That time I was interviewed about Shah Rukh Khan…

Full disclaimer: This is not my area of expertise.

Which is why Ada Tseng and Brian Hu asked me to join them for the first episode of season six of their amazing Saturday School Podcast. The podcast is an exploration of Asian American pop culture, that gets into the nostalgia, the talent and the amazing people who have brought us to this powerful place, this “Crazy Rich Asians,” Mindy Kaling, Hasan Minhaj, “Fresh Off the Boat” era. This season, Ada and Brian are revisiting films from Asia that portray the US, starting with the 2003 classic “Kal Ho Naa Ho.”

I can’t remember the first time I saw a Bollywood film, but I do know that I spent a lot of time actively disliking them. It took Ada and Brian, two Taiwanese American friends, to show me the virtues of Indian blockbuster films — and more specifically, to show me the glory of Shah Rukh Khan.

(Aside: For those uninitiated in SRK, here’s a story Ada wrote for Global Nation that serves as a good primer. While this piece might send you down a rabbit hole that makes you miss your deadlines or your family obligations, it’s probably more efficient than searching the internet and scrolling through 100 Buzzfeed listicles. Unless, of course, you’re like many SRK fans and are looking for that sort of thing.)

I have a complicated relationship with Bollywood, one that is about immigration, shame, pride, joy and family all at once. Ada and Brian really got me to dig deep and tell that story. And laugh with me (at me?) along the way.

To my desi friends, my immigrant friends, to anyone who has ever felt like an oddity in the US, maybe you can relate. Is there something in your pop culture history that was really uncomfortable when you were young but became inexplicably empowering as you grew older? I’d love to hear about it.

logo for Saturday School, blue and pink text with the "oo" of "school" made with a VHS cassette.

Here’s where you can subscribe to Saturday School, which is part of the awesome Potluck Podcast Collective. It’s a wonderful, joyful journey to be part of!

Saturday School is in its sixth season — amazing! If you’re looking for a new podcast where you can show your love, check out Naomi Gingold and Jacky Ahn Yang’s startup long form narrative podcast about Asia: Not the Hello Kitty Show. (Audiophile journalist friends, they’re looking for pitches too!)

Global Lives #2: Anil Kapoor

Anil Kapoor told me I have a “lovely smile.” My mother was pretty excited.

Anil Kapoor

And that says a lot. This 30-year Bollywood veteran is now the kind of star in America who draws attention on a red carpet in Hollywood. Kapoor made his international debut as the dubious host of India’s version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire.

In this, my second Global Lives podcast, I’m examining Kapoor’s take on “going global.” Since the success of Slumdog, he has found a willing international audience. He’s traveled with the film to the Golden Globes and the Oscars, and recently was cast in the eighth season of the Fox series 24. But Mr. Kapoor was thinking about the global film marketplace long before Slumdog‘s success. Last weekend at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles he debuted an English-language version of a Hindi film he produced called Gandhi, My Father.

This episode of Global Lives was co-produced by Asia Pacific Arts, with insight and recordings from Ada Tseng.

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Global Lives #2: Anil Kapoor