Wednesday, July 9, 2014

chemistry experiments: Inducting the Bollywood Newbie


Five things that seem to BREAK Bollywood first time inductions: 

5. The "out of date" factor. Did the film release more than a decade ago? Good luck getting your Bolly newbie to watch Bollywood with you again. [Oft-witnessed exception: DDLJ].

4. Story is too serious, or outright tragic. Even something with a lot of amazing songs and dance sequences (Read: Bhansali's Devdas or Dil Se) might warn people away because SADNESS, and feelings.

3. Length of film. Yes. 3 hours is a long time. Don't be afraid to fast forward for the sleepy viewer.

2. Offended sensibilities. Does the film in question have a song(s) in a temple? Are they explicitly devotional? Are children repeatedly treated with neglect or abuse? Does rape figure prominently into the storyline? Does the parental POV take up much of the movie and lean toward the hyper-traditional? Are the action scenes frequent, loud, extended, or hammy? Does the film support its characters being "punished" for seemingly minor infractions? [I could go on and on. This has been the hardest category for me to get around, especially when inducting family members. I can look past, forgive, and even be interested in all of these *depending on context*, but these elements rarely go over well with the un-committed.]

1. Finding the lead actor(s) laughable, subsequently unable to take story seriously.

For this reason, I never start with painfully fugly film years, hit or miss stars, or time-locked actors (like Rajesh Khanna, Anil Kapoor, or even Shashi Kapoor). I would say the same thing about actresses, but they seem to be "less" of a factor in a newcomer's experience than the charismatic male lead. Being romantically interested in women doesn't necessarily change that watching trend, from what I've seen. Male characters usually drive stories. And the actor playing the character that drives the story is going to make or break how you relate to it all. That said, let not the main actress be (a) whiny or (b) wooden, or (c) ugly. That could be detrimental to the first-timer's impressions. `

Five things that seem to MAKE Bollywood first time inductions: 

5. Club/Pop music. People like it, I guess. [I'll be over here, talking to R.D. Burman, thanks.]

4. Glossy picture quality. By my third Hindi film, I had already dropped this requirement, more's the luck. But you can't expect most new filmi explorers to do the same.

3. Romance. You know, the tried and true hilltop, multiple-sari, neck canoodling, ends in a rain song love story. It's a stereotype for a reason.

2. Tight editing. Something like Jodhaa Akbar might appeal to the newbie with already wet toes (or niche interests), but the grand biopic scope of the thing makes for some slow scenes and some very drawn out ideas. Same goes for a romance like Veer-Zaara; even though it was my second Hindi film, I can't say I would recommend the slow burn and flash-back framing for the newcomer. Plus, it seems unfair to suggest films that don't have re-watch value for me. If I don't care to give it six hours, why should I ask anyone else to give it three? They're more likely to stay awake for SRK's Don or Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani.

1. Charismatic male lead.

Read: Shah Rukh. His appeal is *nearly* limitless, in my experience. Even for the non-smitten, he seems to win the uninformed and confused over through straight-up hypnosis. Though, I've seen a few people immediately gravitate towards Ranbir or Hrithik instead. You know, the 1-3%.

Bonus Round: The target viewer's personal aesthetic, niche interests, genre leanings, world cinema experience really does matter. Trying to pick out a Hindi film for a lover of Eastern European cinema and dark social commentaries is a lot different than choosing one to show a middle-aged Scandinavian on a Sunday afternoon. And a much younger sibling? I would suggest picking something funny in any Indian language. Just do. Or something with interesting CGI and worldbuilding (my youngest brother is obsessed with the fictionalized past depicted in Maghadeera, which tickles me to no end).

* * *

After spending nearly a year writing about what makes all these films compelling to me, it's natural to think about what creates an appeal for others (especially when trying to convert friends and family). But I have to admit, when it comes to one's first experience with the Hindi film industry, it all might come down to luck.

Would I have gotten the instant Bollywood Brain if my first movie hadn't been Fanaa? It may not make it to a lot of best-of lists, but it does have most of the individual elements I want in a Hindi melodrama. It relies on a lot of tropes [blindness, unwed motherhood, separated lovers, mountain reunions] that you can find in the melodramatic masala of movies like Khwab, Daag, Aradhana, Aa Gale Lag Jaa, etc. It's got Urdu couplet recitation (albeit rather dumbed down) that entranced me the first time I heard it . . . and made me instantly interested in studying the language formally. It's technically a muslim social, too: not that common in Bollywood anymore...but one of the genres I love in older films. And the scope was suitably large to woo me into (idealized) Indian culture beyond Mumbai or Delhi. I can see the problems in the film, but I'm so very glad it found me. I can't imagine a better introduction [for me], especially when faced with the options of other Netflix accessible, more recent films.

