How Bollywood Changed my Life

Written by Saddmun Ahsan

Back when I was in high school, I was your typical nerdy South Asian teen. Picture a 16-year old who was out of shape, had a bad short-cropped haircut and focused more on his studies than sports and girls. Back then I didn’t think there was anything wrong with how I looked or carried myself. I was content. I saw life cruising by with major milestones (e.g., college, a dream job, getting married) as my guideposts. That all changed when I saw my first Bollywood movie, Chance Pe Dance (starring Shahid Kapoor).

I remember being intensely captivated as Shahid danced across screen, by his amazing physique, his heartthrob looks and his witty catch phrases. All the girls, on-screen and off, loved him. I experienced a rush like nothing else I’d felt in my life before. Chemistry class certainly didn’t make me feel this way. It was like a drug… I binge watched 2 other Bollywood films that night before eventually passing out.

When I woke up the next morning and stumbled into the kitchen to make breakfast, I began reflecting about what I saw last night and specifically how it compared to how I was living my life. What made me any different from actors like Shahid Kapoor? If I tried hard enough couldn’t I also be a buff dancer who got all the girls? I thought about it and then decided to give it a shot.

I started going to the gym more frequently with a regimented schedule. I tried to dress better and adopted some of the outfits I saw on-screen. And, perhaps most importantly, I started imitating the dance moves I saw in the Bollywood films. It was difficult at first since I swear I was born with two left feet. But with daily practice, I started picking up simple steps, then sets of moves and after a year I learned to free style.

Almost 8 years later, I continue to dance and it has become my greatest passion. And to this day, nothing gives me the same rush as watching the latest Bollywood film. Even though I still don’t get the girls, Bollywood helped me shape my body, boost my confidence and changed my outlook on life. It’s also helped me realize that at the end of the day, life is like a Bollywood film -  it has its ups and downs, plot twists but things always seem to work out in the end. And just like the actors I always see on T.V., I plan to be the hero of my life’s story.

Ayana Arts