There’s so much to see and do in Melbourne that sometimes it seems there’s just not enough time. But maybe you just want to see a spectacular Bollywood movie and feel like you’re back home.
No problem! There are definitely places where you can to go see Hindi, Tamil and Telugu movies in Melbourne.
Hoyts and Village cinemas usually have a playlist of Indian movies.
Occasionally, there will be foreign films, including Indian, at Cinema Nova located at 380 Lygon Street, Carlton.
This annual event is the highlight on the Indian-Australian social calendar. It’s a 12-day festival which includes screenings of Bollywood movies, Indian Independence Day celebrations, a Bollywood dance competition, an Awards Night and panel discussions and conversations.
In 2017, IFFM was crowned Winner of Most Popular Indian Film Festival Abroad. There is also a special screening of a popular movie out in the open at Federation Square.
Aside from Bollywood blockbuster movies, the festival also features screenings of documentaries, children’s films and classics.
Wouldn’t it be great fun to have a movie party at home? It doesn’t have to be big, it just has to be comfortable. Invite a few of your favourite people over and ask everyone to bring a plate of delicious Indian food. There are lots and lots of Bollywood movies on Netflix and Stan, from wonderful classics such as Lagaan and Dil Se to more recent productions. You can certainly get your fill of Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Kapoor and Aishwarya Rai.
Imagine settling back with a feast of pakoras, samosas and chaat, a few beers or lemonades and the TV turned up loud. That’s good enough for at least three hours of brilliant entertainment on a weekend.
For the uninitiated such as your Aussie neighbours and friends, it can seem like Bollywood is ‘it’ when it comes to Indian movies. Though Indians are well familiar with the Bombay-shaped slant on Hollywood’s movie industry, most Australians don’t know about Tollywood and Kollywood. Trying to explain it is like trying to explain why it’s more enjoyable to eat with the hands!
Indian ex-pats often need a touch of home to feel better. It can be difficult being so far from home, without your usual friends and family. That’s why Hindi, Tamil and Telugu movies are so important. Being able to watch a movie in your very own native language is precious, and provides a welcome respite from having to keep your brain switched on to English 24/7.
Did you know that the huge hit Salaam Namaste was shot entirely in Melbourne and regional Victoria? Back in 2005, the movie created huge buzz around the state, with ex-pat Indians desperate for a glimpse of their movie idols. Director Siddharth Anand’s romantic comedy was one of the biggest box office successes of the year for the Indian industry.
He chose Melbourne because he was invited to visit the city for a Bollywood festival. Once there, he was thoroughly impressed with the city’s architecture, the excellent lighting and the unending choice of scene locations. Being so multicultural was also a drawcard.
The first thing that may stand out about Bollywood films is the duration! It’s not uncommon to watch a three-hour Bollywood movie, but Indians would never be caught complaining about that. Secondly, Bollywood movies almost always contain lots of singing and dancing and they are usually multi-genre productions. That means you can see romance, comedy, action, drama and more in the one sitting.
You also don’t get intermission with Hollywood films. Sure, it’s because their movies are shorter but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of a stretch and a chance to go and grab a snack. Intermission is a fantastic opportunity to catch up on any items of plot confusion.
In terms of volume, Bollywood beats Hollywood hands-down. The former puts out more than a thousand movies each year, whilst the latter reaches a number several hundred lower.
It can’t be disputed that Hollywood invests mammoth budgets into technology and special effects for its movies. Meanwhile, Bollywood films depend more on colour, music, scenery and storylines that viewers clamour for.
One other big differentiator is that Bollywood films do not cross the line with physical intimacy. In many cases, it’s rare to even see actors kissing. Nudity is never seen, and storylines are kept to greater standards of modesty than Hollywood movies.
Do you feel the need to get together with Indian strangers who could very well become your friends? Excellent! Check out the groups that are available on Meetup.com. There is a Bollywood Dancing group with more than 160 members. There’s also an Indians in Melbourne group with more than 3,000 members.
This lively bunch of people have come together to play beach volleyball, attend festivals and picnics, play badminton, take day trips and watch movies.
Victorian actor, Tania Zaetta has appeared in Salaam Namaste, Bunty aur Babli, Harbhajan Mann and Mr White Mr Black. Meanwhile, Sydney actor and Miss India Australia 2004, Vimala Raman has made more than 45 movies. Her acting debut was in the 2005 Tamil film, Poi, and she has most recently acted in Malayalam movie, Our Bilathikadha.
Then of course, there was cricket star, fast bowler Brett Lee in the romantic comedy, UnIndian, who starred alongside Bollywood megastar Tanishtha Chatterjee.
Whether you are Indian or pure Aussie, Bollywood films are a fabulous way to while away a couple of hours. Escapist, colourful and thrilling, they’re always best to see on the big screen, but a movie party at home will do just as well!