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January 21, 2019

That one token friend...

Almost every single day, I get song requests on East FM from non-Asian listeners who specifically ask for a song and I think nothing of it.

Mind you, it’s none of the clichéd requests of Akon or Ludacris or even Snoop Dogg (now known as Snoop Lion) all of who have been part of a few hits in Bollywood.

Enrique Iglesias, Kylie Minogue, Pussycat Dolls and so many others have also contributed to Bollywood music but this is not what gets requested by the non-Asian listeners and its fine because music is a universal language isn’t it?

 About seven years ago when I started writing for the Star, I met Brenda Okoth. You must see her name liberally peppered throughout the newspaper alongside her write ups.

Besides that, she’s also my editor and, very proudly so, a recipient of a CNN journalistic award. No, this isn’t her CV but there’s something I must tell you about this girl.

When we first met, she would talk to me in a stereotypical Indian accent – what she thought was how Indians spoke because of maybe watching too many episodes of Mind Your Language and ending each sentence with a head bob and the word ‘only. Then I realised, she wasn’t really poking fun.

She thought she was genuinely making an effort to communicate with me and would throw in a few token Indian words (usually swear words and I bet she will edit this bit out) into conversation.

 Then she started asking me for Indian movies. At first I thought Brenda is going through a foreign film phase. I know that there was a time when I watched French films in an attempt to learn the language and then eventually gave up because I could make no head or tail besides the occasional ‘oui’ and ‘merde’ thrown in.

So I thought that maybe this was the same in Brenda’s case but to date, she still asks me for Bollywood movies and knows what’s happening in that starry world.

I like to think it’s all thanks to the Just Bollywood page she reads in the Star every Thursday; and there’s my plug for the page! Get your copy of the Star every Thursday to catch up with what’s happening in the world of Bollywood, all the glitz, glamour and scandals too.

 The latest movie that Brenda has just watched is 3 Idiots. It stars Aamir Khan and this is a brilliant movie. I’ve watched it several times and only because it’s always being rerun on the Indian channels.

I go to the cinema every once in a while and even though it doesn’t happen very often, I always like to see a non-Indian person settling down with a bucket of popcorn and soda just to watch an Indian movie. These days they come with subtitles and no, the hero doesn’t get up to start singing when he’s been shot.

You need to get out of the 80s time warp. Indian cinema has come a long way and the best way to know this is to do what Brenda does – she watches the movies. Also she’s pretty good at singing the Indian songs so that’s quite awesome too.

 Get in touch if you’d like a recommendation of my personal favourite Bollywood movies. I’m off the French films for a while!


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