Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I Love Desi 3: Go, Go!

Continuing the India 2010 retrospective is part 3, Go, Go! Not just go-go, but the thrill that makes you shout those words emphatically and repeatedly. Bollywood is filled with these moments, particularly in its cabaret numbers and action sequences. Here are a few that I came up on:

"Piya Tu Ab To Aja" (from Caravan)

The story of a woman on the run who joins a caravan. You know the music has to be good! Musically, this was my favorite find. End-to-end burners on this R.D. Burman score from 1971. The slinky and mysterious "Piya Tu Ab To Aja" is a load of fun. The slow burn intro makes way for an Afro-Cuban breakdown and Asha Bhosle yodeling "Hi-De-Ho!!" Or at least that's what I hear. It's a gradual burner with fun twists and turns to get you cha-cha-cha-ing or twisting in a drunken frenzy. No wonder by the end of the number Helen is ripping off her clothes. The Bollywood icon kills it with her Tammy Faye eyes and Liza-like hustle.

"Darogaji Chori Ho Gai" (from Gautam Govinda)

One of the three joints G&G picked up, and I had exceptionally high hopes for this one simply b/c it has G's name in the title. And Laxmikant Pyarelal did the score. The music is good, but hardly exceptional. So, I went with the old reliable: the romance joint. Asha Bhosle voices for Moushmi Chatterjee, as the Bengali actress' character lays her mack down on male lead Shashi "Inspector Gautam" Kapoor.

"Yeh Dil Na Hota Bechara" (from Jewel Thief)

S.D. Burman's Jewel Thief was the second find and fares much better. Overall the songs are cheeky and fun, a good match for the slickly-shot film (lots of great single-take tracking shots, particularly during the "Raat Akeli Hai" number)

The sequence itself is an amusing if dated meeting of past and present (convertible v. cows), East and West (uh, convertible v. cows). But the music is a pleasant ditty with Kishore Kumar showing off some yodeling in the intro.

"Disco Station" (from Hathkadi) (off some MP3 CD)

In the '50s there were songs with a train motif. In the '60s and '70s there were meta songs about specific "in" dances, e.g. "Do the ____" And in 1982 you could count on a Hindi film to re-imagine these stock tropes as a Frankenstein-stiff bustler like "Disco Station." Peep the borderline "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah" string breakdown @ 2:20.

The number runs long for my tastes, but then again this was meant to be a dance number. And the spectacle of lovers disembarking from a soul train as little people guide them to their markers helps move the number along.

"Cabaret Dance Music" (from Dharmatma)

The Feroz Khan film is another mega-hit from 1975 and the entire soundtrack is a beast. The Kalyanji-Anadji team stretch out on a set that includes everything from ferocious Pathani drumming to conventional romantic numbers like "Kya Khoob Lagti Ho" to the epic "Title Music," which Jaylib fans should be familiar with. The slinky, voodoo-inspired cabaret scene gets featured here as it's a primo slice of action-sequence muzack.

"Ae Meri Awaz Ke Dosto" (from Aamne Samne)

It's A Man's Man's Man's World strings, a drum machine electro beat and Moroder synths all within the first minute. This isn't the only R.D. Burman cut to do so, but shit if you're in your 40s and still adopting new technology to keep your music current.

"Duniya Men" (from Apna Desh)

How do you explain this latin-tinged garage go-go explosion? Just as such. Unsurprisingly, the Sun City Girls covered this. Peep the tracking shot @ 3:04. If only Russ Meyers had a bigger budget and worked in India. Oh, and the proto-Austin Powers album cover?

"Gambler In Danger" (from Gambler)

The third and best of G&G's finds. Gautam's cousin Taij smiled when she saw this, which was a quick tip of the film's relative popularity. Another all-around solid set from S.D. Burman on this 1971 film. But g-d if the interstitial music isn't more interesting. Ranging from spaghetti ("Gambler's Dilemma") to lounge ("Gambler Faces Another Problem") to this all-out action sequence burner.

Next up is the fourth and final part, Loosies...

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