Bollywood Passions

Growing up in what was initially a one-TV household, I was often forced to watch what my mom and sister were watching. From the 3-4 slot, this usually meant a heavy dose of Luke and Laura, Edward and Lila, Frisco and Felicia, and Tony and Bobby. For those of you that I know what I am talking about, we were General Hospital addicts. I hate to admit it, but I knew I had a problem when I started referring to it as GH, and would have conversations, that to anyone not familiar with the soap, would seem like jibber-jabber. I finally kicked my soap habit my sophomore year after studying abroad and now of course, work thankfully gets in the way. But when tipster Noelle (and all the other SM tipsters) informed us awhile back that television’s newest soap opera Passions was going Bollywood, I thought why couldn’t GH do that? Anyway, we over here at SM headquarters apologize for not mentioning this earlier, but most of the mutineers aren’t usually home to watch the show during the day, and for that reason we also wanted to wait for a video clip of the Bollywood item to be available before posting. So, now that the clip is available, you can find the video here. More information on the shoot, the clothes, the song, the choreography, and the video is available here. (The video only opens up in MS Explorer.) From what I gather from my five minute perusal of the show clips, the Bollywood triangle involves three characters: Ethan, Gwen, and Theresa. Gwen is scared of Theresa’s attempts to lure Ethan away from her, and convinces Ethan to travel with her to India so they could renew their vows. This is where the dance number begins and then turns into full on Bollywood melodrama. Featuring an ensemble cast of desi background dancers, Gwen and Ethan’s impending infinite bliss, and romp around the tree of life (I have no idea what that is about) is interrupted by the appearence of temptress Theresa in a ‘minimalist’ version of a sari and a black veil.

From there it becomes full Bollywood dance dhamaka. The song, Love is Ecstasy comes off less like Bollywood Propah, and more like Bombay Dreams on Broadway. It is catchy though, and the hooks, oh my. Does it get any better than, “Bye Bye, Who Says Bye Bye, Who Gets the Guy?” repeated in a breathy refrain. You can hear the full song here. I got admit, Theresa has some moves, and she pulls off the Bollywood temptress bit quite nicely. She reminds me a bit of Marisa Tomei in The Guru. Ethan on the other hand, could use a couple of lessons from this guy. Ethan’s bhangra skills near the end of the number (5:30), looked more like armless chest pounding than any kind of dance. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the clip, and I think overall the cast did a good job. I think it also speaks to how far towards the mainstream bhangra and Bollywood has actually come in the U.S. I know we discuss this a lot on the site, but a soap opera’s target audience is housewives in middle America, not persons from cities already familiar with the genre. On the other hand, whats more inherently Bollywood, than the fantasy of an American soap opera? Anyway, the Bollywood-themed Passions episode originally aired on Friday January 27.

In other desi-on-tv news, tipster Priya informs us that VH-1 will air MC Vikram and Ludakrishna’s Curry and Rice Girl on the third installment of their show WebJunk 20, which is scheduled to air at 1AM on Tuesday January 31. WebJunk20 describes the video’s inclusion thusly: “Also, another installment of our ever-so-brief tradition of international amateur music videos, this one from India sends up Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl.” More SM on Curry and Rice here.

28 thoughts on “Bollywood Passions

  1. Dude, I think you me and every other Indian kid I know can re-tell the plot of General Hospital from 1980-1990. Our moms caused us much emotional scarring by making us watch with them. My favorite was when some mad scientist tried to freeze over Port Charles. PTSD still causes me to wake up in the middle of the night wondering if I’m a long lost Quartermaine. Thankfully I haven’t watched a soap in well over a decade.

  2. what this means to me is that the repertoire of fantasy among middle age american homemakers include saris and achkans. not really all that surprising. kinda funny to think of what sherry in iowa conjures up when she sees a sari girl and a man in a turban and suit….. come let me be your raja

  3. Dude, I think you me and every other Indian kid I know can re-tell the plot of General Hospital from 1980-1990. Our moms caused us much emotional scarring by making us watch with them

    Is GH part of the desi-diasporic experience? My favorite thing were the secret rooms, opened only by special code, in the homes of Sean Donnelly and Robert Scorpio. One day I’m a get me one of those.

  4. Am I a loser if I say I actually caught this episode of the soap?? Anyway, the soap fans freaking loved the bollywood thing.

  5. this is the most ridiculous thing i think i’ve ever seen–and it tops all those stupid episodes of Kitty Party and Astitva that my mom watches.

  6. opened only by special code, in the homes of Sean Donnelly and Robert Scorpio.

    That soap was never the same after Scorpio left. It’s like a James Bond movie without James Bond. I seem to also remember some plot involving a mystical sword and shield.

    I think you are on to something Sajit. I think GH is a major part of the diasporic experience. Many of our moms who immigrated to this country were homemakers for a long time after they came over.

  7. The bastard child of bollywood and soap operas…the nightmare begins…killing you softly with kitsch…

  8. …and it tops all those stupid episodes of Kitty Party and Astitva that my mom watches.

    Ha! Ever since we got hooked into all the Indian channels 12 years ago my mom completely stopped watching all American television. Her English has gotten worse. (Though I fully admit that Astitva can be damn addictive.)

    And I would also like to add that although Ethan Crane doesn’t do much for me in general, he looked pretty hot hopping around in his sherwani. (Further evidence for my hypothesis that no guy looks bad in desi clothes.)

