this blog & links this blog to their blog roll or posts, a BIG
THANK YOU for all your contributions and love, it means a lot and its very much appreciated, here's to many more blogging years to come.

For more on bollywood's influence in Nigeria (Northern Nigeria in particular) read Anthropologist Brian Larkin's great article


Shellie said...

Congrats darling on your blogaversary!!! I remember reading a lot of that on my intro to bollywood post, but it's so nice to hear more! I love reading your blog, even though I've seen probably less than 2% of the movies you talk about. What an education I get though!

Congrats and hope for many many more years of blogging fun!

Rum said...

Awwww thanks for this post! And a happy blogaversary to you! I definitely can relate to your Bollywood binge in your childhood, especially coz my first film was 1942 A Love Story which pretty much started the whole moustache and Anil brigade! And despite the ingrained Bollywood in us both, we turned out pretty good after all!

And you must the most famous of us bolly bloggers coz of your necessary special appearance in that hilariously bad film!

Here's to more reviews and 80's movies that simply rock for years to come!

Rum said...

Loooool love that angry Anil header! It captures the essence of all his angry outbursts in any film!

bollyviewer said...

Very happy blogaversary, Bollywooddeewaana! I cant believe your blog is only just over a year old. Feels like I've always been coming here for your fun and hilarious-fashion-heavy reviews!

Loved hearing about your journey into Bollywood deewaanapan (craziness). I love hearing what brings non-Indians to Bollywood, especially old movies, and I am so glad that you wrote it up. Here's hoping that there will be many more years of blogging (and Bollywood) madness from Bollywooddeewana!

PS: LOVE your Veer costume.

Nicki said...

Happy Anniversary/Birthday, whatever to call it :)

I loooove this post! Thanks for sharing with us about how you fell for Bollywood. I hope you will fall for Tollywood soon :)

I do have to admit I fell out of Bollywood in my high school years and got back to it again...yes, it was KKHH :)

Thanks for the shoutout!

I cannot wait to read more about your extra in Veer :)

Anonymous said...

Belated happy birthday - and thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us. I loved your story (and I loved that photo of you as a kid - too cute!!)

Here's wishing you many, many more years of good films and great blogging.

Momtazbh said...

That was such a lovely read, it was so nice to hear an open and honest account of your love affair with bollywood and the photos are superb! obviously the two of you are fab but that close up of salman? a classic! Look forward to reading many more fantastic post and would be great to hear reviews of newer films too!

bárbara said...

Aaaaaaaaaaw! Happy blogaversary! ^_^
I loved reading how you would re-enact the scenes from Seeta aur Geeta.
Now I guess I'll have to buy a copy of Veer myself...

And thank you for the link on Bollywood influence in Nigeria.
On of my unfulfilled obsessions (sigh) is to learn more about African movies, particularly Nigerian and Egyptian, as I've read they're heavily influenced by Bollywood and actually feature some song-and-sance.
Must... find...somehow...

José Viruete said...

Great post, and happy anniversary! The internet is full of previews and reviews of new movies, but there are not that many blogs talking about the films you used to talk. Almost every movie you review is a new find to me and I love that: indian films history is big and I'm just starting to discover it!

In my case my interest comes from asian movies and my wish to watch more weird, exotic movies. With India I felt like I got tons of them, specially from 60s-70s (my fav period so far). Of course in Spain is a very, very underground thing, but at least in Madrid we got a pair of Indian film festivals and one or two big screen movies every year, something unthinkable just 5 years ago.

Hope you blog for many more years! :D

Mister Naidu said...

Great post and thanks for sharing your story and how you fell in love with the whole world has, too. So, its not too surprising to find out that you're not Indian; like myself and many other Bollywood bloggers.

Keep up the great work! Look forward to more of your excellent in-depth reviews and many more happy blogthdays in the years to come!

Nasir said...

For one it's so refreshing to learn Bollywood is making waves abroad to the extent of attracting critics from abroad. Now this is heartening since I had a guilty conscience that perhaps I wasted my time watching all those local movies since I was a kid at least till the Seventies. It's a relief to know that I am in the midst of great company.
What can I say? Keep on going as long as you can Bollywooddeewana and let us know of our great films - and our stupid films. It's better to travel than to arrive.

ajnabi said...

Happy bloggy birthday to you!!! I love reading about your journey as a fan--those are some of my favorite stories. :-) And that's so cool about you getting to be an extra on Veer! I had no idea.

desigrl27 said...

I really liked the story. You have a great blog here, and thanks so much for reading mine :)

sunheriyaadein said...

Happy belated anniversary!!! :-)
Loved your story of how you fell in love with bollywood. That pic of u as a kid with MJ t-shirt is soooooooo cute and I liked the Veer costume as well.
All the best! Keep up the good work and wish you many more years of blogging!

Anonymous said...

Happy blogthday and blogaversary! And the comments at the end of your post are much appreciated.

My familiarity with Bollywood films is much newer than yours. In fact, I almost envy you for your childhood experience with these movies. Growing up in The Bronx, NY, USA, I had very little exposure to Indian films (though much more access to Indian music over the years)...

