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Yangon-3: Pagoda Shmagoda, Let’s Go Bollywood!

Yangon-3: Pagoda Shmagoda, Let’s Go Bollywood!

on Nov 22, 2014

Walking out of our hostel one day what did we see but a Bollywood movie displayed at a Yangon movie theater.

Bollywood in Burma!

Now, after a month of temple visiting in Bali and Pagoda visiting in Yangon, immersing ourselves into a Bollywood movie (for you never just watch a Bollywood movie, you immerse into it) is like having a nice juicy burger after starving for 2 days. Pure indulgence. The movie was called “Happy New Year“. We had no idea about it. But it was Bollywood and promised some major dance numbers. That was enough.

We decided to head to yet another pagoda that had a festival first, and then catch the second show at 10. We reached the Pagoda, and somewhere there must have been a mistake, for there was no festival. Normally we’d be upset. But we had the movie to look forward to! I know I know. If the Buddha were buried he’d be turning over in his grave.

We spent sometime walking through the Pagoda premises. We saw four statues of the Buddha with 4 different hand gestures.


Four Hand Gestures of the Buddha

In Borobudur we were told about the different hand gestures symbolizing blessing the ground, meditating, teaching etc. but these were different gestures than the Buddha at Borobudur had. If someone knows about them please let us know in the comments.

We reach back to the theater after a quick dinner, buy our tickets and as we walk in we witness a waiting room in front every cinema hall inside it. Soon we find out why. The movie is half hour late! Not even in India, a country where the official time has the word Stretchable in it, are movies late. Trains might be late, schools might start late, even our elections might be late, but our movies always start on time (well except for this one time in 1985 in Kerala when the movie reel accidentally was unloaded at the wrong railway station resulting in the show being delayed 3 hours, but I digress).
Here movies are delayed so often that movie theaters had their own waiting rooms! The movie finally started at 1045pm. We were tired and sleepy at this point. Once we got in we also realized that the Myanmar people like to compensate for their heat by turning the A/C to the max. And then some. We were literally shivering in the theater. Add to that the fact that we were falling asleep, and that tickets were just 2$, we decided to walk out of the theater and go back the next day for an earlier show!
Come the next day, clad in warm clothes, replete with socks and a blanket we march back to the theater. This time we thoroughly enjoyed the show.

The movie was cheesy. Campy and utterly extravagant. It was the perfect from a month of temple visits.

The theater had only Burmese folks other than us. I had no idea the Burmese were so into Bollywood! They were laughing off the seats at every little joke in the movie. All with subtitles. And the theaters were really a good standard. Big screens. Surround sound, comfy seats, and they don’t even check if you’re bringing outside food! All for 2$ or less! Yangon is my favorite place to watch movies now.

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