Holiday Ruminations: Bollywood, Radio Show and Beyond!

I have not written anything. in a long time. Perhaps was too busy in academic writing till school ended and too busy unwinding since the holidays began. Or maybe I simply did not come across any event or thought that was compelling to blog about. This motivates yet another question, how worthy an endeavor is it to write for writing sake. Just the fact that I haven’t updated my blog in a while means should I write ‘something’. I thought otherwise and thus haven’t written altogether. I finally decided, what the heck, let me try , writing for writing sake. After all the gallery I play to here, is friends and acquaintances who use this forum to keep in touch with me. So this is a post about what I have been upto in my Holidays, home alone in a snowy windy, white Evanston.

Thanks to a Netflix subscription, I watched Outsourced. Although rife with the usual stereotypes about India, the film was pretty well made. For those who haven’t seen , the movie is the story of an American Executive who comes to India to set up a call centre in a small town and train his replacements. At first he is quite uncomfortable but on the advice of a fellow American in Bombay, he decides to give ‘India a try’. I particularly enjoyed how playing Holi was the turning point in his tale. The movie apart, being from ‘Big Cities’ , I would be very keen to know if such small town call centers really exist? And how are they different from the swanky ones in Gurgaon and Bangalore.

Not many know, but I occasionally volunteer to be RJ on a show called Lotus Beat on our Northwestern Radio Station. It’s a fun experience and more so as the show has a lot of listeners coming from the Indian Neighborhoods of Chicago. We take phone in requests and get 5-7 calls per week.

Since today was the last show of the year, and for the first time I was a solo host, I had the task of creating a theme and the play-list. The most logical thing would have been to recap the year gone by. But the (sad) truth is I am not aware of most happenings in Bollywood in the last 1 year. I decided to expand the scope to the last 10 years. I called the show Bollywood’s ‘Defining Movies, Defining Music’ from 2001 to 2010. As a ready reckoner I used this list that Shailesh Kapoor, a die hard Bollywood enthusiast, a connection from my media industry days in Bombay, has put together.

But as I progressed through the show Starting from Lagaan and Dil Chahta Hai ( Both 2001) and included Taare Zameen Pe, Rang De Basanti and 3 Idiots. I thought I could very well call this an Aamir Khan special. I did put in Chake De India and Kal Ho Na Ho for SRK fans, but couldn’t go very far. Salman Khan was missing, so was Abhishek Bacchan ( I put in Delhi 6 purely for its music though). Some requests from listeners were ‘Woh Lamhe’ and ‘Anjana Anjani’. Among other non blockbuster variety I played was ‘Dor’ and ‘Life in a Metro’. Another set of films which ‘defined’ the decade were Sanjay Dutt starrers, the two Munnabhai movies.

Am I right then in concluding, that if the ‘defining moments’ from 2001-2010 period in the annals of Bollywood history had to single out one ‘defining’ personality, It would be Aamir Khan? ( SRK and Sallu Fans let me know if you think otherwise!)

If all my working friends envious of my ‘holidays’ by now 🙂 Then I have hit home run. Maybe writing for writing sake is not such a bad idea after all.

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Author: harshT

Assistant Professor at the Missouri School of Journalism

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