But I have certainly made up for that lost time recently. And there's one thing we definitely have in common: Had it not been for the collapse of the world economy, I don't think I would have been unemployed enough to get so heavily into this obsession either.

One final thing I wanted to mention... It was very amusing seeing your digression to love of the Spice Girls. You must like that Spice Girls-flavored remix of "Saiyan Dil Mein Aana Re"...

dunkdaft said...

Happy blogthday man. I'm waiting for the veer pics :) I knew u must be wearing that getup.

Filmbuff said...

Happy Blog Birthday Bollywood Deewana!

A truly interesting story - straight from the heart about your journey in bollywood viewing. Nice pics too.

May I suggest that you choose a different colour as a background to your blog? The dark pink makes it a bit difficult for some of us to read the print.

I have been reading your reviews and also commenting on some.

Best wishes and happy blogging!

Sujoy said...

Where's the party tonight :))

Big big congrats on the anniversary :)

And cheers to the many more years of blogging on Bollywood and fandom to come.

bollywooddeewana said...

@ Shell Thanks so much, very much appreciated

@ Rum Bahut Shukriya, you're welcome. The Anil pic was to show my love and utter craze for bollywood hence why i chose the angry looking picture to show how crazy i was for bollywood. Indeed when i watched Veer i was like what the hell did i appear in this movie for, but it was a great experience despite the films flaws

@ Bollyviewer,thanks a lot, i hated the costume at first but i eventually loved it

@ Nicki Thanks a lot, i shall write it up as soon as i get the dvd

@ dustedoff Bahut Bahut Shukriya :0)

@ Momtaz, Thank you, i don't get to watch too much and when i do i'm not inspired to write them up, but i'll take your point into account

@ Barbie-0 Thanks so much, some less than 1% of Nigerian films to feature songs and dance sequences like hindi movies,but i think the melodrama and the idea of comic side plots in hindi movies had a huge influence on Nigerian movies. There are some Nigerian films on youtube, i've linked a favourie of mine below, its on youtube in 15 parts, hope you can sit through it ;0)

@ José Thanks so much for your kind comments, its very encoraging and i myself love movies from that particular decade, stay tuned for more and its great to hear about Bollywood gaining ground in Spain

@ Mister Naidu, Thanks for your encouragement as always :0)

@ Nasir Thank you so much for the kind wishes

@ Ajnabi Thanks, being on Veer was an experience lots of waiting around though. I'll talk more about it when i post my screencaps

@ Bollywood Rocks Thanks, You're welcome

@ Sunehri Yaadein Thank you so much

@ Richard S. Thanks a lot and extra thanks for that Link, you know so much about Indian/Pakistani Pop

@ Darshit Thanks a lot Darshit, i'll get round to it when i get the Dvd

@ Filmbuff Thank you so much, The background where the texts are is white, so it should be fairly easy to read now

@ Sujoy Thank you so much mate, i had planned a party but the bollywood stars i was relying on to put on a big show were throwing Diva strops, so i backed out ;0)

Beth Loves Bollywood said...

I love reading these stories! So cool. Also, your look as an extra is SUPERWOW! No Bollywoodfugly for you! :)

bollywooddeewana said...

Thanks a lot Beth & i'm indeed grateful that the costumes weren't fugly

Daddy's Girl said...

Love this post... made me smile to see how Bollywood (and blogging about Bollyood) has had such a positive on your life. I can definitely say the same! Oh, and you looked fab in your costume for Veer - that must've been quite an experience. Bollywood deewana zindabad!!!

bollywooddeewana said...

Bahut Bahut Shukriya Daddy's Girl, it definitely has, i've had the chance to meet lots of people plus i've learnt so much more about the industry through blogging than any magazine or book.Veer was definitely an experience i had fun on the sets, i'll write more about it when i get the dvd

Ava said...

You write so knowledgeably about Hindi films that I thought you were an Indian. Well, I am zapped. :D

I adore your blog.

bollywooddeewana said...

Bahut Bahut Shukriya Avdi, that means a LOT to me. Its always great reading your contributions on here ;)

dido said...

you remind me so much of my self especially my love for bollywood movies that goes back to the late eighties, seeing dus numbri brought back so much emotions to those years in our small nigerian community in cotonou, thanks so much for this post

bollywooddeewana said...

@ Ado Thank you so much for stopping by to comment,it means a lot. Thanks for sharing your little story too, reminds me of how Nigerians really really love Dus Numbri

Neha said...

Hi bollywooddeewana :D
I've visited your blog before but I had no idea that you were a reviewer for LoveBollywood :)
Wow, I can't believe I've tracked your blog down!
I've heard you reviewing on LoveBollywood and I think you're a good reviewer :D
Congrats on being an extra in Veer!!
How did you become one (if you don't mind me asking)?

Lotsa love,
Neha x

bollywooddeewana said...

Hi Neha, thanks for your very kind words,I think i might have heard you on the show with the guys as well. I got to be an extra through my dear friend, she sent me a text on how the Veer Production crew were looking for extras, it was on a Monday and I had the day off and I thought why the hell not, it was quite an experience, lots of waiting around, but it was fun and Salman was pretty nice too and friendly

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