Saturday, November 5, 2011

next earworm, I predict

This song and video come from a brand-new Bollywood movie called Ra.One, which opened at something like $34 million world-wide on October 26.  As well it should:  it's about videogames and has a lot of special effects and action sequences, flying the star around on a, the star is Shah Rukh Khan.  Bingo.  I thought the movie was a little stupid, and the blue contact lenses on SRK absolutely criminal, but this song is totally awesome:

"Chammak challo" translates into something in the neighborhood of "sexy babe," as far as I can tell.

Today's lesson in Bollywood films:  Bollywood actors rarely do their own singing.  This is not a secret in any way.  The actual singers, called "playback singers," get prominent billing in the film, and are stars in their own right.  Needless to say, most playback singers are Indian.  But I'm proud to say that "Chammak Challo" is sung by an American:

I have a feeling that Akon's had this song out for a while, but I only first heard it in the movie.  Mad respect for Akon.  He's great on this.

Needless to say, I seem to be getting more and more hooked on Indian films, and I am particularly fascinated by Amitabh Bachchan.  I found out a few days ago that he writes a really amazing blog.  And I believe I can finally pronounce his name properly, after a week or so of feeling like an ugly Westerner:  it's Ah-MEE-tahb Ba-SHAN.  But most Indians just refer to him as Amitabh, or Amitji, and call it a day.

I rewatched Slumdog Millionaire tonight.  I'd seen it a couple of days ago, but hadn't remembered until a friend reminded me yesterday that Amitabh had been the movie star whose autograph Jamal sought as a small boy. 

Don't you just love YouTube?  I just went there, right in the middle of writing this, and found a trailer that had the entire Amitabh scene.   

Life imitates film:  recently, on KBC (the actual Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?), a guy who earns around $120 a month won the top prize of 5 crore ("crore" is ten million rupees, if I've got that right, and I suppose 5 crore is somewhere around a million dollars).  And the current host of KBC is -- you guessed it, Amitji.  So I hunted it down on YouTube.  Call me crazy, but I watched the whole thing, almost 15 minutes (this was the time of the last question), which was about 85% in Hindi (or do we say Punjab?), and was riveted.  You can basically follow what's going on.  And if you're with me on this, Amitji's charisma just pops off the screen, as does a really warm personality.  I have no doubt that he really is that nice.  If you wanna be a hardcore Amitabh Bachchan fan, here's that clip:

I took a peek at my blog traffic before, and apparently one person from India came to visit.  Hi!

Doubt I'll ever actually learn the language, but I'm starting to learn some things about the culture and the history of India.  Watching Slumdog Millionaire again, I picked up on some things that I hadn't noticed before I started watching Indian films; for instance, I was very much aware of which characters were Hindi, which were Muslim, and noticed some Sikhs on a train.  Another thing about Bollywood films:  there are a lot of trains in them.  A lot of train station scenes.  Even in Kabhi Alveda Naa Kehna, which is set in New York, there are no subways or busses, but plenty of railroad scenes.  (They kind of vaguely indicate that the characters work or spend time in Manhattan, but live in Connecticut, so folks keep turning up in Grand Central Station.)  And I like it -- there's something romantic about trains.

I'm going to pretend I'm going to sleep now, but I may actually watch a couple more videos.

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