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What Sticks in the Mind: Bollywood, The Greatest Love Story Ever Told
by Shelly Schoeneshoefer

More than three weeks had passed since we saw this film; I sat down with the two boys to discuss what we remembered. Normally I have a great memory for details and storylines, but I had to admit that it was difficult to recall details in this film. Is it because the culture is so different or because there was so much going on that we were simply overloaded by images? Sounds easy, doesn’t it? It was a struggle, but also definitely a challenge and an exercise to examine what had stuck in our memory banks. Ten minutes later and still we couldn’t remember anything except the music, an important feature of Bollywood.

I have blurred visions of images dancing to repeated drumming, a high woman’s voice answered by a male’s counterpart voice, more swirling, more singing, beautiful clothes and the feeling of drama and unobtainable love, and finally an overwhelming feeling of love, joy and understanding.

The boys said:
OW: It reminds me of a graduation ball where the women dress in beautiful ball gowns and the men somehow seem to dress in normal clothes.
AS: I remember the choreography, where large groups all dance together in perfection. I also know that it explains India’s history which included poverty, war, and demonstrations with lots of black-and-white scenes and darkness.
OW: I felt it characterizes the family history, as a sort of saga; there was not much dialogue, but mostly traditional Indian dancing which tells the story.
AS: I agree. The dancing helps the viewers to forget their own poverty and living conditions.  India is a culture where men dominate and make decisions about the woman’s future. They are not equal like we are in Germany.

I understand why someone in India would like this film but that has nothing to do with our lives. We don’t normally watch a three-hour film and we don’t have a caste system, so why is Bollywood growing in popularity in the western world? We all three agreed that the music is lively and fantastic. The actors and actresses are beautiful and we all loved the costumes. The meaning of Bollywood actually isn’t so important to us.

In the end both boys remembered and liked best the short film, The God, which showed at the beginning. It is amazing how easily a God can be destroyed by a small fly. Bzzzzzzzz! Klunk!