Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bollywood Interlude #1

I’ve been noticing for a while that some bloggers can post a video clip with a single line caption and get more comments in the space of a few hours than I can in a week. (How do they do that? Hypnotism? Nepotism? Or have they simply made a pact with The Devil?) I don’t think I can be so terse, as you lot are after all my only source of conversation about the arts, etc, and my only way of getting things off my chest :-) I will try to post some short posts, however.

Mrs Dilo and I like Bollywood, classic Bollywood, that is: she because it was allowed by Ceauşescu during the communist years (many Romanians are fans), and me because it reminds me of parties with my Indian friends in the UK (yep, really dancing like in the video below!) First Bollywood interlude is a homage to “playback” singer Mohammed Rafi; his voice may not be as perfect as that of Kishore Kumar, who became his main rival, but it has a warmth and urgency that I like. Here's Nain Milakar Chain Churana from the 1967 film Aamne Samne, arranged by the legendary R. D. Burman, outrageously big band and featuring (it sez here) a Chuck Berry guitar shuffle. I do hope you enjoy it. Rock on!

17 comments:

Ghanshyam Nair said...

What do you mean 'not as perfect as Kishore Kumar'? Rafi's voice is the perfect voice.
Do listen to his songs from the late 40s through to the mid- and late-60s, which is basically Hindi film (let's not call it Bollywood, shall we) music's golden age.

Gaw said...

Magic - a few moves for me to try out at the next Rotary Club dinner-dance. Have you tried BBC Asian Network?

Pat said...

Ever since I saw the film 'The River' as a young girl I longed to go to India and when I did eventually I was not disappointed.
I wonder if your wife enjoyed Slumdog'?
Listening to one of the songs you linked reminded me of my other much loved country Greece.

Madame DeFarge said...

(so you've noticed that too, huh?). Not a film genre to which I have much exposure, but it look jolly good fun anyway.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Great fun, thanks. I shall try those moves on the bus coming home tomorrow.

Lulu LaBonne said...

I adore this, but that Rafi does a lot of women bothering doesn't he.

This is my favourite from that era

Gorilla Bananas said...

The great Cow Ste Tung has a blog devoted to Bollywood, but he hasn't updated it for at least a year. Maybe you could coax him out of retirement,

Gadjo Dilo said...

Nairji, great to have you here! Hmm, I think Kishore's voice is more polished and more "complete", but - like you, it seems - I prefer Rafi's (see, I preferred to make a homage to the latter, not to the former!). Certainly, I'll call it "Hindi Cinema" if you tell me that's the better name for it (though what will, for instance, the Tamil-language film-makers in Chennai say to that?).

Gaw, a Rotary Club should be the ideal place to perform "eccentric dancing", as it used to be called! I doubt I can get BBC Asian Network here any more than I can get the cricket.

Pat, you've been to India? It is indeed a fascinating country, albeit sometimes challenging for the tourist. Yes, Slumbog was something of a masterpiece in my humble opinion. Ah, then I'll have to post some Greek stuff if there's an audience here for it :-)

Madame, yes, I'm still pondering on the max. no. of comments for min. personal effort conundrum. You're an accountant, kinda, please help me.

Kevin, you might make a lot of friends on the bus if you did a few moves - there must be some wannabee Hindi film stars in your part of the world who are just dieing to show off what they can do!

Lulu, I think that may have been his father, generally known as "Raffish". Ahh, it seems you're a fan too: that's an excellent one, with even better dancing!

Bananas, "Cow Ste Tung"?? I must meet this man, yes, he must not be allowed to retire!

Alice Scradcza said...

There are a lot of very fine welders coming from India. Many worked in Louisiana and helped that region recover from Hurricane Katrina.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Alice, is that true? Or are Katrina and the Welders a Lithuanian indie-pop band??

Ghanshyam Nair said...

Gadjo-ji (that's a hell of a difficult thing to say),
I'm from Chennai, incidentally, and here, we refer to the Tamil movie industry as Kollywood (K for Kodambakkam, which is the part of Chennai that housed all the major studios in the past).
Similarly, there are Tollywoods, Lollywoods and even, most imaginatively, Sandalwood - which refers to the Kannada film industry in the state of Karnataka, which has some of India's biggest Sandalwood forests.
And we all tend to get a bit aggrieved that the West bunches all of us into that big Bollywood umbrella.
As for Rafi, do listen to this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LjF6yjrgYU
It's got the warmth, thought not the urgency, of the song you put up. This song, effectively, catapulted Rafi to the top of the Hindi music charts. The second stanza that starts with 'tadap rahe hai hum yahaan,' I think, is what I'll play to anyone who asks, "who's this Rafi dude?"
(I'm at work, where streaming video is blocked, so I trust this is the original and not a cover version).

Gadjo Dilo said...

Nairji - I'll keep on calling you that unless you tell me not to - that's a nice song, more soulful indeed. I guess I should really use the phrase "Indian cinema" to include all the Indian "-woods"! I intend to post soon on Asha Bhosle vs. Lata Mangeshkar - I could some enemies here ;-) - and on Helen Richardson.

Ghanshyam Nair said...

You can call me whatever you want, Gadjo-ji.
Ooh. Asha and Lata. I can't wait to read that one.
Have you heard Geeta Dutt, by the way? Her voice did mischief better than anyone else.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Nairji, yes indeed, the Helen clip I want to show is from the film Howrah Bridge with Geeta Dutt herself providing the singing :-)

Ghanshyam Nair said...

Ooh! Mera naam chin chin choo, I assume?

John said...

Good post, and I'm glad you like Rafi! I like music of all sorts, but like millions of other people, I consider Rafi to be the greatest singer to come out of the Indian subcontinent.

I have to say though that I don't agree with your "not as perfect as Kishore" comment for Rafi's voice. That's a simply hilarious and inaccurate comment, and the first time I have heard that!

You must know that Kishore was not even considered by music directors for more than 2 decades mainly because of this voice and lack of training. Many of them considered his voice as completely unsuitable for singing. Kishore could sound constipated, hoarse, and cheapen many a song. Yes, he became successful later on, but success is not always proportional to quality. No doubt that Kishore was talented, but voice was not his greatest strength.

Just sample the top 500 songs of both Rafi & Kishore, and you will realize how much superior Rafi was in almost all aspects of singing including the tonal voice quality, and the ability to modulate the voice.

Anyways, sample this live Rafi performance of one of the greatest compositions in Bollywood history. Hope you like it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QFyW5Hhxd4

Gadjo Dilo said...

Nairji, oh yes it is, and I've just posted it so get yourself over there!

John, nice to have you with us. My opinion was formed as a result of of living with a Bengali guy in the UK for 3 years and he had lots of Kishore's music. I got the impression that he had a very accomplished voice that could sing in a variety of styles, but I never liked it. Then I heard Rafi later and thought his voice to be much more likable, but I didn't hear such a variety of his music so I considered that he was a less accomplished singer than Kishore. The Bengali guy then married a (Bengali) girl who is an expert on Hindi cinema and when I told her about my preference for Rafi she said (and this seems very odd now) that "it would have been good to have seen what he could have achieved"! Maybe they are simply nationalistic Bengalis or maybe they didn't like that Rafi was a practising Muslim who made hajj. I don't know - I'd be happy to hear your opinion on this.