So yes, I will continue to scheme up better ways to make others see what I see. What else are we gonna talk about otherwise?

13 comments:

  1. (1/2)

    The greatest difficulty you face here is that no one thing will work on everyone, and yet you typically only get one chance - someone who hates the first movie you offer them will not likely allow you to subject them to a second unless they really, really like you.

    You have done a lot of systematic thinking on the topic - this is good, and I think all of us who are outsiders fascinated by Indian films and who are given to analysis have thought about the most efficient approach to proselytization and spreading the Good Word. But some of the candidates you consider, others wouldn't come near as first choice. I will tell you a story. In 2007 or so I met a German woman. When she learned of my interest in Hindi films she said, "Oh, I have seen a few of those, I really can't stand them." When I pressed her on why, she said, "They all have that same guy in them, and he's awful."

    She meant Shah Rukh Khan. (In those days some German TV station was showing a lot of SRK films, and that's why Germany has so many Bollywood fans.) I can't say I disagree with her. If my first mainstream Hindi film had been an SRK film, I too might not have watched a second one.

    You also just have to account for taste in some way, which is an almost impossible task. You reject Devdas on the basis that it is sad; I reject it because it is absolute self-indulgent dreck, an awful story about an awful person played by an awful actor. (I might show someone the songs alone if I thought they would enjoy that sort of thing.) Likewise Dil Se; while the film has redeeming features, I wouldn't want to make someone squirm through half the film watching an ugly, arrogant man stalk an innocent woman who obviously doesn't enjoy his company and bully her into falling in love with him. If DDLJ were my first mainstream Hindi film I definitely would not have watched a second.

    It's all a matter of taste.

    When I first saw Fanaa, which snared you so thoroughly on a single viewing, I was still not fully inculcated into the masala aesthetic. Of Aamir Khan I had seen Earth, and Lagaan, and Rang de Basanti. The bar was set high. I came out of Fanaa having enjoyed the first half but being somewhat embarrassed by the level of WTFery in the second half.

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  2. (2/2) continued

    The upshot its, which I am sure you already know but I am enjoying pontificating, that you must always be careful not to rely too much on your own taste when choosing films for others. You definitely should consider the specific interests of the individual. You can also prepare them in advance for any of the issues that you cite in your very careful analysis, to help them get over the hump, as it were. If you are starting with a masala film, explain what masala is to help set expectations accordingly. If you are starting with an older film, explain the significance of the actors in it or its place relative to Indian film history and/or social history. If you are starting with a long film, offer to watch it in two sittings. Etc.

    Okay, here is the punchline you are waiting for: What has Carla used to introduce the curious but ignorant westerner to the world of Indian cinema? The answer is everything from art films to masala, depending upon the person. I have had varying levels of success. Paheli always works well as a first mainstream film (yes, Paheli, even thought I hate SRK - go figure). It meets nearly all your criteria above which I think shows how well-thought-out they are. It also has the advantage of being quite obviously a fable, which means people (read: westerners) forgive lapses of realism a little more readily than they otherwise might. Westerners have this peculiar notion that western films are "more realistic" and that more realistic = better. Viewed in the full context of global film history it becomes obvious that neither of these statements is true but most people don't view films in that context.

    I have also had good success with Sholay and Lagaan, both of which are very long. Lagaan meets most of your criteria; Sholay meets fewer, but it is so important and so wonderful that it pulls people in. I recently gave these to a friend who (along with her partner) is a SERIOUS film buff. I handed them to her with a brief synopsis of why they MATTER, which really got her interest.

    Dil Chahta Hai seems to do well as another starter; it also meets most of your criteria and sometimes surprises westerners (may be less so today? I'm not sure) with its window on a slick, urban India that is not part of the cows-and-sadhus stereotype image that many have in their minds. Finally, I have had GREAT success with Seeta aur Geeta. Seriously, who doesn't like Seeta aur Geeta??? Anyone who doesn't you probably want to cut out of your life anyhow.

    And lastly, on the theme of "consider your audience", my 12-year-old nephew was transfixed by Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, and by Amar Akbar Anthony. When working with kids, all bets are off. They don't care about realism or production values, they only want to see a good story. They love masala.

