THE AUSTINOT: Experience Bollywood Right Here in Austin

Austin Bollywood Day 2015 was a success! While the weather was exceptionally hot, hundreds of visitors were in good spirits while checking out the festivities at the Long Center. If you missed this recent August event, don’t worry. There are several happenings throughout the year to celebrate the vibrancy and excitement of Bollywood in Austin, and you can get involved.

Quick Look at the Brightness of Bollywood

The name “Bollywood” comes from combining “Bombay” (former name for the city of Mumbai) and “Hollywood.” It refers to the Hindi language film industry (there are numerous other film industries in India representing other languages).

When people talk about “Bollywood dance,” they’re referring to the dancing seen in Bollywood films. The music can be of many genres, so the dancing technique lends itself to hip hop, contemporary, jazz, folk and so on, depending on the music genre.

Movers and Shakers

I spoke with Prakash Mohandas, a founder of Austin Bollywood Day, to find out more about Bollywood related activities in Austin. This was only the second Austin Bollywood Day, and the first time the city officially proclaimed the event. Food trailers, accessory and clothing vendors, pulsating music and a henna artist were all in attendance.

Every hour, there was a dance tutorial leading up to a world-recording breaking attempt to have hundreds of people dancing the same Bollywood dance (to the best of their ability). In the afternoon, there was also a procession of drumming and dancing from the Capitol to the Long Center called a baraat. This practice usually involves the arrival of the groom during a traditional Indian wedding ceremony.

Prakash’s goal with the event was to give visitors the opportunity to enjoy Indian culture, spread the word about Bollywood dance and movies and help local artists gain an audience for their endeavors. All ages and ethnicities were welcome, and you didn’t even need to be a good dancer to participate!