By Nikhil Ramsubramaniam, Bollywood Hungama News Network
From time immemorial, cinema has been entertaining us week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade and even generation after generation. However, now the reach of Hindi films extends right from Rai Bareilly to Rio De Janeiro and from Chandni Chowk to China. Bollywood (as the Hindi film industry is popularly known as) is no longer just a means of entertainment; in more ways than one, it's become a way of life. We at Bollywood Hungama bring you the various ways in which our lives have been influenced by Bollywood.
From the Big screen to the Small Screen
* While Television was always considered as the younger brother of the silver screen, these days, T.V. channels and shows are filled with Bollywood celebs. After Big B's sagging career got a fresh lease of life with Kaun Banega Crorepati, every actor worth his salt decided to try his hand on the small screen. Actors like SRK, Akshay Kumar, Manisha Koirala, Anupam Kher have been seen on the small screen as hosts of game shows.
* Not just as hosts, Bollywood stars are a regular feature these days on reality shows and call it coincidence or what; they time their visit just around their film's release.
* Forget the actual shows but even the commercial breaks between shows invariably feature country's biggest actors (be it Big B or SRK or Deepika or Priyanka) endorsing a product or a service.
* And if you thought that's all the presence Bollywood has on the small screen, you couldn't be further from the truth. A popular music channel even came out with this whole new trend of spoofing Bollywood flicks. So you had a Ghoom which was a hilarious spoof on Dhoom, Bechaare Zameen Par which was a funny take on Taare Zameen Par and Cheque De India which by now you must have guessed is a take on SRK starrer Chak De India. Love it or hate it but you can't ignore the presence of Bollywood on television.
The Virtual World
* With the advent of internet, things have changed 360 degrees across industries and hence it comes as no surprise that even the world of showbiz is doing whatever it can to make its presence felt in the World Wide Web. While initially you just had a few film based sites, now you have each and every film coming out with its official website where users can get access to all kinds of information relating to the film.
* And if you thought that for getting up, close and personal with your favorite matinee idol you would have to wait long hours outside a film studio then know that times have changed. Today you have the biggest stars available to chat with you online while some even keep you updated with their whereabouts through their own blogs.
* Not just that, many of our B-town celebs are quite active on social networking sites such as Orkut and Facebook and suddenly it's become hip to say that you have a Bollywood star as a part of your friends list.
* The glam dolls of showbiz have even made way into your cell phones through wallpapers, and it's a trend now to have film music as your digital ring tones and caller tunes. So gone are the days of the traditional 'Tring Tring'...today having the latest chartbuster as your caller tune is considered the in-thing. Slowly but surely Bollywood has indeed made its presence felt in the virtual, digital world.
Food & Fashion
* If you thought it's just the T.V. / Computer / Cell phone where Bollywood has seeped in a big way then you are wrong. The influence of cinema in our country is so huge that even areas such as Food and Fashion need to keep updated with the latest trends in tinsel-town. How else can you explain the fact that a restaurant in the by-lanes of Masjid (Mumbai) serves a dish named Sanju Baba Chicken? The dish came into existence after the Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt paid a visit to this joint and suggested a recipe to the owner who not just added it to the menu but also christened it after the actor. There are many such instances. Take for example a popular juice-wallah in the suburb of Mulund (Mumbai) who names his juices after the latest Bollywood release. So while this week, you have a juice called Jab We Met, the next week you sip into a milkshake called Golmaal.
* Fashion is yet another area which has always been influenced by Hindi films. Right from bell-bottoms worn in the cinema of the 70's to the latest low-waist jeans of today, youngsters are completely aware of the latest trends in fashion thanks to cinema. So you have girls rushing in to get the Patialas after Kareena sizzled in them in the smash hit Jab We Met while guys even styled their hair like Salman Khan's in Tere Naam.
* What's more! Even country's major Fashion events see a Bollywood celebrity walking the ramp for their favourite designer.
Culture & Festivals
* India is a land of many diverse cultures and hence we celebrate more festivals than any other nation. Most of our festival celebration is incomplete without the Bollywood song and dance. While the Ganesh Chaturthi festival not only has Bollywood numbers blaring from the speakers, the pandals are also a sight to spot your favorite matinee idol. The Lalbaugcha Raja, one of the most popular Ganesh pandals in Mumbai, sees a host of Bollywood celebrities come for darshanand needless to say the junta not only gets to worship the deity but also see their favorite actor/ actress.
