My So-Called Bollywood Life(80)

By: Nisha Sharma

 “Wow, that does sound anticlimactic. Glad I skipped the showing.”

Winnie laughed. “Love you more than Shah Rukh Khan, Bridge.”

“Love you more than Colin Firth. Did you drive your mom’s car here? You’re setting up for the new and improved Winnie festival, right?”

Winnie grinned and took the plastic bag of plates and cutlery from the backseat of her parents’ car. “I am. And my parents and grandmother are actually here to help. Tomorrow we’re going to start with a feature from a faculty member, and then Dev’s movie.”

“Dev’s? Does he know?”

“Well, I’m hoping he’ll show up to see it. He hasn’t answered any of my texts yet. He’ll be the second in the lineup, which is probably the best spot since the Princeton and Rutgers faculty will still be around.”

Bridget rubbed her palms together. “This sounds awesome. Amazing. Okay, is there anything I can do?”

Winnie draped an arm around her best friend’s shoulder and squeezed. “There is one thing you can do. As you know, my blog isn’t exactly the most widely read news source in central Jersey. I got a huge bump at the fund-raiser dance, thanks to your help, but that wasn’t enough.”

 Bridget snorted. “Yeah, that’s putting it lightly. You need to get the word out faster?”

Winnie nodded. “And to more people. I want to make sure that we have a crowd for tomorrow and Sunday. I know we have students from school, and we have some adults showing up, but it’s a flash festival, so there’s not a lot of time to prepare. You think you can help with the marketing and fill the seats?”

“I’m on it,” she said. “I first need the username and password for your blog.”


“You want people to show up? You have to hashtag the right things. The right things are usually ‘Ranveer Singh,’ ‘Aditya Chopra,’ and ‘shirtless.’ ”

“Ah, the finest of Bollywood actors. Is that going to be enough?”

“Eh. I’ll add Katrina Kaif to the mix.”

“What about people who don’t like Bollywood?”

“We’re in central Jersey. Do people like that exist?”

“Truth. But to be safe, I’ll have Henry post something on the school’s website, too.”

“Good idea.”

They walked together into the Rose.




Sometimes the hero doesn’t get exactly what he or she wants, and ends up with something that has the potential of being better. I used to hate plot devices like this. Now? Not so much. Just because goals change doesn’t mean I do, right? #RanveerSingh #AdityaChopra #KatrinaKaif

WINNIE: Hey, I know you’re mad, but Raj is going to clear your name today. I dropped out of the festival, too. Also, you hurt me when you lied. If we’re going to try to make this work, you can’t lie. That’s not cool.

WINNIE: That is if you want it to still work?

WINNIE: I hope you come tomorrow. Make sure you’re there by 6:15PM if you can. I have a ticket waiting for you at the front table.

WINNIE: Miss you. I wish there was an emoji for that.


Winnie was in shock from the moment people first started walking in the door, and she had to work at containing her surprise. Bridget’s social-media strategy had actually been effective. She saw a few familiar faces and a lot of new ones. They bought food from the concession stand, stood in front of the film posters to read the summaries, and checked the filmmaker bios on the info table. The banner in the entrance read:


A Precursor to the Princeton Academy Student Film Festival

Celebrating Short Films in Princeton, New Jersey

“Here you go, beta,” her father said as he handed her a cup of soda. He settled in next to her and surveyed the incoming crowd. “How is everything?”

She looked up at her father and smiled. “You look good in your suit, Daddy.”

“Your mother thought so, too, when I was doing my MBA.”

Winnie looped her arm through his. “I’m sure she thinks the same thing now.” They scanned the crowd until they found her and Nani leading people into the first movie hall. Bridget was at the front door, checking in the filmmakers, and the AV guys were making sure that the movies were ready to go. Henry was going to play the shorts from the projection room and address schedule mishaps through the night. Eric, along with Winnie’s father, was going to troubleshoot.