Vibrant, musical, fun and spicy. If these are the things that you would like your party to be then a Bollywood theme is what you are looking for. I can promise you your guests will not want to leave and if they finally do then they will still be talking about it for a long time.
But let’s start from the beginning. What on earth is Bollywood? Well, its Hollywood only louder, spicier and more colorful. Just like cricket, the Indian film industry, Bollywood, is a major part of the Indian culture. Even though India gained its independence only 68 years back, Bollywood has been entertaining people for over a century now. Like Hollywood, Bollywood stars have always been considered idols and trend setters. But let’s save this Bollywood education for some other time and concentrate more on the party you’re planning today.
Half the work is already done if you know what the theme of the party is going to be. You can choose from different eras in Indian cinema. The Golden Era was from early 1940s to 1960s. Then there were the 70s which had a vintage look with sarees wrapped tightly hugging the body and disco balls. The 90s were more classic and today’s cinema is more modern. Irrespective of the era, bright colors were a staple. Pick the colors for the party first and those colors should flow throughout the party from start to finish, from the invitations to the decor. Bollywood means bright, vibrant and colorful, so the theme colors must deliver. Ex. red, pink, yellow, gold etc.
Next comes important details like the venue. Depending on the size of the group, you should decide where you would like to hold the party. I always prefer my backyard but a party hall, banquet or a nearby park are other options.
Once you know the location you should get to the invites. Following the theme of the party choose bright colors for the invitations. You can also add character to them by using colorful laces and bright images on the cover if you’re going with old school paper invites. It might be fun to ask your guests to dress up following the Bollywood theme of the party. Mention that in the invitation. Maybe they can dress in an Indian kurta, put on some bangles or throw on something that’s vibrant and colorful. Or to make it easier for them you can set up a stall at the party with some colorful Indian scarves, fancy glass bangles or bindis so when they enter the party they are free to help themselves.
Party Tip: Speaking of setting up a stall, a henna tattoo stall has always been a hit in my Bollywood parties. Ask a henna artist or request (bribe!) a friend to do it for you.
There’s a saying in India which loosely translated says- you can do whatever you can to the party if but the food is not good, the party’s not good. So clearly the food has to be delicious.
Indian cuisine is so rich and diverse that you can never run out of ideas. You can either stick to the classics like chicken tikka masala, chicken curry, palak paneer and naan or get more adventurous and serve some fun chaat which is not only a popular street food in India but a beloved in parties or something fun like a beetroot gnocchi or quesadillas with a spicy twist.
Indian food not in your cooking repertoire? No problem! Go for fool proof with delicious Ready to Eat Tasty Bite Indian Entrees and Rices. With over 15 varieties, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from such as Madras Lentils, Vegetable Tikka Masala and Channa Masala just to name a few. These are as close to homemade flavors as you can get. For a slightly modern and different meal try the Bombay Potatoes.
For drinks just go with a classic chai. Iced masala chai and aam pana are great thirst quenchers that your guests are sure to approve of!
Bright and shimmering sarees or dupattas make for great drapes and curtains. Hang them in the corners of the room from the ceiling and let it flow. Place a few comfy couches and throw some comfortable cushions with Indian prints or thread work. Low seating is also very Bollywood. Cover the mattress of cushions with colorful sheets. Mirror drapes also look amazing especially when colorful lights are reflected off of the drapes. You should check out your local ethnic stores for décor options. World Market Cost Plus is another place I frequent a lot for Indian decorations.
Try gold or silver center pieces which go great with reds and oranges.
Turn on some peppy Indian Bollywood music in the background and keep the volume turned up! If it’s some fast Bhangra number then guests might want to shake some legs too. Last but not least, don’t forget the Bollywood movie! Check out your local Indian music/video library for options. For the starters if you want oldies but goodies look for movies like Sholey, Dewar or Mughleazam. Dil to Pagal Hai, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le jayenge or Dil Chahta are also some of the most popular movies from the 90s and early 2000 with fun sound tracks. Latest releases like Queen, Dedh Ishkiya, 2 states and Tanu Weds Manu have some fun sound tracks or you can just play the movie in the background and let the guests enjoy with some masala popcorn and mango lassi.