* A few years back, the traditional Navratri Dandiya celebrations consisted of folk songs and devotional numbers but today you even have a 'Rock On' and a 'Pappu Can't Dance Saala' being belted out by the singers on stage. The stars also make their presence felt at these events and end up promoting their film to the huge crowds present.
* Even the festival of colors - Holi, these days is filled with Bollywood based theme parties where the DJ's spins out the latest chartbusters.
* And how can we forget the Festival of Lights- Diwali. Strange as it may sound you have crackers named after popular Bollywood stars such as Kareena's sparklers or Aishwarya phooljhadi.
* Forget the festivals, even Weddings/ Anniversary /Birthday parties etc these days have a Bollywood flavor to it. So you have the bride and groom's real life love story enacted by family and friends in a reel-life format complete with song, dance et al. The affluent class not just have a staged Bollywood style skit but even get some B-town celebs to shake a leg at weddings all for some hefty moolah. So yes its 'Dhoom Macha De' and 'Jhoom Barabar Jhoom' at weddings, sangeet, and even our festivals
* Indians are completely crazy about two things- Cricket and Films. So when the two come together there is bound to be excitement. This is what the organizers of IPL cashed in on as the cricketing extravaganza saw some big names of the cricketing world come together with the biggest names in showbiz. So you had SRK who was seen jumping around Eden Gardens cheering for his team Kolkata Knight Riders even as the pretty Preity Zinta cheered her squad Kings XI Punjab by encouraging them, motivating them and even giving them a jadoo ki jhappi.
* It's not just cricket but even other sports which seem to have found patronage among our film wallahs. The normally reticent Aamir Khan decided to carry the Olympic torch despite some controversies while Suneil Shetty was appointed as the brand ambassador of boxing in India.
* Akshay even has promised to do a lot for the sport of wrestling while the Mumbai Marathon sees a whole lot of B-town celebs getting in their sports gear and running for one social cause or the other. Truly Bollywood has made its presence felt even in the world of sports.
Tourism /Social Campaigns/ Politics
* Bollywood stars have always been active in extending their support towards social causes. Be it the Gujarat earthquake in 2001 or the recent Bihar floods, industry-wallahas have come together in unison and extended a helping hand by collecting funds through various charity shows.
* Some of them have even taken up individual social causes. Like Shabana Azmi whose popular AIDS campaign is still fresh in our eyes or the most successful Polio awareness campaign by Amitabh Bachchan.
* The stars have even contributed to the tourism of many places. Like Switzerland will always be indebted to Yash Chopra and family for making the country such a prominent feature in all of their films.
* Holland even named a Tulip after the most beautiful woman in the world - Aishwarya Rai.
* Closer home, Aamir Khan has been actively supporting the Incredible India tournament.
* Even Politics has always been an area where tinsel town stars have tried to create an impression. While some like Big B didn't have a successful stint, others like Raj Babbar, Sunil Dutt and Shatrughan Sinha have been more than active in politics.
* The influence of cinema in politics took a new meaning recently when the UPA government came out with slogans of Manmohan 'Singh is Kinng' after their triumph. Clearly a case of real imitating reel
Our Day to Day life
* Ever dreamt of sharing a work out session with John Abraham or Bipasha Basu? For many it may be the ultimate fantasy, but it no longer is a distant dream. A well-known entertainment company has released work out videos / VCDs/ DVD's of John Abraham and Bipasha Basu where, sitting in the confines of your home, you can workout with your favorite stars.
* After her new found fame courtesy Big Brother, actress Shilpa Shetty went ahead and launched a number of products using her brand name such as Shilpa's Yoga DVD or even the S2 range of perfumes. So all you Shilpa Shetty fans can now relax and do a Yoga Session with Shilpa while some of you can even have the privilege of having Shilpa's favorite fragrance on you. Even earlier, actors like SRK, Big B and even 'The Nightingale of India'- Lata Mangeshkar have launched perfumes and Eau de colognes in their names.
* The Bollywood Effect has knowingly or unknowingly seeped into our daily lives. Popular dialogues and one-liners such as 'Bole Toh' or 'Jadoo Ki Jhappi' from cult films like Munnabhai series of films form a part of our everyday lingo.
* Many day to day activities seem to be influenced by Bollywood. For e.g. you have many of the popular Bhajans (hymns) composed and sung in the tunes of the latest chartbusters.
All these instances prove that with each passing day, the effect of Bollywood seems to be getting bigger and bigger on our lives. The day is not far when schools start teaching A for Action, B for Bollywood, C for Cinema and so on and so forth.