Dil To Pagal Hai is the first filmi I ever saw in the cinema. It may not be the first one that I watched- one of my local television stations used to air Bollywood movies every Sunday, so Hindi language movies (with English subtitles of course) was the norm in my house. It’s absolutely the reason for Bollywood cinema being my first ever fandom though.
Let me set the stage: A young 8 year old girl and her brother are taken to the cinema by her parent. She’s not sure what they are there to see that day but it’s the movie theatre so she’s excited. The curtains open and the movie starts with this which basically blows her mind. The music, the clothes, the choreography, the SRK… Honestly, it was love at first sight. Then she sees the movie’s heroine, Madhuri Dixit, and that’s when she falls irrevocably in fangirl love
I adore Shah Rukh Khan, I really do. It’s just a state of being that everyone I know who watched his work in ’90s and onwards exist in. I’ve seen many of his movies multiple times, enough so to be able to recite the dialogue from at least one verbatim. Madhuri is a bit different for me, I wanted to be just like her. I wanted to dress, look and most definitely be able to dance like Mads. When she retired from acting for years, I was legitimately upset by it. The SRK-Madhuri jodi in DTPH remains one of my favourite ever in part because it was just so magical for me when I saw this filmi on the big screen.
I actually credit filmis in general for several things, the major one being my ability to read quickly. It’s also why non-English language entertainment (anime, asian dramas, telenovelas etc.) have always felt accessible to me as long as subtitles were available. The only Hindi I understand or speak to this day are the words which have made frequent appearances in movies or songs.
Even though, I’m no way near the filmi fangirl I was in primary and early secondary school, Bollywood will always have a special place in my heart. After all it is my first and most familiar love.