French version here.
I’ve subscribed to Zee TV and Zee Cinema Channels for only, well, not so only, 15.99 euros. For that price, thanks to my Freebox, I can watch the worst best Indian soap operas in which mothers-in-law, daughters-in-law and aunts have cat fights and make nasty faces to each other. I can also have collective yoga courses given by hairy gurus in orange shorts and I can endlessly watch Bollywood movies that most of us have forgotten.
For instance, yesterday morning, I was surprised at seeing charming Aamir Khan playing the electric guitar before a pagal audience, dressed in a skin-tight black undershirt and wearing a green rapper-like cap. Believe me or not but I hardly recognized him! ( Akele Hum Akele Tum, 1995 )
Later, I was wallowing on my sofa after a hard working day, watching in an in-between doze a trembling school teacher being metodically beaten up by a bunch of naughty गुंडे , when suddenly, Amitabh Bachchan in his forties and in his marvellous grey flared trousers appeared as a miracle to save the poor man. (Khoon Pasina, 1977)
I’ll spare you the details about the funny strip-tease performed by red-underweared Sohail Khan in Heroes as well as the stunning black turban worn by his famous brother in the same film.
Now, I can pride myself on knowing everything about food-brand Taj, White Pearl Basmati rice and I can sing the insurance company’s slogan « don’t delay, claim today » by heart! However, the commercials which regularly interrupt the films are not so bad since movies usually last nearly three hours and one really needs pee breaks, coffee breaks or chocolate cookie breaks between two clingy-jean-superheroes’ fights.
All the same, you quickly become hooked to this kitsch atmosphere, to the choreographies which are always spotless whatever the quality of the film is, you’re hooked to Amitabh’s hoarse grunting, to the punch battles and their inimitable sound effects, to the Hitchcock-violins during the moments of suspense
And, what? Isn’t there any better way to study Hindi than watching Hindi films? ज़िंदगी, इंतेज़ार, कभी कभी, मैं तुमसे प्यार करता हूँ , मेरा नाम विजय है, मेरा दिल तेरे लिए , oh! मेरा भाई , oh! मेरे बापू , oh! मामा , oh! चाचा , oh! मेरी बेटी, and so on, and so forth!
But above all, Zee Cinema allows you to discover some « pearls », some real good movies, the beautiful Hindi films in which there are no simpering girls, no He-men rolling on the ground without ever spoiling their blow-dry! It often happens at around 9 pm.
And sometimes, there are magical moments; these moments when Salman Khan starts to cry and becomes really moving, moments when Karishma Kapoor finally plucks her eyebrows and stops playing the innocent little virgin, moments when Abhishek tells Aishwaria that he feels like a bee caught inside a lotus flower…
That’s the way it is on Zee TV!