Mayen Mehta performs in My Heart Goes Thadak Thadak.
Photo credit: Andi Crown Photography
Brannavan Gnanalingam revisits his Bollywood awakening in light of Ahi Karunaharan’s latest play, My Heart Goes Thadak Thadak.
In 1990s Aotearoa, it was initially difficult to find Tamil films or Bollywood films to watch. For Sri Lankans like my family, Indian cinema dominated. People went on shopping sprees whenever they went back to Sri Lanka or India. What arose were almost black-market video stores, where an aunty or uncle down the road accumulated a vast treasure trove of VHSs and would share the videos around the community. It was there that my parents would get their films: Bollywood classics, devotional films, cheesy genre films, and some of the latest pirated hits. But they weren’t anything I ever watched – desperate to fit in in Aotearoa, I was never interested in watching what I thought were the same old moustachioed villains getting their comeuppance in films, featuring both extended and unnecessary fight scenes, and badly dubbed, cheesy romantic subplots.