Monday, December 31, 2007

Laawaris (or Why I Watched My First Bollywood Movie)

Laawaris was my first Bollywood movie ever.

Before I get into the movie, I have to tell you a little story about myself, because it kind of explains how I got so interested in Hindi cinema in the first place.

My father is Pakistani, with roots tracing back to the Punjab of India, and my mother German and Mexican, born and raised in the U.S.(as I was). When I was four, we actually lived in Karachi for six months, and the music,language, clothing and food lingers in some of my earliest memories.My parents divorced shortly after my return to the United States and I had no contact with my birth father for 20 years.

As a child, I often found it hard to fit in because I wasn't full German, wasn't full Mexican, wasn't full anything...and I really didn't know any Pakistanis. I always felt like a piece of me was missing, like a part of myself was taboo in my family because my mother had been hurt by my father and didn't have very pleasant memories of Pakistan. One day, I was up early watching Saturday morning cartoons and came across a song from a Hindi movie. I don't know how I knew it was similar to my dad's language, but I did. There was an eerie sense of familiarity in the music which I found strangely comforting. I'm not sure why, but this song of a woman dancing around a lounge stuck in my head for years....

20 years later, when I met my father and his wife Uzma, it was like a whole new cultural experience for me...But I loved every minute of it! Finally, I could learn and piece together the part of my heritage that had been a mystery for so many years...We looked through pictures of my family in Pakistan, ate Uzma's yummy cooking, and sipped chai. Uzma even sent me home with some of the black powdery eyeliner my mother loved so much from Pakistan! Today I have a nice relationship with them, visiting them in New York every now and then.

Ok, so back to Bollywood. It all started when a clerk at a gas station had poor enough eyesight to tell me I looked like Zeenat Aman(Now that I've seen her, I'm very,VERY sad to say I look nothing like her. I'm not even going to lie to you!). Curious, I called Uzma(You have to remember that I never felt like I fit in any kind of cultural group, so I was pleased to see that somebody had actually treated me like I should know who Zeenat Aman was, rather than looking at me like, "Oh, I wonder what she's mixed with?"), and of course she laughed and said we may have similar hair. But she did find it cute, so she promised to search through her movies and send me one with Zeenat Aman in it...

I'm totally not going to paste a pic of myself here because you would just laugh too hard...

But it actually took me awhile to watch this movie. I was interested, but not enough to place it at the top of my priority list(at that time, I actually did have a life). Finally, one night I popped it in...and guess what....

The first song in Laawaris was the same one I had seen on tv so many years ago! Now what are the odds of that? Of all the hundreds of Hindi films there are, what are the chances of my ever coming across that random song again? And to add to the irony, the movie was sort of about a man meeting his birth father and coming to terms with his identity...Freaky....

I wish I could say more about the movie, but to be honest, I had a hard time paying attention. The scenes would jump from one random place to the next(Where did Zeenat Aman come from anyways? She just sort of appeared... and her and the lead actor were suddenly singing on mountaintops), and the subtitles were really hard to follow. And is it just me, but do some of the scenes seem like they go on forever?

I would really like to re-watch this and re-post, because now being a Bollywood lover and more used to the swing of things, I would probably be a lot more forgiving and enjoy the movie more!

Text (c) 2007 Nida Nazir Bitten By Bollywood


bollywoodfoodclub January 28, 2008 at 10:06 PM  

Nida, I love your story! I know just the song you're talking about from Laawaris. Here's a link to a post I did related to that:

and also here:

I just love that movie, and what great introduction for you to Bollywood!

The parts I remember most and liked the best were of course when the young Amitabh (Heera) can't stop dancing to his mom's jam on the radio, not even knowing it was her and the connection. It's just like your real life story in a way, right? How your remembered the song after all those years.

I also loved how the guy Amjad Khan played just dissed Rakhee when he found out she was pregnant and said something like, "Well I spend my days with you, but who knows who you're with at night." He played an awesome jerk!

And that guru-priest-blind dude who followed Heera around as a kid protecting him.

And that super hot scene in the museum/temple, where Amitabh thrusts himself into Zeenat, confronting her on her uptight judgement of "illegitimate" children and putting lust right before her to deny. HOT!

Mostly I liked Amitibh's whole, "I'm an orphan, don't mess with me!" attidude.

Blog on larki!

Your new dost,

Daddy's Girl February 19, 2008 at 10:04 AM  

Ah 'Laawaris'... brings back fond memories. I love 'Jis Ka Koi Nahin' and Amitabh's 'ada' in the film... loved it... also loved the part with him dancing in drag...

Robins Tomar August 14, 2008 at 8:28 AM  

Great to find one more Bollywood lover. Keep this site up.

Nida August 19, 2008 at 12:48 PM  


Thank you for the comment! I love writing and plan to keep the site up, but your words of encouragement are always welcome (and really nice to hear). :)

yves January 28, 2009 at 9:53 AM  

Wow, what a nice post... I was on your website and it sent me here. I love these stories: heritage, memory, identity... They are so full of meaning! [Not like Choker Bali :-)]
And even if you aren't like Zeenat Aman, never mind, because SHE doesn't have a nice blog like yours (does she?)

Nida January 28, 2009 at 3:15 PM  

Aww, thank you Yves! That truly just made my day!:)

Hans Meier April 15, 2011 at 10:12 AM  

Awww, wow, another nice post, lovely story and the less you say about the movie, the more entertaining the post gets (no, serious). Really like your engaging writing and hope-hope-hope you start writing again!There's so much out there to be blogging about.

Anonymous,  December 12, 2011 at 2:47 AM  

cheap goose jackets sale online sale Denmark Canada, UK,
goose trillium parka jackets womens online sale Denmark Canada, UK,
Canada goose freestyle vest online sale Denmark Canada, UK,
Goose Chilliwack Bomber online sale Denmark Canada, UK,
Canada Goose Mens Citadel Parka online sale Denmark Canada, UK,
Canada Goose Expedition Parka sale online sale Denmark Canada, UK,
Mens goose snow mantra parka online sale Denmark Canada, UK,
Canada Goose Yorkville Parka sale online sale Denmark Canada, UK,
womens Goose Chilliwack Parka jackets online sale Denmark Canada, UK,
womens Goose Expedition Parka Jackets online sale Denmark Canada, UK,
womens Goose Kensington Parka online sale Denmark Canada, UK,
Canada Goose Womens Montebello Parka online sale Denmark Canada, UK,
womens Goose Solaris Parka Jackets online sale Denmark Canada, UK.

  © Blogger template The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP