San Jose, California's Bollywood

Cinematic adventure in the South Bay
Lisa Taggart

The best part of watching the Oscars is spotting the most outrageous outfits. But for sustained cinematic drama, a better source originates halfway across the globe in the booming Hindi-language film industry called Bollywood.

You don't have to wait all year; India reportedly averages three new films a day. And the West's largest Indian population ― here in the South Bay ― enjoys a steady infusion of Bollywood glam at San Jose's IMC6 theater.

My night at IMC6 felt a little like a quick trip to India, albeit a goofy one, as the film was a subtitled musical that was, if you can imagine it, part Grease, part Patriot Games, and part rock video.

But sitting in a roomful of sari-clad ladies, I imagined that my husband and I were on a subcontinental sojourn. We'd chosen from movies in Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, and Telugu, and debated over buttered popcorn or samosas, from owner Venkateswarlu Muvva's eight-year-old Sunnyvale restaurant.

Sustenance was important, as the movie was three hours long. Muvva agrees that IMC6 flicks are a gala affair: "It's an event, coming to the movies here." IMC6 (shows Fri–Wed; from $5; 1433 The Alameda, San Jose; www.imc6.com or 408/830-9999). Banjara Restaurant (407 Town & Country Village, Sunnyvale; 408/737-9151).