A Crash Course on Bollywood
In our November magazine — The Global Issue — WRIR radio show host DJ Carlito is featured for his monthly Bollywood dance nights at Cous Cous in the heart of VCU’s campus. To get a better understanding of the Indian entertainment form that has consumed him and that he shares with Richmonders, we asked DJ Carlito, aka Carl Hamm, to give us a quick video tour of the foreign-film genre. Here, we turn it over to our guest DJ for a quick tour of Bollywood via YouTube. —The editors.
From DJ Carlito:
This is probably the best primer course on Bollywood that I could put together at the drop of a hat — and this is only a sampler of songs, scenes and trailers of India’s very prolific film industry.
Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na is a hugely popular newer movie.
Where's the Party Tonight is a good example of modern Bollywood dance music.
Sukbhir, Punjabi MC and Dalher Mehndi are just a few awesome Punjabi artists.
A good example of a newer Indian hit is Kismat Connection.
Another film, Dus, was also quite popular recently, in the past few years.
Some remakes have brought back classic Bollywood films such as Don (find its original below), starring Sharukh Khan, and Karz (also below but now called Om Shanti Om, also starring Sharukh).
Other new hits include Boys, a recent Tamil movie.
One thing about India’s movies: Bollywood cranks out more films than Hollywood, so it’s near-impossible for me to keep up with the most recent movies.
But to have a frame of reference here are some of the all-time classics that I would recommend people watch first — the ones that got me hooked. (And the older movies show more traditional Indian culture and less of the more modern urban vibe.)
Pakeezah, a poetic, heartbreaking romantic epic tragedy. It was Meena Kumari's last movie.
Baiju Bawra (an earlier Meena Kumari film — she was truly the best and her life was a tragic story too.)
Here is my favorite classic Indian song from 1955's Seema.
Satyam Shivam Sundaram is beautiful, very spiritual and utterly poetic. This song was covered by Thievery Corporation on their latest album, The Cosmic Game.
For all-time classic action movies, I suggest Sholay (also here) , and Don (also here).
And check out Bollywood’s assimilation of the disco era: Karz (above as Om Shanti Om); Hum Kissise Kum Naheen and Disco Dancer (this song was covered by M.I.A.).
To see the East-meets-West ‘60s vibe, check these out:
Yaadon Ki Baarat (also here) and Purab aur Paachim.
My all-time favorite actress is Smita Patel because she portrayed women in a new light. Unfortunately, she died in her 30s after childbirth. Along with another actress, Shaban Azmi, Patel was known for being a more political actress in her early career, playing in "art films" as they were classified in India. Here's Mirch Masala where she fights her pursuers with hot pepper powder.
Thanks for letting me share my appreciation of Bollywood and the Indian culture —DJ Carlito