Badey badey deshon mein…
Bollywood is thriving in unexpected ways and at the unlikeliest of places. In distant countries, viewers treasure Bollywood’s love stories and family sagas. Fans who don’t speak a word of Hindi can sing Bollywood songs and have more knowledge of the Indian film industry than most Indians.
Such is the love and affection Fabienne Menoud has for India and its vibrant film industry. A nurse in Haiti, 26-year-old Fabienne is a huge Bollywood fan and has been following the film industry ever since she was a teenager.
Recently, she was in news for penning a powerful open letter about the racism she has faced for being a black Bollywood fan.
In another open letter, she writes about her dream to travel to India, her fascination with Indian culture and her deep love for Indian movies.
Fabienne’s Facebook timeline is peppered with photos of her with several Indian stars.
Since I was little I was always curious about meeting new people from new countries.
So, when my geography teacher introduced us to India and his culture, at first, I was just curious to know about a new country and a new culture.
But when she showed us Bend it Like Beckham, and I saw all the wedding preparation and the dance, I found it so beautiful and so nice. When I watched Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, in my mind, I had to understand what the meaning of family is in the Indian culture, how do they approach the birth of a person the death too, but also the religion, the love, everything!
Watching Bollywood movies helped me a lot to learn about the celebrations, what kind of music was played, what dances were performed during what celebration. What’s very interesting is each state has its own way to celebrate the same fest, but it is quite similar for the states of the north and quite similar for the states of the south.
For instance, on Navratri, the dance you have is garba, and a loft of music with the dhol instrument. The bhangra is a dance from Punjab. Lavani is an Indian dance, like ‘Pinga’ from Bajirao Mastani, from the state of Maharashtra. But the most famous dance is the Bharatanatyam from south India and the Kathak, where actress Madhuri Dixit-Nene comes to mind.
All these different kinds of dance I know because of Bollywood.
Or celebrations like Holi, Karwa Chauth, Ganesh Chaturthi, Navarathri, Diwali, Durga puja, Dussehra – all these and more, I discovered through Bollywood movies.
The value of the family, the fact that after the wedding, the wife leaves her house to go live with her husband and his family. Rakhi that celebrates the fraternal link between people. These are also things that I learned from movies like Vivaah or Kuch Kuch Hota Hai or Devdas!
All of my first connections to India and its culture were through Bollywood. And it’s because of my love for Bollywood that I bought a lot of books about India and her culture. That, and I was also tired of watching Bollywood movie with subtitles and wanted to learn Hindi.
Now, India is my dream destination and I have so many places to see!
I want to go see the Taj Mahal, the fort of Agra, the palace of wind in Jaipur, the Jal Mahal and the Amber fort. And I also want to go to Mumbai to see Elephanta cave, Victoria station [CST], the Mehboob studios, film city, the Yash Raj studios, and to Mannat and the front of Deepika’s house because I’m a fan of hers. Lol! I also want to go to Goa, to Kolkata, Bangalore, to Manali – and at the end of it all I want to have visited at least 10 states of India!
But another thing I want to do to is to assist a wedding in India to be part of the mehendi celebrations!
For me, India has so much to offer in knowledge, in culture. This is a country that fascinates me, because of its history, value and culture.
This is my dream, but since I want to see so many different places, it’s going to be expensive so I will have to wait a little longer to fulfill my travel dream!