Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Three Brazilian female perfomers head to India to try and break into the Bollywood movie industry.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew the proposed plot of the movie from the program, and that it was supposed to be a Bollywood movie, which I’ve only seen a few of, but always enjoyed. So maybe there would be singing and dancing and lavish musical productions? There weren’t. But the movie doesn’t have to have that. What it did have instead was a rich human story of desire versus necessity, and how the culture and society differs between east and west, and a joyful movie about the trials of finding what you really want.
So these three girls went off without really being aware of what they were looking for, or the challenges they would face trying to break into Bollywood. First the supposed contact can’t be found, then he’s in another city entirely, the girls strike out on their own and get a dance teacher in the form of a young Indian boy. And the first thing he does is take them to some kind of temple or shrine way out there, dedicated to the Gods, and gives a brief lesson about how all the Indian Gods love dancing. In there is a beautiful scene where a dance to the Gods is shown, complete with translated mantra-thoughts at the bottom. And I thought it was wonderful to include that they, like the Japanese for example, consider dance sacred yes, but also something anyone and everyone can and should do. Then we move on to audition after audition, in which the girls try their best but keep getting shot down for one reason or another. A train ride to Mumbai, where the girls should be able to find their contact and hopefully a better job than the ones they left behind, follows, and it doesn’t work out too well. If the girls wanted to do burlesque, they could’ve stayed in Brazil.
Not a ton of intimate detail is revealed about these three girls, other than the oldest (seemed to me), who left a son behind in Brazil. The other two seem a bit flighty and only caring about making money, preferably without having to be naked. So when the big-big audition finally comes and the silver lame’ bikinis are handed out, the girls make their decision to NOT do it, but rather follow what their hearts actually want. Here’s about where the movie gets a bit odd for me, the ending, which was a little confusing for me. I thought the oldest girl Ana tried a few different feels for what she wanted to do in India, which seemed to entail visiting monks. And then at the very end we see her sitting there, writing what looks like a script for the movie, which they do kindly translate onto the screen for us.
Not the end result, but the journey itself, is what the movie seems to be about. And it is a very Hindu way of thinking. For those follow your heart moments that cross all cultures and boundaries, reminding us of shared humanity, try seeing Bollywood Dream.