New Delhi — Imagine gorging on “Anda Apna Apna” or “Chicken Tussi Great Ho” at a restaurant with walls splashed with Bollywood posters, dialogues and film memorabilia. Special-themed eateries across India are cashing in on the craze for everything Bollywood — films, songs and stars.
The owners may be professional restaurateurs or diehard Bollywood fans, but they’ve chosen their unique ways to showcase their love for popular Hindi cinema through their joints.
Bollywood-inspired cafes are definitely in vogue, says Delhi’s leading restaurateur Priyank Sukhija, who will soon open the doors of his pet project, Lights Camera Action, in the capital’s trendy Hauz Khas Village. He stresses on the universal love for Bollywood music in the country, proven by the success of special Sufi nights and Bollywood karaoke bars.
“We all are Hindustani and love the flavors of our movies. Lights Camera Action will be a fun place. With Bollywood themed interiors, the place has funky artwork and displays with popular dialogues like ‘Mere paas maa hai,’” Sukhija said, pointing out that his eatery will have room for all age groups.
“It has displays from old classics to all-time favorites and more,” he added.
In the capital’s suburb, Gurgaon, live entertainment destination Kingdom of Dream’s restaurant IIFA Buzz Cafe has been planned as a complete Bollywood experience with thematic decor, props, music, special effects and larger-than-life moments of reel life in the form of posters, records, props and star memorabilia.
There’s also one in Jharkhand, a chaat shop pioneered by Pappu Singh, an ardent fan of Bollywood’s dancing queen Madhuri Dixit. Jamshedpur-based Pappu Singh, who has been in the business since 1995, celebrates Dixit’s birthday every year May 15.
Singh met Dixit once, and she tied him a rakhi!
“As a fan of Madhuri Dixit, I started celebrating her birthday in 1996. Every year, a number of people are invited and her birthday is celebrated with fanfare,” Singh said as he served up a yummy dahi bhalla, followed by a kulfi faluda.
And in keeping with his intent, every inch of the walls and roof is papered with posters of Dixit from a range of films.
“My chaat shop is the best way to pay tribute to a Bollywood legend,” Singh said, handing out a jal jeera-filled gol gappa to another customer.
In Mumbai, another such fan with a creative mind showcased his love for the “Bhai” of Bollywood, Salman Khan, by opening a restaurant named Bhaijaanz.
“Being Bandra-ites and Salman-iacs, since our childhood we wanted to do something dedicated to him, with the right essence of his taste (the fun he offers). We have dedicated a culinary tribute to our idol,” said Bhaijaanz owner Rahul Narain Kanal.
Bhaijaanz has a very quirky menu with dishes like “Anda Apna Apna,” “Chicken Tussi Great Ho” and “Machli No.1” — all named after Khan’s films and all priced at affordable rates.
South India, too, is not behind in the trend.
In Hyderabad, multi-cuisine restaurant 70mm has Bollywood as the theme and was started six years ago. 70mm has a red carpet, film posters and mannequins of Helen, Amitabh Bachchan and Rajkumar.
The restaurant also has different sections — action and romantic — as well as a live chaat counter. This apart, they also entertain their patrons with live Bollywood music every evening.
Amar Ohri, the executive director of 70 mm, said the idea germinated “as a celebration of the big screen.”
“We have merchandise, lots of posters and even mannequins depicting various iconic scenes of popular movies. And as we say in the restaurant, the real superstar is the food,” Ohri said.
Not a bad idea to get a taste of Bollywood away from cinema halls, and in a restaurant!
(Mohammad Shafeeq and Nityanand Shukla contributed to this article)