As the internet bridges the geographic divide between nations, many people are starting to explore other cultures through the online space. One interesting phenomenon is the growing number of videos featuring Americans watching and reacting to Hindi film stars, scenes and trailers.
For those used to watching Bollywood films, the film stars are recognizable and the stories and scenes resonate. For those new to Bollywood, an Indian film trailer may be an entertaining but somewhat mystifying experience.
With the 2016 International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) celebrations concluding this past weekend, we take a look at five videos of Americans watching the trailers of some of this year's IIFA award-winning films from Bollywood.
Initial Reaction: "I think visually it is stunning!"
Reviewers: Kayla Hergenrother and Brandi Price are both actors who live and work in Los Angeles, California. One of Kayla's slogans is "Dream Big. Inspire All. And as always, NERD OUT!" She has a video series called "Haikuesday" in which she provides personal interpretations of haikus in modern prose. Kayla hasn't yet seen a Bollywood film but says, "I would absolutely love to, though! The trailers we watched were so moving!" Brandi Price is owner of Beatnik Films, a new media company hoping to enrich lives with laughter, love, and honest stories. She has been busy focusing on marketing for her most recent venture, the charity fan film Committed, which has won numerous awards.
- Find out more: A Sweeping Saga of Love, War and Politics: Bajirao Mastani
- Find out more: Filming India: The Brilliant Peshwa Baji Rao I and the Rise of the Maratha Empire (Bajirao Mastani)
Initial Reaction: "That's not bad. That's not bad at all!"
Reviewer: Adarrion Dixon from Jackson, Mississippi. His first Bollywood film was Don starring Shah Rukh Khan. After doing a reaction for My Name Is Khan and Fan, he was blown away by SRK's performance and some of his subscribers suggested he check out the trailer of Don. "When I first saw it I was already amazed because it was action-packed and full of excitement right off the bat," explains Adarrion. "He [Shah Rukh Khan] became my favorite actor from Bollywood." Though he hasn't seen it yet, Adarrion projects that his favorite Bollywood film will be Baaghi starring Tiger Shroff and Shraddha Kapoor because of the martial-arts action. For the time being, his favorite film (that he's seen) is Don 2 because "I feel like it's better than the first one -- even more exciting, more like a smooth criminal vibes mix with James Bond. Don & Don 2 - pure adrenalin rush."
His advice to someone who's new to Indian film? "Bollywood films are very exciting, very new for me and it is shocking how good the [Indian] film industry is. Some of their actors have great performances. It is very interesting to check out and if you want to learn more about Indian culture, check out Bollywood films."
- Find out more: Bajrangi Bhaijaan: A Film Full of Heart, Humor and Humanity
Initial Reactions: "Alright..." "Wow..."
3b. Dil Dhadakne Do
Initial Reactions: "I like it." "Makes me want to go on a cruise and have weird romantic episodes with people."
Reviewers: Jaby is a "YouTuber, actor, writer, ninja, science-lover & over-thinker". Tania is an "actress/traveler/iced coffee addict/big sister/spiritual warrior/fireworks-cure-all believer/balloons/surprises/magic/adventure." They are both from Los Angeles, California. Jaby Koay has developed a large following for his plethora of film reviews that he does with a number of different colleagues. Earlier this year India.com highlighted his review of 2015 film Haider where he likened actor Shahid Kapoor to Jim Morrison - an appropriate comparison given Shahid's most recent performance in Udta Punjab as a rock star and drug user. Granddaughter of American screenwriter Robert Lees, actor Tania Verafield is best known for her roles in the films Harsh Times, Short Term 12 and Love at First Hiccup. Hope Jaymes Hope s a California girl with some Texan flair. She was born in San Diego, CA and moved with her family to Austin, TX at the age of 13. After experiencing a taste of the film scene in Austin, she decided to move to Los Angeles to further her acting career. When she's not on set, you can catch her on the soccer field or with her guitar. When she was little she wanted to be a couch.
Initial Reaction: "That was a really small car."
Reviewer: From Hollywood to Bollywood, Cynthia reacts to a variety of trailers. She doesn't always provide a review of the films she watches. Instead she lets the viewer interpret her response as the trailer unfolds. While not much information is available online about Cynthia, the number of films on her youtube.com channel prove she is a film lover.
Initial Reaction: "Yikes ..."
Reviewer: Energetic Corey of NerdySense Productions lives in Michigan where he has had an opportunity to watch a number of Bollywood films. His very first Bollywood film was Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge which he watched with his mom. It was also his first time seeing Shah Rukh Khan. "Needless to say, I've run into his films time after time," he explains. His favorite film is Pyaar Impossible because, "Uday Chopra knocked it out the park. The songs, the acting, the story...it's corny sure...but it's enjoyable." He plans to watch Talvar but he likes to watch the movies he's reacted to in the order that he reacted to them, unless they are showing in a local theater. He has a few films on his schedule to watch before Talvar.
Corey's advice to those new to Indian film? "Bollywood is a work of art, entertainment at its highest. Just sit back and enjoy the ride you're doubtless to go on."
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