  9. Holy Sheisa! First of all I can’t believe so many of the GUYS actually watch/watched any soap operas period…. by choice OR under duress!
    Kinda makes me reevaluate my own shame for watching them in the past.

    Saw five mins of this and I think they did a great job! I couldn’t dance Indian style to save my life…so I give em props for doing so!

  10. We’ve had a couple of “Bollywood” sequences in the most popular British soaps during the past couple of years too (including a full-scale Hindu wedding between some of the major characters, and a “faux-Bollywood-theme” wedding between a David Beckham-style character and his Posh Spice wife).

    From a desi perspective these things obviously raise an ironic smile, but it’s good to see anyway, especially considering how much prejudice there was in British society and the media towards all-things-brown when I was younger. It’s also nice to see that the US is also now heading in this positive direction.

  11. I didn’t know other desi moms got their kids watching GH, anyway i am now a huge fan even though my mom does not watch anymore and thinks I am stupid for watching. Wanted to let any fans out there know that Robert Scorpio is back on for about 6 weeks so tune in if you’re a fan:)

  12. Quoth the actor who plays Ethan: “I will never say no to putting on a very expensive pair of pajamas and dancing around barefoot.” Rock on.

  13. In the motherland, CNN-induced cable television gave us “Bold and the Beautiful” and “Santa Barbara”. So my childhood in Delhi was scarred by Ridge Forrester, Brooke Logan and Cruz Castillo.

    And our very own Kabir Bedi starred as Prince Omar in B-&-The-B, adding greately to the soap’s popularity.

  14. ok… someone clear this up for me…
    someone once told me the soaps are dubbed in hindi in India… leading to translation challenges that are a bit of a reach.. viz.
    “i want to bone you” or its equivalent comes out as
    “आओ सुहाग रात मनाएं” or “let’s celebrate the night of the wedding” in hindi.
    There wre some others that I thought were really funny… but it might all have just been embellished for my benefit… so do illuminate prithee.

  15. Is this going to be followed up by the episode where she gets accosted by leprotic beggars and she slips in cow dung?

    Hee hee!! That’s exactly what I was thinking. But don’t worry, I’m sure there will be another storyline along the lines of “I’ve accidentally impregnated the wrong person/I’ve accidentally been impregnated by the wrong person” that will keep them in the States.

  16. 1 – What happened to Priya’s blog? It used to be one of the prettiest out there. 2 – General Hospital was voted most depressing TV show by a bunch of piss-taking medics. 3 – VH-1 says Ludkrishna and Vikram are from India, but I thought they were American? 4 – We had Daleep Tahil as regular character in a leading soap, then he was ejected from the UK for not having the right work permit or something. Beat that!

  17. Hey Bong & Jai,

    Do you guys know if Jimmi Harkishin (Dev) is still on Corrie? We’re years behind here in Canada and I remember reading that he took a break from the show due to certain Kate Moss-like troubles…wondering if he’s back on? Do people younger than 65 still watch Corrie there? It’s pretty big here, the CBC moved it to primetime…I prefer Emmerdale to Corrie but it’s only on during daytime so I’ve had to settle…

  18. Neha,

    I’m not a regular Corrie-watcher but as far as I know, the characters of “Dev” and “Sunita” are still part of the show — in fact, they’ve been involved in some major recent plotlines, and Jimmy Harkishan is still there.

    I don’t know how far behind you are over in Kuh-NEH-da Canada, but I did watch Coronation Street last year during the whole Dev-Sunita-Mad Maya extravaganza, which was very entertaining. Dev and Sunita’s desi-style wedding was also fun to watch.

  19. Heehee! The thought of Emmerdale and Corrie being exported is hilarious! I’ve visited the set of Coronation Street but I’ve never actually watched more than a few minutes. But a quick google and look what’s happening in tomorrow’s episode: DEVastated!

    Sunita guiltily allows Dev some time alone with the twins, aware that he has no idea of her plans to leave Weatherfield. Stupidly, she even tells him that she will consider moving back in with him! No wonder then, when he later spots Sunita getting into a car with Jayesh and the twins, he is shocked to the core. He pleads with her not to leave – but it seems she’s made up her mind…

    Man, they even make a pun out of it – no wonder it’s still on top after so many years. And after asking about Dev, this week it seems Sunita is departing. Aw.

  20. Jai – we are aboot 6-8 months behind I think. Ken and Dierdre just got married late last year and Sunita doesn’t have any kids. I wish Mad Maya would come back, she was badass!

    No, Bong, no, you bring such sad news! Sweet Sunita, the street just won’t be the same wihtout you. Bet Dev drove her away, that rascal! I’m glad there’s a ‘Jayesh’ on Corrie now, can’t wait to see him here in a few mths.

    A lot of folk here enjoy Corrie and Emmerdale due to the whole ‘working class’ storylines, lack of soft lighting, and comfort in knowing that someone in a small English town had a pint way earlier than they did today. Emmerdale has more of a younger cult following due to the bordering-on-nasty storylines (inbreeding) and a most unattractive cast (the Dingles).

  21. The ladies look great, and well….poor Eric (Ehtan) did his best even though I kept thinking “Go whiteboy, go whiteboy, go!”

    I tried to get that damn song out of head, but I failed. I had to burn it. Oh, the shame of it all.

  22. woah!!!!!!! whoever said that GH was bad…. u are out of ur minds….. its the best soap ever….. very few soaps haev that much drama and reality to it… and being a quatermaine would be a nightmare… lol