The Joy of Bombay Cinema

Relationship: Im/migrant
Film: Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
Film: Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
Story pending

Monika Mehta remembers the animated tales her grandmother would share with her about the partition. In the times of her childhood the partition existed as a looming presence. But if the story of the partition was a story of loss for Monika’s family, the times she spent with her family at Bombay Cinema and its music were constant sources of joy. 
Monika realized the stories that were her own were also everyone else's.  She decided to explore stories told in Bombay cinema partly because those stories had shaped her life--her ideas of love, family, what it meant to be a good daughter, a good sister, a good wife--and of course, their opposites. She associated Bombay cinema with her family; it was home.  Bombay cinema's portrayal of India differed greatly from Hollywood's representation of India and South Asians.  While she learned to question ideas about tradition or gender that Bombay cinema portrayed, she also learned to see that these ideas weren't always fixed; they shifted and they were challenged, sometimes in the most unexpected ways, by unexpected people. Throughout her experience moving to America, she has always been placed into narratives because of her race and ethnicity. She began to wonder what makes something modern versus immobile? Bombay Cinema delighted Monika, because it proved that tradition and narration is truly mobile, and not stuck in place. She learned that even though narratives have been created in the past they can always be recreated. 

Place(s): India, Binghamton, New York

– Told by: Monika Mehta Written by: Ava Cardillo Audio: Inhin Logon Ne Lina Dupatta Mera Images: Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, BBC Partition explanation, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Dr. Monika Mehta's book cover

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant