By Aswathy Kumar.
' Bollywood?' 'What kind of a theme is that for a seven year old girl,' asked my husband as I laid out my grand plan of hosting a Bollywood themed birthday party for my daughter. I agree, Frozen or Monster High should have been the most popular and obvious choice but if you ask me, so very cliched and overly satiated. And it has never really been my style to follow trends, blindly. I knew I wanted something different, yet something that was familiar.
So why Bollywood, you may ask? Well there are a couple of reasons. First and foremost being that I was obsessed with everything and anything Bollywood. From the extravagant costumes, the oh-so mushy love scenes, theatrical break-ups, breathtakingly beautiful scene settings to the matkas, jatkas, tumkas and even the painstakingly long melodramatical endings. I am what you call, a die-hard Bollywood fan. And it wasn't until I walked in on my toddler jamming to the beats of the popular 'desi girl' soundtrack, while still in her playpen and clad in nothing but her diapers that I realized that I had somehow passed on my little obsession.
Let's get started!
When you think of Bollywood, probably the first thing that crops into your mind is a scene straight out of a Karan Johar movie; lavish, extravagant and simply over-the-top. But this was no blockbuster and I knew I had to keep in mind that this was after all a 7year olds birthday party. I had to make sure that I was right on budget and not do anything too crazy to turn it into a mini version of the infamous big fat Indian weddings.
Staying on budget meant no professional invites for Veda and #DIY was the way to go. For the invites, all I needed were some gold colored gift-wrapping paper, gold swirly ribbons and a few peacock feathers. I simply designed the invitation on the computer, took some coloured print outs that I simply stuck on to the gold colored wrapping paper which I then rolled up to look like a scroll. A swirly ribbon and a peacock feather to finish up and voila, my invites were done and good to go.
Gold coloured wrapping paper, swirly ribbon & peacock feathers were all I needed to jazz up these invites
Thinking of games were easy. All I had to do was take a few classic birthday games and simply indianise them to add the Bollywood touch. Pin the tail became kissa missing tail ka (story of the missing tail), passing the parcel became Haathi you are not my saathi (elephant you are not my friend as in this case, the parcel in question was an Indian elephant, perfect for a bollywood themed party) and even the traditional limbo got a desi touch by simply getting the kids to move to some seriously foot-tapping Bollywood beats.
Kissa missing tail ka, Haathi you are not my saathi & desi limbo:
Simply Indianise the classic birthday party games to add the desi touch
I also added a game for the poor dad's who gave up their soccer games and PS 4's to cheer on a bunch of screaming 7 year olds. All I needed was a string, a sari and a timer and we had a completely unique game of sari wrap. (The winner, the dad who tied the traditional sari the fastest and the neatest. Though at our party we simply awarded the one who was the most innovative.)
Okay so I am 100% desi but deciding the food was a lot harder than I thought. Though I was certain I wanted to add a few desi elements but I knew I had to make sure that the flavors were kept simple and not too overpowering to suit the 7 year olds' palate. And as expected the Potato and peas samosa, chicken tikka sandwiches, Gulab jamun, Gajar ka halwa served in cupcake wrappers and the aalo murg cutlets were all a big hit. ( I also added pizza and cupcakes just to be extra safe that I jazzed up with a few DIY desi cupcake toppers.)
In other cities you could walk into any store and pick up cups, plates, streamers, banners and what not to fit your particular theme. But not in Yangon. A few hours of shop-hopping and I realised that there were only a few handful of shops selling standardized birthday party goodies and felt instantly glad that I had chosen Bollywood as my main theme this year. With Bollywood the number of DIY decor ideas were limitless and there was no pressure to stick to any single colour scheme. Red, blues, green, gold...all were thrown in to transform our garden into something straight out of a Bollywood movie.
A few add ons...
A Rangoli station to keep the little ones busy
No Bollywood party is complete without a few matkas to some dhol beats
The invites were sent, menu finalised and games all planned out. The stage was all set but I knew no bollywood party would be complete without a few matkas, jatkas and a splash of colour So in came the dhol guys playing some foot-tapping beats and a rangoli station to keep the little ones busy. A few disco lights and a dance floor and we were all ready to rock the night, Bollywood style.