    Okay I have officially made myself late to work but I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this comment. I hope you don't mind if I save some of it to work into an essay of my own.

    Sincerely,
    carla (aka Filmi Geek)
    http://filmigeek.net

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    1. Wonderful thoughts Carla, all . . . and you cement the premise of the post, this darn first watch thing is COMPLEX and stands stands on a knife blade, doesn’t it?

      For years, I was turned off from Bollywood (which my best friend was into for a while--tho she never sought out much beyond the 2000’s) because she showed me Bride & Prejudice when it first came out . . . explaining to me that it was basically just a Bollywood film in English. She loves Aishwarya Rai and worships Jane Austen, so it was the perfect storm of a film for her. I hated it. The dialogue and leads were wooden (Flash forward: I still don’t much like Aishwarya), and I couldn’t believe I was sitting through yet another adaptation of P&P. I did like the snake dance, and that’s about all I can recall of the film, because I have filed the rest away in a dark place. Unfortunately, it became the reigning image of Bollywood for me. I empathize with all those suckers who think they know what Bollywood is, and therefore, think they aren’t interested.

      I love this topic, because I want to believe that there’s a Hindi movie for almost anyone. What I hate about my list, however (lol) is that it rules out 99% of my favorites and leaves me rewatching 3rd tier “sure, why not” films (like a lot of the films I mentioned above). All the time, I’m sitting there thinking that I’d rather watch Zeenat’s Don for the 8th time than watch Priyanka’s Don for the 5th time. So, the first “break” is the worst, considering that most of my favorite films are pre-90’s. And like you say “You have to account for taste in some way, which is almost an impossible task.”

      I am inclined to adopt your technique: Explain the significance of an older film and just expect that kindred spirits will see the light, and the chaff will weed itself out.

      Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I haven’t had success with older films. My Kaala Patthar showings have succeeded 2 out of 3 times. But those folks had already seen a Bollywood film or two, so it doesn’t exactly count. I like your list of older films, and I think I could definitely come up with a handful in every decade as starter films.

      *For the 50’s and 60s: Mughal-e-Azam, for the scope, the songs, Madhubala. Maybe Gumnaam or Yakeen for a thriller. Everybody loves Jewel Thief, but I haven't seen it yet, so I can't say one way or another. Chori Chori or Shree 420 feel like they walk the line between Western and Bombay filmmaking styles, and are fairly fast paced. It’s an era in which I still have much to discover myself, so I won’t make too many grand statements.

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    2. 70’s: Where you would say Sholay, AAA, or Seeta aur Geeta . . . I would probably pick Kaala Patthar, Suhaag, or Raja Jani. Maybe as runner-ups: Sharmilee (the print is glossy), Caravan (sequence after fun sequence), Blackmail (my experimental showing was successful). And I have about a zillion other favorites in this decade (of course?!) to foist upon others. My closest brother in age tends to join me for ensemble pieces (like Gaddaar) or That Which Contains Helen and Covers Over Many Flaws (like The Train).

      80’s: Top of my list is Mr. India. Well edited, follows a narrative that will make more sense to Westerners, doesn’t have most of those objectionable elements. I’m angling for it to be the induction for my brother’s girlfriend. As we’ve discussed, it’s dang hard to recommend 80’s films past 1983. I’ve seen a fair few I’ve enjoyed, but few I could defend. I think maybe Masoom for thoughtful viewer? I saw Waqt ki Awaz recently, and even without subtitles, my sister watched part of it with me and enjoyed the heck out of it. Sridevi and Mithun make a lively pair, the picture quality is better than usual, and the songs are fun.

      90’s? People love KKHH, but I can’t stand it. Same with most of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. I’ve inducted multiple people successfully into filmi-dom with this DDLJ. I’m inclined to love it just for that fact, despite the multitude of morally objectionable elements. I’m still working on the 90’s, myself, so I probably shouldn’t advise. Would you suggest Andaz Apna Apna?

      Recent--non SRK.

      Lagaan might work well for the sport’s fan. I don’t love it, but I can see what it does right. Paheli is an interesting choice--I like the fable quality, and the final twist, but I felt the flow/editing was strange and stilted.

