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Bollywood Nights Indian Inspired Dinner Party Theme


Few can resist a good curry and a Bollywood inspired dinner party may be the most fun you’ll have this side of the Taj Mahal!


Bollywood is all about lively music, bright fabrics and an exuberant atmosphere. Let your guests know they can expect some fun and frivolity by sending out fabulous themed invitations.  Cut out elephant shapes from brightly coloured card in fuchsia, lime green and orange and adorn with beads, gold leaf and ribbons for real wow factor.  Inside, write something like:

Join us on a passage to India
Bring your best Bollywood style
On [date] at [time]
To [address]
The curries will be hot
But the beer will be cold!
RSVP to [host details]

Setting the scene

India is a land of great spirituality and symbolism, so ask your guests to slip off their shoes at the door and hand them a crysanthemum garland to get them in the mood from the moment they arrive.

Decorating and styling

Browse the world music section of your local CD store, pick up some sandalwood incense and candles, and visit a fabric store for a collection of sari material in hot pink, citrus lime and orange.  Use this fabric to drape your windows, walls, table, coffee table and even chairs.  You’ll be amazed how these few props transform your entertaining room.

For your table, buffet and serving areas, start with your sari fabric backdrop and then add your lavish accents.  If you don’t have brightly coloured tableware that suits the Bollywood theme (which is more than likely!) then set the table with your best cutlery and dinnerset, and then complement your theme with tea light candle holders in gold, fuschia, orange and green.  Tie your cutlery together in a collection of satin ribbons in the same colours, and rest them alongside Indian style tumblers.  Scatter a profusion of flowers in those same colours – think chrysanthemums, dahlias, hibiscus, waterlilies and rose petals for a luxe look.


Encourage your guests to dress up in Bollywood style, and then pull out all stops with henna tattoos and bindis for a bit of decorative fun.  And when everyone has had their fill of curry, turn up the stereo and transform them into Bollywood dancers!

Menus, catering and cocktails

Offer guests Taj-Mahinis made from cranberry and pineapple juice with a good dose of orange-flavoured vodka when they first arrive.  And then, naturally, serve Indian cuisine.  One of the best things about a Bollywood theme is that everyone, from meat eaters to vegetarians, can feast like a Mogul emperor!  And, best of all, curries are easy to prepare in advance.

Start with pappadams and a range of chutneys, before launching into a selection of mild and hot curries, served with naan bread and rice.  A simple ice cream, or kulfi, will cool down those taste buds.  And don’t forget the beer – while you may like to serve a selection of wines, curries really do work best with Indian beer!  You’ll be able to pick up authentic Maharaja or Elephant beer at your local bottle shop).  See more menu inspiration.

Favours and gifts

Send guests away with their own miniature elephant for good luck.  Wrap it in a swathe of left-over sari fabric tied up with the same style of ribbons you used to tie your cutlery.  Your guests will be talking about their passage to India for years to come!

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