In the middle of the United States lies Kansas City. On the eastern side of Kansas City is an Indian restaurant called “Bollywood Indian Bistro”. Some of my American readers may need Bollywood explained. India has a thriving, enthusiastic film industry. It is centered in Bombay. Thus Bombay, India has come to be known as Bollywood.
The RRR's daughter-in-law, married to Youngest Son, works at the Bollywood Bistro. On Saturday she convinced us to go there for the luncheon buffet. Up on the wall of the restaurant is the biggest wide screen television I have ever seen. It shows unendingly five minute clips from various Indian movies. In a couple of hours I learned just enough about Indian movies to want to learn much more.
Apparently Bollywood turns out nothing but musicals. It might better be called a film version of Broadway. (BollyBroad?) And as is usual with me, I preferred the old ones. The film clips from 20 years ago or so were truly delightful. The singers and dancers wore more traditional clothing and looked like real people. By the way, the actresses were drop dead gorgeous, absolute beauties. The men... well... sort of 70's sensual and all looking as though they had just rubbed their faces with olive oil. Way too much manly simpering going on.
How can I describe the dancing in those older clips? Only that they seem to dance with every part of their bodies, not just their legs. Even the fingers seem to dance. Apparently there were censorship rules then that even forbid kissing, so the actors had to express their sensuality with ACTING... an amazing concept Hollywood seems to have forgotten. I can only wish that emphasis on acting and traditional dress and dance adapted to the modern genre had continued. The more recent films are apparently attempting to mimic MTV and doing so disastrously. The modern dress and rock music and raw sexuality as opposed to sensuality are jarring and very disappointing. While the female dancers in the old films looked like real women, the newer ones are buffed from the exercise spas and there is a lot of easily detectable plastic surgery enhancement. Sigh.
But the food... oh readers, the food. I recognized many of the ingredients, but the dishes go beyond description. I know what curry is and there were several kinds. I could recognize chicken and beef and other individual ingredients but am at a loss to explain or describe much of what I ate. It was almost all spicy and every bite of everything delicious. But I must tell you about Nan-bread. I have never eaten anything like it.
The ovens are hollow tubes perhaps 2 ½ feet tall with flame around the outside of the tube. The cook rolls out the dough and adds various spices and such and spreads the dough over an oven pad shaped like a large mushroom. Then he used the pad to slap the dough onto the inside wall of the over where it sticks and cooks. He peels it off and it's brought to the table still steaming. I ate till I was as full as a tick. I have eaten exotic food all over the world and have seen nor tasted anything to surpass it.
My daughter-in-law loves working there. With her long, thick dark hair and nose piercing, she looks very Indian herself and is often asked what province she is from. The owners are gracious and very friendly. The lady is Nepalese and the owner Indian. They presented us with a special treat, a drink made of mango juice and yogurt. I was very, very pleased with the whole experience.