I recently read Motiba’s Tattoos, a memoir by Mira Kamdar. Kamdar is an American born Jain woman and her book traces the life of her grandmother. I was reading along, not expecting anything Bollywood, but when describing her time spent in Mumbai as a kid Kamdar served up some spicy Bollywood dish:
The slum was still cloaked in darkness, but on the other side of the street, the mansions of stars were lit up here and there with the garish florescence of hundreds of high-voltage projector lights illuminating the last of the nightlong marathon of shooting. ‘Bollywood’ movie stars are rich people in a poor country. Their real-life homes provide ready-made back-drops for the improbable lives of the wealthy heroes, heroines, and villains they play in their films. We children would often go up to the rooftop terrace of our Jehu apartment building after dark and pick out the homes of the stars where scenes were being filmed. ‘Look! Over there. Tonight they are shooting at Amitabh Bachchan’s house over on Tenth Road. You know who is starring, Hema Malini.’ Star struck teenagers in the neighborhoods waited patiently outside the gates of these villas for hours hoping to capture a glimpse of a favorite actor. When shooting was going on late into the night at Meena Cottage, directly behind our apartment it was hard to sleep. The bright lights and the knowledge that just yards away from where we slumbered, one famous star or another was breathing, walking, sitting, or drinking tea was simply too enervating.(p.150)
Now everytime I see Bollywood movies, I’m going to wonder if the homes featured are possibly some star’s actual home. How exciting! Want to learn more about where Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Rekha, Aishwarya Rai, Aamir Khan, and John Abraham live? Click HERE, though it’s a bit dated, it’s still interesting. Remember what you see, because it could show up in a movie. I wonder if SRK’s home, Mannat, pictured here will or has ever been in a film? For a thrilling and humorous account of seeing Mannat first hand, check out In Praise of All Things Dharmendra related.
In addition to writing about Amitabh, Kamdar also writes about Rekha’s romantic involvement with her cousin on page 165. Wow! I also like Kamdar’s description of Bombay:
Bombay has been called a whore, a temptress, a slut. The city is a woman, enticing, betraying, extricating great sacrifice, sucking one dry. Indian speakers of Marathi, Gujarati, and Hindi call the city ‘Mumbai’ after a local female deity, Mumbadevi, whose distinguishing characteristic is the lack of a mouth. (p.131.)
Until I read this, I didn’t know anything about the Mumbadevi
and that she has no mouth. Of course I this made me think of Hello Kitty, who also has no mouth
. I fell in love with
as a kid, and
as a much older kid, and Bollywood is my adult Barbie-Hello Kitty. Now I feel more justified in this hobby, because the Mumbadevi has no mouth.