Bollywood is a mashup of Bombay and Hollywood, a term given to the Hindi language movies primarily based in Mumbai- formerly known as Bombay.
But whether you know it as Bollywood, Bombay Cinema or Hindi Cinema is BIG business and known the world over for incorporating singing and large dance numbers.
So, finding out that Gate 1 Travel had incorporated a few hours visiting an iconic theater in Jaipur and seeing a new release Bollywood film was pretty exciting.
Address: C-16, Bhagwan Das Rd, Panch Batti, C Scheme, Ashok Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302001, India
The Raj Mandir is an incredible Streamline Modern / Late Art Deco style theater that was opened in 1976 and has become known as “The Pride of Asia.”
The theater is old-school with one giant screen, a swagged red velvet curtain, and balcony seating. The lobby is immense, with lots of seating, lounge areas, and snack concessions.
This panoramic photo from our cell phone doesn’t really capture its site or incredible architecture.
The theater is known for its meringue shaped dome ceiling. It’s got a fantastic lighting system that allowed it to change colors.
As Americans, we had to laugh at the “American Sweet Corn” being sold at the concession. It was regular buttery corn on the cob sold as snack food for the movie.
We also heard that during intermission, vendors make their way through the theater. As all of the movies are in Hindi, we stayed only until the break. We left with mixed feelings, while we didn’t speak but a few words of Hindi we all loved the actors smoldering good looks, almost laughable plot and singing and dancing.
The Bollywood film we got to view was Baaghi 3! An action-thriller, obviously the third in the Baaghi film series, starring Tiger Shroff and Indian actor and martial artists, one of the highest-paid actors in India, and not hard on the eyes. We were all impressed and surprised by the amount of cheering when he appeared on the screen.
I was a brand new release, opening only six days before we were there, and we were surprised how busy the theater was in the middle of a weekday. Bollywood is HUGE in India.
We grabbed a short clip of an all-out singing and dancing flash mob that happened to break out in the middle of someone’s wedding. You don’t have to know a word of Hindi to enjoy this movie.
Bazzar Shopping Experience
After heading out of the theater during intermission, we headed to a nearby bazaar for a little shopping.
The shopping district ran for several blocks in each direction, and everything pretty much starts to look the same. So, picking a central location, and snapping a photo with an address can be a lifesaver.
We saw row after row of stores selling all kinds of locally made clothes, shoes, table linens, and trinkets. We were especially interested in the traditional Rajasthani puppets.
The shops spill over into the sidewalk, and with rows of motorcycles lining the streets, escaping fairly aggressive salespeople was a challenge. We found that learning how to say “No, thank you” in Hindi went a long way with them but not with the vendors following you up and down the streets selling cheap bulk trinkets and jewelry.
We also very quickly found that Pam, one of our travel companions who is originally from India, who spoke fluent Hindi, was an AWESOME negotiator.
She had just purchased a beautiful table runner when we bumped into her, and she flat out told the vendor he had to give us the same price she had negotiated. Not a bad deal for 250 Rupees ($3.29).
Shopping was fun, it was an adventure, it was easier with a great negotiator who speaks Hindi.