From Bombay to Bollywood: The Making of a Global Media Industry (Postmillennial Pop)

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Until the last couple of decades, depending on where you lived, you could be aware something existed, but have little hope of ever getting to hear it. My first confrontation with this frustrating reality came in the form of the amen break when I was in high school. Before I knew what to call it, all I knew was that it was the refined substance of cool for me and it could be found in fleeting moments of tracks on the compilation CDs I bought at the Borders in Lake Oswego.

Elektronika II was one of my first exposures to breakbeat music. During my junior year of high school, I was fortunate to have access to an unrestricted computer with high speed internet on a university campus. Youtube, soundcloud, and the like did not yet exist, but the media was losing its mind over something called Napster which they said was on track to destroy the recording industry. The problem with Napster was that, for the most part, all it did was proliferate the distribution of the same boring music that I could just as easily hear by turning on a radio.

You had to know what you were looking for was called, and I only knew what it sounded like. After years of combing the 5-dollar bins and in-store demos and recycling the releases I could part with for store credit at Ozone Records and Everyday Music, I was suddenly able to hear the treasures hidden within many of the and dollar import CDs that had always enticed me but could never justify substituting for 3 or 4 used discs.

Postmillennial Pop Series

More importantly, there were tunes I never knew existed. Rips of limited-edition vinyl already sold out worldwide. Recordings of British pirate radio. The Napster logo. Encoding at kilobits per second, the standard in the era of dial-up, you can fit about mp3s on a MB CD at about 4 minutes per track. In countries where informal markets for music are actually viable, it must have been a game changer. This was 4 and half long hours from the capital, and even further from nearest town of any size across the border in Mexico. Very much on the last copper mile. Nobody was going home after work and downloading an mp3 in a few seconds.

Buying one of these CDs you are almost certain to get at least some files with bad id3 tags or no tags at all.

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Anybody who has dug into one of these beauties knows the experience of browsing the thing and finding some proportion of the files named after one or two words from the chorus, often misspelled, and containing tags for artist, title, comment, and so on set to something like somosdelbarrio. Sometimes there are skips or pops in the playback, or files encoded at 64kpbs , a level of quality that is comparable to AM radio. Sometimes people are pretty quick to point fingers.

Please, correct me on this point if you have any evidence.

The choreographed Indian-inflected bellydancing, the shots panning up and down the bed, the same use of the same parts of the Lata song, the same overlayed drum patterns, the mutual use of melodies unrelated to the Lata original — all suggest that one came first. Elsewhere, Quik has described it himself in the following manner , which seems to square —. I went back in there and looked at the TV — there was a girl on there bellydancing, just like real fly. So I pushed record on the VCR. This original remake was highly popular amongst the youths in South Asia, though it was almost non-existent within the West due to the language barrier.

The first version was therefore only deemed popular to a specific niche market and culture. Other Indian elements—such as henna hand designs and head movements characteristically used in Indian dance—are freely mixed with Middle Eastern elements—most apparent in the profusion of belly dancing. An indulgent fantasy space is thus created through the collapsing of two or more distinct cultures—an action that denies an accurate reference to the geopolitical origins of the Mangeshkar sample, yet at the same time pays homage to the eclectic fantasy sequences so common to the Bollywood cinema.

Belly dancing is seductive, not just because it is sensual or titillating, but because it lures viewers into a liberal Orientalism that evades the violence of U. Her routine may be a hodgepodge, as a lot of bellydancing is, but it certainly seems to contain elements related to bellydance — at least to my amateur eyes expert opinions welcome.

Bollywood is like a USA for Asian Artist - Pakistani Media

For Chris Fitzpatrick, a former features editor popmatters , it would seem so. Double, R. Kels , Fitzgerald argues that —. DJ Quik produced the song, sampling traditional Hindi music.


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Although the track is centered on sounds from India, the video features choreographed belly dancing: a Middle Eastern dance form. I ask because charges of cultural imperialism — whether overblown, reflexive, or sincere — can distract us from some of the more positive politics of culture on both sides of the fence you make a border real by policing it. Although an argument about musical mimesis — whether we want to call it copying, allusion, or influence — arguably extends to all instances of performance and production, it merits emphasis that in genres such as hip-hop and filmi the incorporation of previously recorded riffs, rhythms, and all manner of musical material is especially essential to the creative process and often crucial to the production of meaning in moments of reception.

Dancehall too.


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  • One review of the riddim notes that its appearance accompanied several other eastward-looking productions a trend that I discuss in a piece I penned a few years back for XLR8R on Jamaica and the War on Terror :. Back to filmi. No one well acquainted with the filmi tradition would deny that it too is an inherently intertextual genre, and composers have long drawn from local folk, classical, and pop music as well as the folk, classical, and pop traditions of the wider world.

    And the same could be said for just about any Bollywood composer.

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    Lahiri is no exception. Judge for yourself. A lot of this is, of course, nothing more than mental hand-wringing. For despite the occasional chilling effect brought on by a lawsuit, culture continues to make copies. Or to put it another way, people do. Add your birthday. Buy it Again. Make sure to buy your groceries and daily needs Buy Now.

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    From Bombay to Bollywood

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