So here we are, ten years… As I mentioned in my ninth anniversary post, the blog wasn’t fully formed into the blog that it is now until about April of 2008, so you could say that it took a full nine months for this baby to be born. On the other hand, after a human baby is born, it will usually take nine months or more to reach the stage where it can start walking, and that analogy might be a better fit. It is a full decade since I made the announcement and opened up this space, and I am personally amazed that this amount of time has passed. So, although I have nothing else to post today (but will have something soon!), I just couldn’t let the day go unmentioned. Happy birthday, dear blog!
P.S. Did I say I had nothing else to post? I changed my mind. I started to go through the early posts of this blog, and then I decided to describe that evolution a little more, through highlights that I noticed. But I have no great desire to link to most of those highlights, especially since there are too many clips missing and there are a few more posts that I want to take down. (Plus, I don’t really have the time to put in links during the late night/early morning that I am writing this. But I may add some later – when this anniversary will already have passed.) Of course, a reader could also search through the archives, but I think that in most cases, I would prefer that they/you didn’t.
My first visible post on this blog that has content beyond an announcement is dated August 4, 2007, and it is about a song by M.I.A. (She was a musical artist whom I was very interested in when I started this blog, though I don’t care much for anything she does now. But I still give her credit for doing great things with samples from Indian film soundtracks, specifically on her second album, Kala, which came out shortly after this blog started. It was by tracing one such sample that I discovered Ilaiyaraaja.)
I think there were other posts near this blog’s beginning that I deleted, and there was some stuff that I took into “private” because it turned out not to fit at all. (Is that cheating? Actually, I think this is the kind of work that I should have done much more of over the years!)
For the next couple of months in 2007, this blog continued to be focused on eastern/western fusion artists, mostly either M.I.A. or Cheb i Sabbah.
In October of 2007, I wrote an extensive post about mujras. I wrote mainly about the contemporary mujras that I saw in Pakistani videos, but this led to a conversation in the comments section with Sitaji (Suzy) of Bollywood Food Club, and that is the point when I started venturing into the “Bolly blogging” community that I later got to know so well.
On November 25, 2007, I posted the song by Ilaiyaraaja that I had traced through M.I.A. (“Kattakkulle Mansukulle,” as I spelled it there.) [Note: Clip needs to be replaced. Will do that soon!] That appears to be my first post here of a clip from an Indian film.
On December 3, 2007, I posted about Parties, Sarees and Melodies, a blog from which I had been able to download quite a few soundtracks from 1950s Hindi films. (I sure do miss that one!)
On December 10, 2007, I posted this blog’s first Hindi film clip, a dance by Jayshree T. Then, a couple of days later, I posted another dance by Jayshree T.
During most of the rest of that December, I spent more time on contemporary fusion artists and also some time on Middle Eastern artists and belly dancers.
On December 24, 2007, I posted my first Golden Age Hindi film clip (which now has to be replaced), a song by Mohammed Rafi from Kohinoor. (I guess I should add that it wasn’t the one that most of you probably think of. I posted the Holi song, “Tan Ranglo Ji Aaj Man Rang Lo.”)
On January 5, 2008, I posted the great Padmini dance to the song “Mannavan Vanthanadi.”
On January 19, 2008, I wrote my post, “Fascination with Kerala.” At the bottom, I posted my second Padmini dance, “Aadal Kaniro.” (Yes, that’s Tamil, but I wasn’t finding Malayalam Padmini dances at this time. Besides, this is one of her greatest!)
On February 8, 2008, I reviewed the CD Rough Guide to Bollywood. (It was an OK reivew, but I have come a long way since then!)
March 2008 has an interesting mix of stuff… Cheb i Sabbah (again), Ilaiyaraaja, and Shobana (with references to Padmini).
In April 2008, along with posting about some contemporary stuff, I started to post more about a few of our favorite classic cinema dancers, Vyjayanthimala, Padmini, and Ragini.
On April 30, 2008, I posted about Shree 420. When I watched that film in April of 2008, I fell in love with it. This was the point of no return; this was probably the film that turned me into a complete, devoted fan of classic Hindi movies. (To clarify here, I had already been watching tons of Hindi and Tamil music and dance clips, but this was the point at which I would start heavily consuming entire films, becoming a bona fide Golden Age Bollywood blogger.)
I had been a fan of different forms of Indian music and dance for quite a while before, and I had gone through a significant phase in that respect a decade earlier. Some of that fondness, as I have mentioned, had been influenced by experiences and relationships (well, at least one anyway). But nobody whom I knew in person had recommended any classic Indian films to me (not even Hindi ones). I started looking at the film scenes online, then looked at some blogs and browsed a lot in the DVD stores in Jackson Heights (most of which stores no longer exist, alas). I picked Shree 420 off the shelf while browsing, took it home, and was surprised at how good it was. Then I went back to the stores and bought more and more DVDs (without spending a lot of money, because so many could be found for $3-$5, $7 at most). It’s that simple. For people who continue to ask me, there’s no great mystery behind my supposed expertise on old Indian movies. I liked some things, so I looked for more, and I got to like more. Though I did search out information and read a little as time went on, too (for the next nine-plus years)…