Sunday, March 26, 2006

Bollywood Hollywood

Have you ever sat down in a theater and then the movie starts and you're wondering if you're in the right place? Went to see Inside Man today. It's about a bank heist in NYC. Clive Owen, Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster. So, I was certainly not expecting the opening scene -- clips of NYC -- to be accompanied by 'chaiya chaiya.' Yup, the SRK-Malaika train-top song from Dil Se.

Very very weird. Though, it was amusing to be able to pick out all the desis in the audience in the dark. They were the ones bobbing up and down in time to the music and giggling and whispering in surprised undertones (not unlike us. I tell you, the beat's infectious!)

Anyway, then the movie continues and two hours, ten minutes later, the credits roll with... chaiya chaiya remixed by Punjabi MC. The whole thing was such an anomaly. There was nothing remotely desi about the movie. There was one Sikh guy in a minor role. That's it. There was a huge song-movie disconnect.

So, I've been searching the internet trying to find an explanation. Grady Hendrix (Asian Film blog writer for seems to think it's because Spike Lee loves Dil Se.

Ok, well still, it was a strange choice. And now I can't get the tune out of my head.


At 2:11 PM, Blogger Mangs said...

come come live in lajpat nagar. our back verandah is REVERBERATING with similar hotstepping numbers. yech.

At 1:10 PM, Blogger Gaurav said...

Thats funny. I wasn't planning to check out the movie but I might. Last time I heard a hindi song in an English movie was Moulin Rouge (Chamma chamma). That one was bad, I hope this one is better. Maybe this is the way the movie should have been marketed to Indian diaspora :))

At 11:36 PM, Blogger rhea said...

mangs: aww..come on! you know you can't resist the beat! (but i admit, i might tire too if it was 24/7)

gaurav: the movie was pretty good. i mean, i liked moulin rouge, i have to confess, but inside man was good in a whole different way. the song, tho, has absolutely nothing to do with the movie this time whereas in MR, it served a purpose.

At 9:28 AM, Anonymous ravi said...

Spike Lee in a recent interview

What about the music sequence at the beginning and at the end of the movie? Why that choice?

Well here’s the great thing about New York and all types of music. I’m a professor at New York University’s graduate film school; I’ve been a professor for the last eight years. One class we were talking about musicals, and one of my students suggested I see some Bollywood. I knew about it but I had never seen a Bollywood film. So I said, “Name one!” She said, “Dil Se.” Next class she gave me the DVD, I liked the movie very much. That song, ‘Chaiyya Chaiyya,’ is in Dil Se. So, I made a promise with myself that one day I’d like to use it. So one day we did a song with Terence Blanchard, our composer, then we got Punjabi MC to do the rap, so that’s how that happened

At 11:54 PM, Blogger rhea said...

thanks, ravi! trust you to always have the dirt on the music scene!


Post a Comment

<< Home