My life in Bollywood: from arranged marriages to migration, the movies that mirrored my family history (opinion)

Alisha Haridasani as a child had a hair style inspired by the 1998 Bollywood film "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai".

Story highlights

  • Bollywood holds up a mirror to Indian society, connecting with millions across the subcontinent, says Haridasani
  • Today, it is beginning to reflect social changes, portraying homosexuality, political corruption and women in the workplace

Alisha Haridasani was born in 1989, and lived in Jodhpur before leaving India for Hong Kong, where she continued to watch Bollywood films. She is currently an associate features producer for CNN in Hong Kong.

(CNN)My relationship with Bollywood started before I was even born.

In the late 1980s, my mum and dad fell in love in an era when arranged marriages were the rule, and love and romance were seen as irrelevant. Their families were outraged by the scandalous affair.
My parents were forced to stay away from each other, curfews were installed and their movements were scrutinized.
    At around this time, the film "Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak" (From Infinity to Infinity) was released, about a couple madly in love but torn apart due to familial feuds -- portraying the very real idea that marriage was -- as in many cases it still is -- more of a family affair rather than a bond between two people.
    Alisha Haridasani's parents on their wedding day in 1987.
    In the end, both my parents and the couple in the film lived happily ever after. Perhaps one catalyzed the other?
    Fast forward to 1995: my family was just beginning to settle into their new home in Hong Kong. They were getting used to drastically different cultural values and sweeping changes.