Not everyone is thrilled about the Bollywood-themed “Fuller House” episode, but I am, and here’s why:
In episode 11 of “Fuller House” (“Partnerships in the Night”), the cast is seen in desi attire and throwing a Bollywood themed party. As a brown girl growing up in the ‘90s, it meant watching shows that were based on the experiences of white families. But thanks to Aziz Ansari, Russel Peters, Mindy Kaling, Hasan Minhaj, Asif Mandvi and many more brilliant South Asian American actors who have changed the way we consume television.
To put it simply, being able to see desi culture on mainstream TV was a refreshing sight.
Granted, many will disagree with me but here are some highlights of why I think this episode was done in absolute taste.
Let’s start with our sacred cow. As a Hindu, I understand the importance of the mother cow. In fact, my recent trip to India was all about these beloved cows. Cows dictated traffic patterns, they played a crucial role in temple visits, and cows were not used for any other purpose but milk in some parts of India. So to me, the cow is a vital representation of India just as much as a flag is to its home country.
How about those ashrams the doctor speaks of? Those do exist, all over India. In fact, ashrams play a significant role in the economy of India. They help with tourism and employ many Indians and small surrounding businesses. These ashrams also shed positivity to a country known for acid attacks, poverty, and rape cases.
On top of that, the cast looked stunning in desi attire. No matter what your take is on the show, their outfits had all the flavors of India. I saw fully decked out saris, salwar kameez, choli lenghas, anarkalis, and sherwanis. Pretty relevant, if you ask me.
The low cut backs and deep v-necks are all parallel with today’s fashion standards within India. I mean, we are the original creators of the crop-top. Not to mention, our designers have become global sensations. Just take Zuhair Murad for example—he is responsible for Priyanka Chopra’s stunning mermaid-dress she rocked at the Oscars.
Now, let’s talk about the tiny maharaja aka Max who stole my heart in his breathtaking sherwani, fit for a king. The baby wasn’t too shabby himself. As a Punjabi, I thought his turban had swag. Plus, I couldn’t help but be in awe to all the gorgeous desi accessories I saw from bindis to matha pattis.
In addition, for a bunch of white people, can I say how much I enjoyed watching them break it down Bollywood style? It was marvelously coordinated, and to be honest, I would invite the entire cast to my big fat Punjabi wedding. I saw a combination of bhangra, Bollywood, and bits of classical mixed with raas. Seriously, how can you not appreciate it? Stephanie Tanner’s moves might just land her a role in Bollywood (watch out Katrina Kaif).
Most importantly, this episode featured the true Indian vibe. As desi’s we’re fun, colorful, extravagant, but we’re genuine with open hearts, and we most definitely know how to host a rockin’ party. Watching this masala-fied episode made me proud to say I’m an Indian-American.
I’m pleased to add “Fuller House” to the ongoing list of American pop culture that is heavily influenced by modern India. In my opinion, this episode promotes diversity at a time when we need it the most, because, unfortunately, America is being divided during this election cycle so it’s important to remember we’re a melting pot of cultures and ideas. And not to mention, the potential revenue all local desi shops will see from the non-desis who want to buy bangles, head pieces, and clothing. Cha-ching!
Bicky Khosla was born and raised in South Florida with two bachelor degrees from Florida Atlantic University. She enjoys traveling, spending time with her dog, and reading non-fiction. She is passionate about highlighting South Asian achievements, raising awareness about Sikhism and the importance of religious tolerance. Bicky currently works as a healthcare recruiter for a company that provides medical services for both adults and pediatrics.
