Love, Bollywood style
February 14, 2007 10:33 AM   Subscribe

It seems apropos today to post about Bollywood and its style of romance and love. Songs are often the equivalent of a bedroom scene, a fact I didn't believe until it was pointed out to me that there were numerous instances of extremely suggestive songs followed by pregnancy. Bollywood also uses songs to arouse patriotic fervour, a trait that master music director A.R. Rahman takes to new heights with his release of the classics Vande Mataram [Motherland, I salute thee] and Jana Gana Mana [India's national anthem]. But even before him, there were classics of public service advertising such as "Mile sur tera hamara..." a fuzzy video but inspiring nonetheless of the myriads of voices and languages spoken in India. Other loves that hindi cinema celebrates through its songs is that of a mother for a child, god, love across cultural boundaries and what is politely termed as "conjugal love".
posted by infini (31 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
this post is for nickyskye, hadjiboy, and everyone else who enjoys bollywood
posted by infini at 10:34 AM on February 14, 2007

Interesting post!!! Makes sense!
posted by nanapapa at 10:38 AM on February 14, 2007

Oo! Can I just link to my favourite song from Indian cinema? [Technically, it’s Kannada, not Bollywood, but whatev.]
posted by ijoshua at 11:16 AM on February 14, 2007

this link about protests against valentines day in india are a bit sad really
posted by infini at 11:47 AM on February 14, 2007

There's a Brimful of Asha on the 45.
posted by papercake at 11:51 AM on February 14, 2007

I've been away from MF for a while -- I come back and it's turned into YouTubeFilter. It seems over half of all posts are YouTube links. Which is fine I guess, but some people can't view them at work, and some would rather see a greater variety of interesting links to webpages / articles / flash games / the arts / etc.
posted by TreeHugger at 12:01 PM on February 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

And those people can look at another thread instead of pissing in this one.
posted by languagehat at 2:00 PM on February 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

this is good.

I don't udnerstand why some Mefites value video content below other types of content?
posted by subtle_squid at 2:42 PM on February 14, 2007

and TreeHugger Bollywood most certainly fits under your suggested subject "the arts"
posted by subtle_squid at 2:44 PM on February 14, 2007

At least the post has a lot of links and tries to make a point about's not like its a link to one cool video or something.

At any rate, thanks for the walk through infini. Having just returned from India (and from South India for that matter), where the social conservatism is both warm but also very traditional you can understand how Cinema of this sort flourishes. Its escapism in the truest sense.

But, Indian cinema is changing. Malika Sberawat and the like can be thanked for that. Another recent movie, KANK for short was basically about how marriage -- the sacred backbone of Hindu culture -- should for some people be optional in obeying its vows. (It was terrible, btw and the dissappointing thing about that movie was that the only thing Indian about it were some of the outfits and the food).

You can find some artistic gems in India too, but really the big point should be how cinema reflects that India is a big, boisterous democracy. Their cinema is a marketplace, where given some subversion, all ideas have fair play and the public get to decide if its good or not. I doubt in China this dynamic is even possible.
posted by skepticallypleased at 4:58 PM on February 14, 2007

skeptically pleased, your last point makes absolutely perfect sense to me. in the peak socialist/patriotic period, an actor called Manoj Kumar or "mr. bharat" came into prominence with a series of patriotic movies from the common man's point of view with very high flying themes of sacrifice for the country's future et al. There was a similar spate of movies in the fifties as well.

in India's complexity, movies and songs that evoke emotions are something that can travel the often insurmountable linguistic and cultural barriers amongs her diversity and multiethnicity.

India's not really a country in the sense China is, its closer to the concept of the EU in its spread of cuisine and language and culture from state to state.
posted by infini at 5:27 PM on February 14, 2007

yeh post bahut achcha hai! wah kya khoobsurat! dannyavad, infiniji
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:49 PM on February 14, 2007

Songs are often the equivalent of a bedroom scene, a fact I didn't believe until it was pointed out to me that there were numerous instances of extremely suggestive songs followed by pregnancy

How can you bring this up without linking to the most representative song - Hum tum ek kamre mein band hon aur chaabi kho jaaye*?

*You & me are locked in a room and the key is lost
posted by Gyan at 7:09 PM on February 14, 2007

Has the wet-sari-in-rain song been linked from Mr India yet?

(YouTube not possible right now for this office-wallah)
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:34 PM on February 14, 2007

*rolls eyes at the frontbenchers* heres the gratuitious item number.
posted by infini at 7:51 PM on February 14, 2007

though I prefer this one
posted by infini at 7:54 PM on February 14, 2007

* throws thums-up bottle into the stalls *

sometimes, when wallowing in a sea of subtlety such as this, it pays to be upfront and gratuitous, nahin?
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:08 PM on February 14, 2007

from the thums-up wiki link...*holy FUCK!*

i was catching the bus into Manmad, in Seuna-Desa (NW Maharashtra) & looking at that curious rock formation in the photo half-way down, on what turns out to be called, prosaically, Manmad Hill, & thinking "gee, that looks like the thums-up logo...they ought to somehow use it in their advertising..." (Indian bus trips make for all manner of useless mental meanderings)
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:15 PM on February 14, 2007

the copywriter of the old thums-up slogan was the goddamn son of *Krishnamurti*?!?

