I was born in London, grew up in Tennessee, traveled every few years to see visit family in India, then moved to Washington, D.C., and finally I am somewhat settled in Los Angeles. Along the way, I was lucky to make friends with experiences from all around the world, and I always noticed how entertainment was something that had brought people together. Living within these polarizing environments has given me the ability to observe and understand different groups of people. I have always been fascinated by the way entertainment, whether it’s film, music, or literature, has the ability to transcend cultural and linguistic barriers.

As a child, I realized early on that I was interested in Entertainment. I was like the average Space Jam and Spice Girls fan as a child, but for a slightly different reason than the catchy songs and sparkly outfits. I wasn’t exactly “trying to dress like Baby Spice obsessed” (although my mom did catch me turning my shirt into a crop top once and blamed Spice World), but rather, I wanted to know who planned their concerts, and who decided which fans got to meet the band, and how did they each get their names, did they pick them or did someone else pick them, and who was that someone else, and are they all really friends? I remember also specifically loving Spice World because, as a mockumentary, I got to observe (a heavily exaggerated version) what these “behind the scenes” situations looked like.

In many ways, my curiosity was sparked by my mom. Before moving to the US, my mom was an actress in India. She started out doing plays and television then moved to films when she was in her early twenties. She had as much of a passion for classical Indian dancing, just as much as she did Michael Jackson. As I was growing up, we were able to find common ground through these two very different kinds of movies. Bollywood, with it’s bright colors and out-of-the-blue dance sequences, and Hollywood with it’s glamour and over-the-top action scenes. If it was her way of hoping that I would stay connected to my Indian roots, then it definitely worked. My mom still sends me the newest Indian movies that she thinks I would like, and I do the same – I now call her after Game of Thrones to get all the answers to what I didn’t understand.

Now, I am by no means an Indian film expert but here are my recommendations for some Bollywood movies to watch, if you’ve never seen an Indian movie before:

If you love romantic comedies:
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)

This movie is in my top 10 favorite movies of all time. It stars Shah Rukh Khan, one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, and Kajol, the Bollywood actress of the 90’s. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai roughly translates to “Shit happens,” which is a very appropriate title for this movie. The film is set in a college where Raj (Khan) and Anjalj (Kajol)’s friendship is put to the test when Tina, the principle’s daughter comes back from London and makes everyone feel some type of way.

Available on: iTunes, Amazon Instant Watch, Google Play, YouTube

If you love sad, dramatic love stories:
Devdaas (2002)


This version is the third remake of the story of Devdas, based on the 1917 novel, about a wealthy lawyer returns from school to marry his childhood sweetheart (played by former Miss Universe Aishwarya Rai). When he gets there, he is forbidden to do marry her by his family (parents, ugh) and his life quickly spirals out of control…seriously it’s so sad

Available on: iTunes, Amazon Instant Watch, Google Play, YouTube

If you love sports movies:
Lagaan (2001)


Before Slumdog Millionaire, there was Lagaan. The movie was widely acclaimed at many film festivals both in India and abroad, and was nominated for an Academy Award in 2001. The film is about a small villagers who run into a chance situation of battling their British colonial oppressors in a game of cricket, in order to get rid of their high taxes. Aamir Khan, a very popular actor and humanitarian, steps up as the village’s leader.

If you love movies with a social message:
PK (2014)


PK is a satirical look at society’s religious dogmas and superstitions. Aamir Khan plays an alien who comes to Earth to try to find “God,” but struggles when asking various people how to find him. It’s funny, heartwarming, and does a great job of pointing out that all religions in the end teach the same message of love and kindness.

Available on: iTunes

If you love music:
Taal (1999)


If you don’t watch this movie, you should just listen to the music, written by A.R. Rahman, who is responsible for Slumdog Millionaire’s “Jai Ho.” Rahman is a musical genius, known as “the Mozart of Madras,” he is one of the world’s all time best selling recording artists. Taal is the story of Mansi (played by Aishwarya Rai), a singer who deals with the classic dilemma of love vs. family vs. self, during her rise to stardom.

Available on: iTunes, Amazon Instant Watch, Google Play, YouTube