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Bollywood Nights

Updated: Feb 2

Earl Fowler

You don’t have to be Indian — or, as in my case, married to one — to have spent untold hours you’ll never get back watching Bollywood movies. But it helps.

Me, I’ve become fairly adept at piecing together what’s going on by straining to read the subtitles (often in white lettering against maddening white backgrounds) and registering the snippets of English with which Hindi, Bengali and Marathi speakers pepper their conversations in both the movies and real life (à la your typical allophone teen in a Montreal métro car).

If I close my eyes (only pretending to nod off for a minute), I’ll usually hear something like this: “Mumble, mumble, incomprehensible, incomprehensible, yell, yell, scuffle, scuffle, go to hell you bloody son of an owl!”

Sorry, there was probably more but I might have nodded off for a minute.

When I open my eyes, love has somehow transcended seemingly insurmountable barriers and a long chain of far-fetched coincidences, the vengeful villain has been decidedly dispatched, the implacable parent finally realizes the prospective daughter-in-law is a keeper, the radiant bride and dishy groom are lip-syncing gloriously at the centre of an incredibly complex choreographed dance number that the 100 wedding guests must have been practising for weeks when no one was looking, and my wife has tears rolling down her cheeks like the comedic sidekicks falling over each other in the wings.

The End.

I must have missed the reincarnation twist and the climactic fight scene, but no matter. The important thing is that with a bit of help from Buzzfeed Indian contributor Nirali Shah and weekly magazine India Today, I can hereby submit for your edification my latest poem composed of literal translations of Bollywood titles and song lyrics I’m pretty sure I slept through.

Peacock on robber!

There are talks in the jungle.

And it is known that a flower has put on underwear and proceeded to bloom.

Fair-fair, naughty-naughty, round-round buttocks.

Potato fritter, hey! Potato fritter. I didn’t want to love you but I had to.

I will be yelling “Laila! Laila!” after ripping my shirt.

Love found jewels and dance.

I’m an Indian grilled chicken, my friend.

Wash me down with alcohol.

Lock your dad in his room and pack me some flat bread and okra.

Sometimes we match like a sari and its lining.

Sometimes I leave my heart, sometimes I catch it.

Dream umm ... wake up umm ... critical condition umm … sizeum matterum.

You are my woofer, I am your amplifier.

What is behind your blouse?

As long as there is potato in the samosa, I will be yours, oh my Shaalu.

You are my chicken fry. You are my fish fry.

Hey girl, don’t ever say bye, bye, bye.

Tak tana nana, Indian barbecue nights. Indian barbecue nights. Indian barbecue nights.

Here, I transformed into a popular pain-relief ointment.

Darling, for you.

Husband, spouse and that.

Fish without water electricity without dance.

Dead body’s life in danger.

Even the highest man sits naked on the potty.

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