Hindustan pulls another crazy surprise out of its sleeve...

/derail, like the Frontier Mail
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:40 PM on February 14, 2007

That thums up article is insanely detailed. But I reckon you're thinking of J Krishnamurthi.
posted by dhruva at 8:49 PM on February 14, 2007

* slaps forehead *

Of course - I should have realised that India has crores of spiritual philosphers named Krishnamurti. It could have been any of them.

But yeh, Jiddah, as in Adyar, Annie Besant, the Theosophists & so on. Interesting story, btw. Mightn't make such a bad FPP if anybody has the time (I almost never do).
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:56 PM on February 14, 2007

Go on, you do it...maybe it'll make up for the glut of bollywood posts.
/bollywood hater
posted by dhruva at 9:14 PM on February 14, 2007

Coca-Cola soon introduced its cola in Tins which was all India rage

God bless Hinglish! I can just *see* a vigorous head-wiggle accompanying the final three words...

/Gujarat Mail
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:19 PM on February 14, 2007

oh come on, bollywood was just right for valentines day. I'll do something all serious next time...
posted by infini at 7:51 AM on February 15, 2007

absolutely, and the bollywood style is a nice contrast to all the gratuitous sex in western movies.

anybody who has read *midnight's children* will know all about the taboo against kissing in indian movies, thanks to the hilarious description of the off-screen romance in which the lovers passed a glass to each other & raised their lips to the exact same spot to drink.

more recently, i hear that in either Dhoom or Dhoom 2 there was an actual on-screen kiss! this is a momentous seismic change & i have no doubt that the earth's orbit has shifted slightly due to the combined effect of this kiss on over a billion desis.

i have yet to see the thing, and am wondering if it is the full tonguey snog, or one of those corny kisses you see in the old B&W western movies: lips pressed together earnestly, but with mouths firmly shut...?

an interesting side-issue is the effect that satellite tv has had on indian culture. bollywood has been resisting simple kisses, and meanwhile rupert murdoch has been beaming baywatch into bharat, and copping a lawsuit for obscenity as a result. just as henry kissinger cannot set foot in europe for fear of being hauled off to the slammer for human rights offences, so to can rupert never have his feet graced with holy cow dung.

and things are slowly changing. PDA (nothing pleases the Indian mind more than an acronym!), or "public display of affection" is on the rise! i was amused to see couples in every corner of the grounds around safdarjang's tomb in delhi, cuddled up, sari or chunri (spelling?) discreetly wrapped around them, indulging in a bit of not-so-subtly dry humping. in other places, the police have been known to take potshots at similar behaviour, upholding two of the pillars of Indian culture: sexual modesty & bizarre ultraviolence.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:41 PM on February 15, 2007

today is also international typo day, for those who didn't already know this.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:43 PM on February 15, 2007

btw, ubu old chappie, don't forget that every generation, and here my hinglish descends to levels of ToI pretentiousness, I say that every generation forgets the past and thinks they've discovered sex all over again.

Hello? why do we have a population of over a billion, people, get your heads out into the sunlight for a change.

Back in the day, when I was young, the mountains were still rising over the Himalayas, Shashi Kapoor kissed herself, Zeenat Aman in the scandalous Satyam Shivam Sundaram. Forget about the wet white sari sticking to every crevice scene under the waterfall, OMG, they kissed.

*rolls eyes at India*


that reminds, me "Dum maro Dum" anyone? ;p

Hindi movies have always pushed the boundaries of the tightly bound Indian social mores envelope, only its millimeters at a time per decade.
posted by infini at 2:18 PM on February 15, 2007

every generation forgets the past and thinks they've discovered sex all over again

jolly well said, old sport!

that reminds me of a funny quip i heard once: "there are only two groups of people in the world who we think of as never having sex: one's parents and one's children"

speaking of sport, i forgot to check what the venerable ToI had to say about Old Blighty's unimaginable straight 2-0 victory in the recent one-day finals, putting a stop the Australian Jagganath...apparently, the powers that be are also scheduling a lakh of ODIs between Bharat-mata & Kangaroostan over the next year or so, figuring that it's worth running the players into the ground to subject half a billion people to endless adds for Maggi Masala instant noodles.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:16 PM on February 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

you sound like a desi Wodehouse... omg do we all?
posted by infini at 3:40 PM on February 15, 2007

Hindi movies have always pushed the boundaries of the tightly bound etc

yes - those tightly bound thingies seem to be pushed to the very limits of their capabilities, especially with the recent crop of filmi actresses...
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:40 PM on February 15, 2007

It seems like "item girls" are achieving a much wider cultural acceptance now. I heard that it used to be they hired item girls to do item number scenes separately from major stars, because it would be the kiss of death for a star to do an item number. Now it seems the boundary is blurring. Some of the item girls are hot.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:37 PM on February 15, 2007

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