Indie Birds – Keeping In Touch
Mera Joota Hai Japani,
Yeh Patloon Englistaani,
Sar Pe Laal Topi Roosi,
Phir Bhil Dil Hai Hindustani ..
These immortal lines from the Raj Kapoor classic can never fail to intensify a longing for the motherland among Indians living away from ‘home’. Be it a latest Shahrukh Khan bollywood blockbuster or a Satyajit Ray classic, Indian cinema in general has been for many Indians living away, a way to keep connected with their roots. For many people, settling abroad is a cherished dream, while for those who live away from their motherland, their hearts long for reuniting with the
lost bonds. We, the people living abroad, in a peculiar way we feel more Indian than the ones living in India. Distances make the love grow fonder?
For most of us Indian families, weekends are special days where we look forward to a new released Indian film. And we throng Indian movie theaters with same excitement. Tickets are often sold out. And, if it is a much awaited Sivaji The Hero or Om Shanti Om, even advance booking does not help. It is not rare to spend hours uselessly at a nearby mall waiting to get tickets of a recent Aamir Khan starrer. Watching an Indian movie with Indian friends on a weekend on an Indian cinema hall is blissful. The ambiance itself is so Indian with Indian families, kids, popcorn, foot-tapping music, and Indian artifacts on display. It is like we have come home. What a way to get rid of the homesickness that we are away in a foreign land. There is a strange bond that all present in a movie theater feel, a bond of being part of one large family. We would not have bothered about these people when in India, but here we see it as an opportunity to network with fellow Indians and be a part of the Indian community. When we watch a movie together we laugh, cry and feel together as a community.
At home, we wait for the afternoon Bollywood or regional classics on TV and leave no chance to rent any Hindi or regional movies. With animated mythological classics coming up, we use them to educate our kids about our culture and traditions. Films like Bal Ganesh and Hanuman Returns are favorites among the younger lot. Music and the animated dance sequences are nothing less than what we could see in a Disney animated classic. A stack of Indian DVDs lying on the shelf in the living room is a reassuring sight. Along with other things its a part of the ‘Indianess’ in our homes.
Indian cinema is one of the major connecting factors that take us back into our country amidst our people and culture. And while people are passionate about their movies back home, for many Indians living abroad, watching an Indian movie is a way of revisiting their country.