Bollywood Roots 3: The Beatles go to Bollywood

So, finally, episode 3 of my video series is ready. This time on The Beatles and India– how India influenced The Beatles and The Beatles influenced Indian music. Our story begins in April of 1965, with The Beatles filming Help in an Indian restaurant (Video).

Bollywood Roots 3: The Beatles go to Bollywood from Devanshu Mehta on Vimeo.

It’s been a couple of months since the last episode. This one took a lot more research, a lot more video clips, and a lot more writing. But I think I am more satisfied with it as a short documentary than I was with the previous two.

[You can find more from this series in the Bollywood Roots section. Also, you can subscribe to my channel on YouTube. YouTube blocked this episode in certain countries, so this one may only be on Vimeo.]


Music Monday: I Google You

Fantasy fiction superstar Neil Gaiman and Dresden Dolls’ Amanda Palmer got engaged a few months ago. It’s the geek version of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

But a few years before Neil popped the question (right here in Boston, no less), he wrote these words:

I Google you
late at night when I don’t know what to do
I find photos
you’ve forgotten
you were in
put up by your friends
I Google you
when the day is done and everything is through
I read your journal
that you kept
that month in France
I’ve watched you dance
And I’m pleased your name is practically unique
it’s only you and
a would-be PhD in Chesapeake
who writes papers on
the structure of the sun
I’ve read each one

read the rest of the lyrics here

Amanda Palmer set it to song. It is the song for our times. Here are the two of them, with Palmer singing:

Munturiganji Kunjikyo

So, sticking with my thread of unearthing things that I wrote before I was of legal age to drink, vote or get married, here is the transliteration of the Malayalam portion of Jeeya Jale from Dil Se. Needless to say, I do not know any Malayalam. This is what it sounded like to me back then, as I faithfully recorded in my crazy notebook:

Monturiganji Kunjikyo, Undurimuttore chindikyo
Vanjarivannam Chudari vaave
Taanginnakka Takadhiniyaru Tanganivaave Hoi!
Tanga fur salle, kuru Pooivalle
Maaran Mai Ralle Hai!

Kuruvaadikiye Kuruvaadikiye
Ukkur gud gud Bhoovik Kurvi
Koonnadipakke Rooyiadi Kuddavaakine
Maarannine Koohikuvooki Kuttadikineye

This is not meant as disrespect to Malayalam. It is what I heard and faithfully recorded. I invite you to do the same with Gujarati (my mother tongue) garbas. It might be fun. Or funny.

Here is what the actual transliteration (and translation) is. I was close in parts, but in others, I wasn’t even in the ballpark. We weren’t even playing the same game:

Punchiri thanu konchiko
Give me a smile and lisp

Munthiri mutham chinthiko
Think of kisses as sweet as grapes

Manchani varna sundari vave
Oh sweet and beautiful girl

(no translation,it is a rythm)

Thakadhimi aadum thankanilave oye
Dance in the golden light.

Thanka kolusale
Like golden anklets

Koorkum kuyilalae
Like the cooing cuckoo

aadana mayilalae
Like the dancing peacock.

Oh kuruvani bird

Kukuru kurukuru kooki kuruki,kunnimarathil uyal adi
Making noise(kukuru kurukuru),Swinging on the kunni tree

Kodum orike kootu vilikunne
Is calling you after making the nest

Maran nine kooki kuruki kkotu vilikunne
Your lover is calling you again and again

My bad.

Music Pick: Mad Tom of Bedlam

This is a seriously catchy song. I heard it once on the radio (thanks again, WERS!) and *had* to know what it was. As I described last week, the discovery loop is shortened immensely– you can go from hearing a snippet somewhere to finding out the name to listening on YouTube to downloading it within minutes.

So- the song is called Mad Tom of Bedlam, and it’s based on a 17th century song. The lyrics are pretty much unchanged, but the tune is something Billie Holiday would have knocked out of the park 70 years ago. It’s by Jolie Holland.

These words have been spinning in my head for weeks now:

It’s well that we sing bonney boys
Bonney mad boys
Bedlam boys are bonney
For they all go bare, and they live in the air
And they want no drink nor money

Seven Best AR Rahman Songs You’ve Never Heard

I am an AR Rahman collector. I have close to everything he’s done in Hindi, and a lot of the other stuff too. Yes, even Love Birds. And Lakeer- Forbidden Lines. And yes, even the Hindi dubbed version of Duet, known as Tu Hi Mera Dil. Such a thing exists.

But there are a lot of AR Rahman songs that even his (northern) fans have not heard. Some movies did not get released, some were never heard north of the Deccan plateau. So– here are my favorite 7 AR Rahman songs that many people (even among his fans) have not heard, or are unfairly ignored:

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