Bollywood Movie :: A Cinematic Event

The minute we arrived in India, I asked locals where the best place to see a Bollywood film would be. I was so curious about this experience. Everyone said to wait until we were in Jaipur because the city is home to the Raj Mandir, India’s first cinema. So we did.

Before lunch, we cruised by the late-artdeco designed theater to check out movie times and showings. With only one screen, our choice was easy – “Gunday” at 3:30pm it is (you can watch the movie trailer above)!
bollywood movie experience in jaipur india

A little before 3pm we headed back to the theater to get our tickets and were SHOCKED to see the mobs of people at the theater. Everyone was dressed to the nines and so excited. Each side of the theater had lines wrapping around it.
bollywood movie experience in jaipur india

For our debut Bollywood experience, Ting suggested we splurge on the premium “Diamond Box Seats” for 300 rupees a ticket ($4.80USD). With separate lines for ladies and gents and mine being much shorter, I hopped in to get the tickets.
bollywood movie experience in jaipur india
bollywood movie experience in jaipur india
{at least i don’t stand out or anything}

The experience was awesome. We walked into a retro-feeling cinema that was more like being at a Broadway performance than movie theater. The energy was buzzing, there were lounge areas, different levels of seats and just one giant screen and theater. The minute the lights flickered, everyone scrambled into their assigned seats. We cozied into our box seats with popcorn and soda and the movie (sans subtitles) started immediately – no previews.
bollywood movie experience in jaipur india
raj mandir jaipur india bollywood
Bollywood movies are know for a few things:

: Tons of singing and dancing
: Sexy Time
: Audience Interaction
: Length – all hovering at the 3-hour mark

bollywood movie experience in jaipur india

Gunday lived up to all of those expectations – complete with an “interval” after 1.5 hours for potty breaks and snacks. Woah. Before experiencing it on our own, it was hard to believe Bollywood is the biggest film industry in the world, but not now. It’s a full blown theatrical event – the film and the experience. People in the theater cheered, whistled, sang along, took selfies and ate up every second of it.

We’d love to tell you more about the movie, but our Hindi just isn’t up to snuff.

While we were waiting for the movie to start, a young (and curious) couple approached us to ask where we were from. They were a little younger than us and she had fresh henna on her hands and arms (a sign of a recent wedding). While the men chatted, she and I gave each other quiet smiles. When we asked about the wedding,  her beau proudly told Danny that they’d been married just 10 days ago and all the jewelry she was wearing was part of the generous dowry from her parents. I congratulated her, but she never spoke a word and simply kept her puffy eyes to the floor. The look in her eyes in response to my typical & cheerful, “Congratulations!” will stay with me a long time.  It was a culture shock moment for me to realize how different “newlywed” status is for us western girls. We’re at the height of love and celebration while women in an arranged marriage have just promised their life to a stranger.


  • Reply March 20, 2014


    I made my way to your blog from a recommendation of my sister. I’ve blog-stalked for a while, but thought I’d say hello! I was a couple years younger than you at good ol’ SMHS, and remember you from volleyball :) I have loved reading up on your travels!! I can only imagine the perspective you’re gaining while living all over the place.

    Thanks for sharing your journey!
    Hugs from CA,

    • Reply April 3, 2014


      hi @christina! thanks for stopping by and sending a note. always fun to know who’s following along. i’m a long way from SM, those will always be my roots! xx

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