I posted this without comment at first for the New Years surprise. But I think most of my few readers were out partying for New Years at the time when they might normally look at this blog, so they’re going to see it late anyway. Oh, well. I do think this is just the perfect New Years video. (I don’t understand a word that they’re singing, but she’s drunk off her ass as the clock strikes twelve…what esle could this be?)
The song is “Piya Tu Ab To Aaja” from the movie “Caravan.” The dancer is Helen, the most popular and famous Bollywood “vamp” dancer of all time (and I can see why, though in my obsessive viewing of these clips over the past few months, I have developed even more fondness for Jayshree T.). You can find a whole bunch of nice posts of Helen – and more than a few words about her – over at Bollywood Food Club.
As for the song itself, I think it’s great (thanks to Asha Bhosle and R.D. Burman). And the dancing is out of this world.
P.S. Checking Wikipedia, I see that this is “the story is of a runaway girl who joins a traveling Caravan of gypsies.” So we can fit it into the gypsy theme as well…
Also found via Pull Up The People… This is M.I.A.’s “World Town” set to Bollywood (and Kollywood) film clips. This is fantastic!
Sometimes I post items about music originating from a certain place to coincide with world events. Certainly, this was the case when I delved into Bangla music as Bangladesh was trying to recover from the cyclone. However, when I posted the latest item, about a singer who was born in the North-West Frontier of Pakistan, in the now-embattled area of Swat, I had no idea that a couple of hours later, I would see news that Benazir Bhutto had been assassinated. Bhutto was far from perfect, but this is still upsetting and disturbing news.
Not much else I can say right now, except… If this was done by fundamentalist terrorists, these are the people who are trying to bring about the kind of rule that would suppress the creative expression in music, dance, etc., that I have been supporting here (not to mention a whole lot of other things that they would stifle and suppress).
I am deeply opposed to those kinds of movements and the tactics waged to advance them, though I am also strongly opposed to G.W. Bush and dictators like Musharraf. It’s too bad that so many people feel they must support one oppressive. authoritarian force in order to oppose another. There aren’t many these days who feel they can even dream about creating a movement for equality, liberty, and real democracy.
But, anyway… Just had to say something in light of this unfortunate coincidence.
A couple of months back, I wrote a post on Nazia Iqbal, a singer from the North-West Frontier of Pakistan who is very popular in that area and in Afghanistan. That was a more traditional example of Pashto music (if I’m not mistaken), and this is something a bit different. Personally, I think it’s great that she’s branched out and is trying some kind of fusion, with a modern dance beat, etc. (Actually, it sounds much more Punjabi to me – which would make sense, I guess, if it’s based on an Indian song, as the notes at YouTube say – called “Ek Pardesi Meri Dil Legaya”). I also do appreciate her attempt at English. (People are saying it isn’t very good(?), but from my perspective…I’m simply charmed by the accent.)
Judging by comments at YouTube, some Pashtuns are quite offended at her departure from their tradition, not to mention the dancing. Personally, I think that’s really too bad (not that they would care about my opinion – I shudder to think what some of those same people would want to do to me, if they met me). And actually, I’m very glad we all have a chance to hear and see such fine Pashtun singers.
Regarding, the dancers, I would agree on another point, that maybe they’re not so great, but I think they liven up a bit more in this video than in others that I’ve seen – though that also seems to offend some people more (oh well).
I do think it’s strange that Nazia Iqbal would want to fill her videos with dancers who aren’t nearly as pretty as she is. But maybe those are just my standards. (And I guess the dancers are a little younger – maybe that’s part of the reason? Who knows…)
Anyway, I’ve enjoyed this one; I hope other people do too.
[P.S. Six months later, revisiting this post with a much more extensive Bollywood education… Of course it’s based on Ek Pardesi Meri Dil Legaya! That makes it even more amusing…
Thank you to the individual who informed me (well, actually informed a bunch of people) that December 24 is Mohammed Rafi’s birthday (born December 24, 1924). I think Rafi must be everybody’s farvorite male Bollywood playback singer ever. Looking at messages from people who are really involved in Indian music (and/or grew up on it), I see that some revere Rafi as a true “gift from God” (or even a god himself, the way a few people praise him). I don’t think I have the knowledge of vocal talents in this area to elevate him above everyone else in such a way, but I certainly do like the way he sings.
Rafi was in so many movies, it’s very hard to narrow it all down to one favorite or exemplary clip (even for someone like me who probably doesn’t know a fraction of all that’s out there). Instead, what I decided to do is just post the one that I feel like watching the most right now. And even that was a close decision, though I was certain about which movie it would be.
Among the soundtracks that came to mind, I really like the film Kohinoor (which, by the way, was made in 1960, before even I was born). I guess the classic from that is Madhuban Mein Radhika Nache Re, and it would make sense for me to post it, since I did post a clip of that song last month, being covered Bangla-style by Suzana Ansar. But there’s another song from that film and soundtrack that I’ve gotten to like even more… Like Stella_1 from Parties, Sarees and Melodies, I’ve developed the greatest fondness for “Tan Ragloji Aaj Man Ranglo.” This one doesn’t focus on Rafi’s voice completely the way the other one does, but I think that a duet between Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar can be even better than Rafi by himself, and I like the chorus too. And the film clip is so much fun to watch – what a festival!