March 23rd, 2014 / posted by paularath

No matter how varied your exercise routine may be, it never hurts to change it up a bit. That’s why I recently added a Bollywood Dance class with Willow Chang to my weekly regimen.

Bollywood is just plain fun and puts me in touch with my feminine side, unlike weight training, which I perform almost as a  “duty.” I don’t consider Bollywood my total workout for the day, as I seldom break a sweat. That’s why I swim in the morning, to make sure I get in enough cardio. But it really is fun to learn the steps and the mudrahs (hand gestures) and the music is terrific.

I recently did a little homework to see what Bollywood really is about. It’s been years since I went to a Bollywood movie. My friend Amerjit Ghag, owner of the fabulous Chai Studio in Ward Warehouse, who takes the class with me, recommended a film called “Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi,” and I’m so glad she did! Jerry enjoyed it as much as I did and he even stayed awake through all three hours of it. (There’s an intermission and I recommend taking a stretch break and making some popcorn.)

It’s a lovely May/December romance that takes place in the Punjab. Unlike many Bollywood movies, it has a real plot that you can follow. But the plot also involves a dance contest, so you get to see all sorts of Bollywood dance, much of it highly stylized and contemporary. (The movie was made in 2008.)

I recommend you order it on Netflix for an experience that will take you back to the innocent aesthetic of a ’50s Hollywood movie. Really refreshing – and no filthy language or special effects or superheros.

– Paula Rath

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