      FYI, obviously you’re right about the SRK Factor. It could be deadly in certain situations. I’ve seen a lot of his films, but he’s not at all necessary to my world ;) Madhuri is THE reason I like Devdas. I used it as a starter for some friends last fall, and it got very mixed reviews. Mostly, “It’s so sad!” They weren’t comforted by my apocryphal theory that after Devdas dies, Chandramukhi breaks Paro out of her haveli in the middle of the night, dispatch her husband, and run off together, Thelma and Louise style.

      Rab ne Bana di Jodi is a small sensation among my family and certain friends. I have little to no idea why. I think I would suggest Band Baaja Baraat or Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (as much as I don’t feel the need to see them again soon) for people who want something with a contemporary feel. I am curious to see if: Ishqiya, Honeymoon Travels, Lootera, Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! or Kahaani might woo those who have issues with people breaking out into song “out of nowhere.” As one person told me, “Typical Bollywood film, songs and dances.” (They were describing Kaala Patthar. I know.) I want to answer “Songs and dances were no more realistic in Moulin Rouge, people. And what makes them less realistic than zombies or fake science or physics defying car chases?” As you say, Westerners do have strange definitions/values attached to realism. That’s probably why kids are easier, actually. Masala appeals to them because they don’t see anything wrong with mixing and matching genres and wacky plots.

      Or we could just tie every newcomer to a chair and make them watch Hema Malini beating up goodas until they swear, Ma ki kasam, to love Bollywood forevah. Yeah, that sounds easier.

      P.S. I also spent way too much time thinking about my response, obviously, but it's just such an interesting topic. I'd love to see it explored further on Filmi Geek, so save away!

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  3. All good thoughts. I think perhaps it boils down to matching the movie with the person, rather than picking the perfect set of movies to cover all introductions. You have sparked a few more thoughts; I'm on my first cup of coffee and so not taking your comments in order or in any way systematically.

    I am not sure I would even bother with someone who complains about song and dance, or people breaking into song. I might say a few words about varying narrative styles, Hollywood's own history in this area, the traditions of Persian drama, etc. But the fact is that many westerners have internalized both the idea that the style adopted by modern western cinema is the most evolved and best style, and also the idea that Indian movies are cheap and suck. When I run up against someone who recites those notions as fact, and doesn't seem educable, I change the topic.

    Funny story about Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. I had a girlfriend a few years back who took it upon herself to venture into Indian films because my interest intrigued her - it was sweet, a way to try to get closer to me. She chose Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi randomly off Netflix. She was ... unimpressed. She was bashful about saying so because she thought she would hurt my feelings. I talked her down from that. She was squicked out by the age difference between the leads, mostly, and just didn't find the film that compelling or the music that great. At the time Band Baaja Baaraat was also on Netflix (it may still be, I don't recall) and I urged her to give that a go. Band Baaja Baaraat is also a good intro I think. (This is the same woman whose response to “Choli ke Peeche” was a full minute of rapt silence followed by “... cute gal.” I miss her.)

    I absolutely positively would NOT use Andaz Apna Apna. A movie that is one long (loud, slapstick, and did I say loud?) in-joke about Hindi films would be utterly incomprehensible to a newbie. It's a terrible choice. I first saw it with about 75 Hindi films under my belt and that was not nearly enough to appreciate it. I saw it again 150 films later and it made a WHOLE lot more sense.

    For the 80s I agree that you could do well with some of the gentler middle cinema, Sai Paranjpe, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, etc. That stuff is no less mainstream Bollywood than rapey Subhash Ghai action flicks and their ilk, and I think it can be approached without apology, and placed in its context, as in “there were a lot of really horrible movies at this time, and here is what grown-ups were watching.” Chashme Buddoor does a bit of movie in-joking too but doesn't utterly rely upon it the way Andaz Apna Apna does so might be another candidate for the right, contemplative sort of person.

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    1. I love the story about your previous girlfriend's attempts at finding a Bollywood movie. If you can't be with someone who loves filmidom in a comparable way, than that is certainly the next best thing. And it means a lot when someone you care about tries to love what you love. Or at least appreciates the highlights (Madhuri, Madhuri, Madhuri).

      I think I learned my lesson about bothering with those who sneer at song and dance. That failed Kaala Patthar watch was a complicated situation--because those folks were quite influential in my life at one point, and had so many international interests that I just didn't expect the condescension. My sort of bruised confessional about that is in my Shakespeare Wallah post from last year. I would still like to be able to share Indian cinema with them, but if I did, it would have to be the Kahaani, or Shyam Benegal, or perhaps Charulata; something sensible, with a narrative that mixes cultural snapshots with a message. In general, however, if someone doesn't enjoy the song/dance structure itself, I know I will never be able to convince them otherwise.

