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Classic Cinema
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Bollywood movies are in Hindi, which is the main national language of India.Most people speak it to a degree, although maybe not that well in places like Tamil Nadu, which has a big political movement against Hindi,which is seen there as a Northern imposition. Most people in cities speak some English, but not everyone is fluent.Still, it looks cool to speak English, so a lot of Bollywood movies include English phrases like "Better luck next time" and "Rock and roll, man!"
Since it's in the nature of escapist entertainment to be fascinated with the rich,a lot of Bollywood movies, especially these days, are about Indians who have struck it rich in England or America. A lot of the time, they come back and realize that they need India,and girls wearing skanky Western clothes often put on a sari or a salwar-kameez and show their true nature as good Indian daughters.
Here we have compiled a juxebox
consisting of what we feel
are some of the best cover songs
to come our way in a while.
If you like what you hear,
we have also embedded
several other playes throughou the site
for your listening pleasure.
LISTEN to Pop/Rock
LISTEN to Cover Songs
The film industry in Bombay, which is now called Mumbai for reasons which have more to do with regional and religious intolerance than with anticolonialism, is the biggest in the world. It makes almost double the number of movies and sells a billion more tickets each year than Hollywood. There are big industries in other areas of India, producing a lot of movies in local languages, especially Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada, but most of the time, the quality is lower (and Bollywood itself is already famous for making a lot of stinkers) and the number of mustachios higher. The main exception is West Bengal, where the Indian intelligentsia are centered in Calcutta (now Kolkata), and where some art movies are made, notably by Satyajit Ray (d. 1992). The Indian theater and literature scenes are also mostly in Calcutta, although Bombay and to a lesser degree, Delhi and Madras (now Chennai) also have stuff going on.


All these other industries are involved with Bollywood, though. Often, actors and actresses will get recognized because of their work in regional cinema, and sometimes movies are made bilingually. For instance, Asoka was produced in both Tamil and Hindi and despite starring Shah Rukh Khan and Kareena Kapoor, both big-name Bollywood stars. Actually, I think the Tamil version of "San Sanana" is better than the Hindi one, but I couldn't download it, and I only have a tape. The most famous composer these days, A.R. Rahman, is Tamil, but now writes the music for some huge number of Bollywood movies, as well as Tamil movies.


Having music by a famous composer like Rahman or the Kalyanji-Anandji duo, who were roughly his '70s equivalent, is as likely to make a movie a hit as having big stars, because of how much Indians love their movie music. Every movie has five or ten song-and-dance numbers scattered throughout its three hours, during which the stars lip-sync and dance, Busby Berkeley-style, to songs prerecorded by famous playback singers. The most well-known are Asha Bhosle, her sister Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar. Supposedly, Lata has sung in almost 20 languages for over 1,825 films, worked with 165 composers, and made 8,000 recordings overall, more than anyone else. Sometimes the songs in a movie are related to the actual action, but not always in any obvious way. Speaking of action, virtually all Bollywood movies contain the same elements, but in different proportions. They all have romance (but you almost never see a kiss), comedy and action, and often overt patriotism, sometimes to the detriment of Pakistan. These days, though, a lot of movies try to be pacifist and promote harmony.