March 20, 2023March 21, 2023 4min readBy Nida Hasan
If you are a South Asian, born in the ’80s or the early ’90s, chances are your ideas of love and romance are heavily influenced by Hindi films — that first gaze, the secret love notes, that accidental meeting somewhere in Europe, over-the-top gestures and dancing around trees. While reality may have been far from what was promised on reel, you still can’t stop pining over a hopeless romantic, with chocolate boy looks, chasing you across the earth and many universes; in the life here and the ones after. Somewhere deep down, you still dream of that possibility despite your husband sitting and sipping his morning coffee right next to you. And much of the credit for weaving this dreamland, that we can’t resist happily sliding into, goes to the legendary Yash Chopra. Award-winning filmmaker Smriti Mundhra’s docu-series, “The Romantics,” that released on Netflix on February 14, chronicles Chopra’s prolific career; offering an illuminating look into the highs and lows of his journey, his unblemished vision for Hindi cinema and sheer love for filmmaking.
I wanted to look at Indian cinema through the lens of it being a major contributor to the global cinema canon and Yash Chopra seemed like the perfect lens to explore that because of the longevity of his career and the fact that he had worked across so many different genres. His films, for so many of us, defined what Hindi cinema is.
— Smriti Mundhra
As “The Romantics” unveils, in a mere episode — a challenging feat in itself — Chopra did experiment with multiple genres as a budding filmmaker, initially under the shadows of his elder brother B.R. Chopra. From the religiously sensitive “Dharamputra” and the trendsetting “Waqt” to the action-packed and iconic “Deewaar.” It wasn’t until later on in his career that he set a precedent for a Hindi film having a wholly romantic narrative; though “Waqt” did offer the perfect glimpse into what would go on to become Chopra’s cinematic imprint. And then came “Chandni” which ushered in a new era for Hindi cinema; defying the formulaic approach to box office success and making love stories the golden goose.
In the words of more than 30 famous faces, a host of archival videos and interviews, and personal anecdotes, audiences get an extensive insight into the life and career of Yash Chopra and the evolution of his vision through the business acumen and genius of his polar opposite son and a famous recluse, Aditya Chopra. “The Romantics” is not a fancy portrait of a legendary filmmaker but an exploration of what goes into making a successful film family and a path-breaking production house. As viewers, we not only get a peek into the making of a fantasy creator but also learn of the many failures, hurdles and uncertainties that the business of filmmaking comes packaged in, the impact of socio-political shifts on the kind of content being produced and demanded, and just how much control we have as an audience over the fate of the film and the filmmaker.
For both the uninitiated and fanatics, there are some interesting revelations like Shah Rukh Khan’s lifelong desire to become an action hero as opposed to a romantic one and the creative conflict between Aditya Chopra and his father Yash Chopra on the sets of “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge” — a project that, surprisingly, did not seem too promising to the latter. Mundhra penetrates deep into the family’s history and industry relationships evoking some really candid conversations; almost as if these celebs were eagerly waiting for their moment to speak. With one appraising interview after the other, it’s a panegyric that does border on being a tad tedious but there is enough depth and fodder in there to keep one hooked. Kudos to Mundhra for managing to achieve cohesion despite there being more than enough material to chew on. In the process of bringing this project to life, Mundhra also ends up achieving a number of milestones: one that the series features the last of actor Rishi Kapoor’s interviews and two, it brings Aditya Chopra, who, it appears, can talk a blue streak contrary to popular belief, to the front of the camera after almost two decades. The moment when he puts the nepotism debate to rest by referring to his brother’s catastrophic attempt at acting is quite the show-stealer.
At some point during the four-episode series, you might question if it’s fair to credit the Yash Raj family for being the only real changemakers of the Hindi film industry and for picking up the baton to get Hindi cinema the global recognition that it has. But then there is no denying the Chopra clan’s body of work, their ability to understand what pleases the crowd and their commitment towards growth and progress amidst changing times and technology — Yash Raj Studios is in fact the only privately held and one of the biggest, state-of-the-art film studios in India. Chopra’s career and legacy are in no way under-lit that Mundhra can claim to throw new light on with “The Romantics.” But what she really has on offer here are sheer nostalgia, some fascinating discoveries and an ode to a cinephile and his art with a bit of fan service.
In an interview with Brown Girl Magazine, Mundhra discusses why it was so important for Chopra to be the subject of her docu-series, her own learnings during the series’ research and creative process and her accomplishment of getting Aditya Chopra to talk, and that too, at length.