      I remember reading your AAA post a while back now, and deciding [based on your experience] to leave it till a future date. Now that I'm nearing 200 Indian films, it might be worth checking out. At some point I put Chashme Buddoor in a similar file--since I heard it was pretty reliant on industry references. But now I've got it in my Netflix queue to see in a few wks. It's about time I pad my "grown-up" 80's movies list ;)

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  4. (2/2)

    (I do love that you refer to the Dons as “Zeenat's” and “Priyanka's”. Let's focus on what's important here.)

    I have a “Good Introductions” category on Filmi Geek which I invite you to browse through, rather than reproducing it here. There are titles there that you and I have not yet discussed but the general themes hold, I think. It is somewhat skewed toward recent films, likely because I unconsciously share your concern about production values. I surprise myself to see I put DDLJ on it, a film I would be much harder on were I writing now than I was back in 2007 when I didn't quite have the courage of my convictions. I wouldn't use that now, despite the fact that so many like it. I think SRK is repugnant in it, the very soul of male entitlement and arrogance, and the story is repugnant as well, and if my goal is to expose someone to why this art form is special to ME, DDLJ is completely irrelevant to that. Dil Se is on the list as well, hahahahhahhaha. Again, I did not yet have the courage of my convictions.

    Oh! Bunty aur Babli – very good first choice for someone who has a playful soul.

    I've got to get a move on now but one more comment – I hope you get to see Jewel Thief soon. For a long time it was the film that came out of my mouth when I was asked what my favorite was. Sometimes it still is. So is Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, an absurd and HILARIOUS film from 1958 which I also very strongly recommend to you if you've not seen it, Madhubala opposite all three Kumar brothers (Ashok, Anoop, and Kishore) and a thoroughly perfect SD Burman soundtrack, and a mujra by an 18-year-old Helen (seriously!). Completely delightful stuff. Forget the rest of this post and go watch that movie and then show it to everyone you know. Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi. You won't regret it.

    carla aka FIlmi Geek
    http://filmigeek.net

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    1. As to "Zeenat's Don," I was just blown away the first time I watched by the character of Roma. Beyond the kick-assery, she's got this take-no-prisoners, no-apologies attitude that I love. Even the simple choice of a pixie cut--is extremely rare for filmi women and totally *ahem* hot.

      *Agreed about Bunty aur Babli. For the person who likes heists, action, and romantic comedy. (Who are these alleged folks who don't?)

      *Watch Chalti ka Naam Gaadi. Will do.

      *I appreciate the comment about not towing the line, standing up for the films you care about and feeling free to criticize (however beloved) the films you don't. In fact that's probably one of the most important things to keep in mind when introducing newcomers to Bollywood. Their "meh" reaction to a classic does not in any way reflect the worth of the film.

      I've also learned that if a newcomer is inducted through a film that I don't respect, it's really important not to diminish their experience. [I think Ranbir's character in YJHD is a horrible role model, that Deepika's always compromises her own self-respect, and that both of these issues are worsened by the film's resolve. But I've also seen YJHD completely win over a couple of newcomers, and I can't take that away from them.] I remember (already dimly) that it's hard enough to be a newcomer to a cultural industry without feeling obliged to question moral stances or gender equations in every film. And my inner pragmatist says that if the newbie finds a problematic film entertaining, that alone will be enough to bring them to better films in the future. Eventually, they may start to distinguish between the films that fit their own moral code, and those that don't. The process of developing one's own questioning, analytic mindset for the specific context of Hindi films is half the fun, anyway.

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  5. A very interesting discussion between you two. Most of my anglo aussie friends are dismissive of Indian films as song and dance - so I don't even bother explaining or defending any Indian movie. I tried showing HDDC to a close friend and her husband. Both were reluctant to even give an Indian movie a try saying " must be a love story". I convinced them that even though it is a love story, the story is set in India and supposed Italy (coz thanks to bloggers for pointing out places in Hungary), the music, Gujarat's culture, the rich fabrics etc - movie was worth a watch. They did in the end and while I did not follow up with a discussion on the merits and demerits of the movie, I could see that their preconceived notions went up in the air. In any case, I decided i will not be referring any Indian movies to them. I have seen several good Hollywood, British and Aussie movies with this couple on the big screen in Oz. I generally find that it isit is hard to get an inch (which you both have already pointed out) with people who have set ideas and predetermined to be dismissive of something .

