Bollywood Party Themes

Written by danielle hill
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Bollywood Party Themes
Throw a Bollywood party with authentic dress, food and music. (sari image by Westa Zikas from

For a lavish and unusual bash, throw a Bollywood-inspired theme party. Let the decor, food and costume all reflect Bombay's--today's Mumbai--rich film tradition. Use bold colours, elegant tapestries and an assortment of highly spiced Indian foods. Of course, no Bollywood fete would be complete without a well-chosen soundtrack of authentic music, from Bollywood musicals to traditional sitar music.

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Food and Drink

For a Bollywood party with authentic flavour, set out a buffet table with a range of traditional Indian dishes. Consult with speciality cookbooks such as Madhur Jaffrey's "Quick & Easy Indian Cooking" for an introduction to the cuisine. General cooking websites, such as, also provide a range of popular Indian recipes. A few sure crowd-pleasers include saag paneer, made of spinach and cheese; curries made with lamb, chicken, fish or seafoods; tender, spiced lentils; aromatic basmati rice; nan bread; and sweet mango chutney. For a dessert or a sweet drink, serve mango lassis, made from a blend of fresh mango purée and plain yoghurt. Other drinks may include the fusion-inspired "Bolly Nog" or "Bolly'tini," made with Chai tea, milk, cream, rum and spices.

Decor and Dress

Let India's tradition of exquisite textiles and colours inspire your decorations. Look for a few inexpensive sheets or throws to hang on the walls or drape over furniture. Use a varied palette with many rich colours such as saffron yellow, turquoise, lavender or deep paprika red. Look for carvings or statues that evoke Indian culture and tradition, and place them along the buffet table. Decorate with bouquets of boldly-coloured flowers such as chrysanthemums, orchids or fake lotus blooms. Invite guests to wear Indian-inspired clothing. Look for local Indian clothiers or inquire about saris at costume shops. For an extra treat, hire someone to paint traditional henna tattoos on guests' hands. If you have an artistic streak, consider buying henna online and using guides and stencils to paint the tattoos yourself.


For a party that really channels the spirit of Bollywood, prepare a playlist that includes soundtracks from some of Bollywood's biggest hits. Check out Bollywood classics like "Kashmir Ki Kali" (1964), "Aradhana" (1969), "Awara" (1951) and "Zubeidaa" (2000). For a general introduction, consider a CD compilation with songs from multiple Bollywood musicals. If you prefer traditional Indian music, select from one of Ravi Shankar's widely-available recordings. For an Indian-inspired collection of chill-out and fusion, try either Claude Challe's "Buddha Bar" compilation or Soulfood's "Indian Groove."

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