Television in Pakistan was (and still is, I assume) an odd beast. By default, you were provided with a constant stream of public access TV, which is much like its American equivalent but with more religion and without the budget. (A prototypical example of said programming would be a background image of pleasant nature scenes -- flowers and oceans and whatnot -- and images of religious texts, constantly cycling as an audio track of an imam reciting Quranic verses played. For five hours straight.)
If you wanted something a little less spiritually nourishing, you had to result to a satellite dish. A satellite dish, of course, gave you access to Indian television program. And sure, that included such worthy channels as BBC and CNN. But the real joy was in the entertainment channels: MTV and StarTV and Channel V. MTV (and Channel V, the homegrown equivalent) of course adapted to their target market: while they carried their fair share of Britney and Backstreet Boys (and Take That, catering to the more British sensibilities), there was an enormous quantity of Hindi dance music as well. If you have never seen a Bollywood musical (or dance number), you really owe it to yourself to check out this movie so that you have a better idea of what I'm talking about.
At the time, these music videos were endlessly annoying: they were in a language I couldn't understand, catering to musical sensibilities I did not share, and followed a very small number of thematic variations (beachfront dance number, snowy mountain-top dance number, urban dance number, and village dance number, all featuring the male and female dance leads accompanied by location-appropriate backing dancers). If you didn't follow my earlier link, imagine watching (say) a Nirvana video, immediately followed by a Gilbert & Sullivan musical number. In Swahili.
Needless to say, I was somewhat surprised to find myself setting at a friend's house Saturday night, watching Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, a classic Bollywood romantic comedy. And, as much as I would have liked otherwise, I actually enjoyed it. Quite a bit. Sure, the plot was obvious (and ridiculous). Sure, the acting was ludicrously over the top. And, despite my somewhat tenuous expectations to the contrary, the dance routines didn't really fit into the plot at all (a conversation about love at an Indian prep college somehow morphed into a frolicking dance number at a Scottish castle. No, I'm dead serious.) But somehow, the over-the-top kitsch, when hammered into my head over a three hour period, was enormously fun to watch. It didn't hurt that the particular movie I watched happens to star Shahrukh Khan, the quite attractive and enormously charismatic individual featured at right.
I'm not sure if my taste for kitsch has just been augmented with my growing age, or if it was the pure overwhelming sense of spectacle I was assaulted with. Either way, I loved the hell out of it. The fact that there were subtitles and I could actually understand what the hell was going out was presumably entirely irrelevant to this development...
Also, check out this awesome, Little-Richardesque dance video: http://youtube.com/watch?v=qLDacJ7rvi4