    A colleague visited my place and on seeing rows of Indian film DVDs in my shelf remarked " all those song and dance movies" - so many of them. I calmly replied many of them are classics without bothering to differentiate or name any of the movies. Sometimes people ask for recommendations as they have not seen any Indian movie before. Like Carla said, i try to match movies to the persons' interests. I recommended Dor to one lady as I knew she likes movies with good stories and strong characters.

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    1. Filmbuff, I'm definitely starting to notice a pattern among all our disparate recommendations: each one of us has a horror of a few of the other's "induction" choices. I would NEVER show HDDCS to a newcomer, probably cause I really only liked the last 40 min. The first hour and a half was this manic, slapstick thing incomprehensibly set against a stately and beautiful backdrop. Course, I am usually repulsed by Bhansali's sense of humor (if not his sense of tragedy), so there you go, lol.

      But really, that just goes to show that my tastes are not going to be your tastes which are not going to be the newcomer's tastes...ad infinitum. One of my friends LOVES Ranbir Kapoor, and started to get more excited about Bollywood when she finally saw one of his films. Personally, I respect Ranbir, but don't really like him all that much onscreen. The same friend likes club music and high octane action in the films she watches. Her tastes are fairly opposite to mine, and yet we both like Bollywood. Ultimately, that shows how varied the Hindi film options really are...and that one should probably ask for a newcomer's Hollywood favorites before choosing a Bollywood introduction.

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  6. Miranda, SRK is the reason we began watching Bollywood movies--we agree with you about his charisma and appeal--and Kal Ho Naa Ho was our first film and our conversion experience. Perhaps not coincidentally, it meets most of your criteria--it even has a (mock) club song, "It's the time to disco." It's safe to say that it probably would not have worked its magic on someone like Carla who is SRK-immune. As someone once said, you can't argue about taste.

    I've tried multiple strategies when introducing friends to the pleasures of Indian films: I've recommended movies that are among my favorites; I've suggested classics; and I've tried to match their Hollywood-fashioned tastes along the lines of the recommendations you make in your post (contemporary, fast-paced, etc.).

    Like you, Carla, and Filmbuff, I've had mixed success. But I'm heartened by my own experience with opera: it took me two decades from my first exposure as a teenager to realize how powerful and moving an art form it can be. Perhaps if someone isn't quite ready for Bollywood now, they'll feel differently in a few years (with luck, fewer than 20!).

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    1. P., I think KHNH was in the first five or six Bollywood films I watched, and I think you're right about it's accessibility. It's probably my favorite Johar vehicle by a wide margin (probably b/c he didn't direct it...I find his visual style kind of wearing). It's set in New York, bringing a perspective which is simultaneously familiar and novel.

      You are so very right about timing. I lamented in the comments above that I swore off Bollywood because of a B & P viewing (mistakenly equating it as Bollywood) ... and yet, who's to say I would have enjoyed Bollywood back then, anyhow? In junior high, I almost certainly would have. But right out of high school...? Not so sure. I wasn't all that willing to try new forms of entertainment at the time.

      I like how you [of course :) ] connect it to opera. Once upon a time, probably in early high school, I really got into Verdi. Simultaneously, I listened to various Puccini operas, and really didn't care for them. Let's be clear, this was all audio--not visual representations. That might have changed things. Recently I was listening to some Puccini. . . and I found it extremely moving. So yeah, it might be fifteen years later, but auditory tastes DO change.

      I also recommend the slow induction, for that reason :) Keep playing Bollywood music around the person you wish to induct. Maybe over the course of six months. After the frog has been boiled slowly (pardon my metaphor, lol) their ears may have sufficiently adjusted to enjoy the song and dance when they are finally introduced.

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  7. Lol about the "frog" reference. I guess my point was that one can't win over people who are prejudiced against some things coz they tend to have a "mind set" of " I am not going to be convinced or acknowledge a change in my taste of way of thinking. Those who are generally open to other ideas, cultures, new concepts tend to be receptive. So it all depends on the individual. The same friend did not like " The Namesake" too which is a film by Mira Nair based on Jhumpa Lahiri's book. I have not read the book but liked the movie very much. I saw the movie on the big screen. My friend saw it on a flight to some where. We did not have a discussion so I really don't know what she didn't like about the movie. I respected her view and kept quiet.

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