Posted in Film

More “Item Songs” in Bollywood mean India is getting raunchy then ever!

“An item number or an item song in Indian cinema, is a musical performance that has little to do with the film in which it appears, but is presented to showcase beautiful dancing women in very revealing clothes, to lend support to the marketability of the film” Wikipedia definition

For those reading this post, who have little or no knowledge of Indian Cinema (now referred to as Bollywood), you will be pleased to know that by the end you will have learnt something new, the growing trend of “Item Songs”.  This is not a history lesson in Indian Cinema, but merely my observation and the bravery (or stupidity) of directors to gradually push the boundaries

As a young lad, I recall sitting with my parents watching Bollywood movies (nothing wrong with that) and left wondering why a certain women would do a song sequence and then never appear in the rest of the film.  I recall that at that time, it was Helen who was the most popular women to appear in these so-called Item numbers.  Now Helen never looked like your typical Indian filmi chick, why, because firstly she was not full-blooded Indian and secondly she had apparent brown hair that was very continental looking.   The images below may support my observation.

I have to admit that watching Helen back then was just what a growing boy like me appreciated, something to catch the eye, get the chemicals flowing (steady on potato).  However, Helen was very elegant and graceful in her performance, she kept her dignity.  Also, she suited performing the “item number” sequence, it was just so her.  To those new, here’s a glimpse, to those experienced like me, here’s a quick trip down memory lane:

 

 

 

 

Recently the flood gates have opened in terms of “item songs” and what’s more interesting is how raunchy they have become and how they are being performed by reputable actresses within the industry. 

Back in 1993 when I was in India, I recall there was a widespread ban on the song Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai from the film Khalnayak.  The ban was the result of female college students up and down the country complaining about their male counterparts singing the song to them in a very provocative manner.  I saw the movie when I came back and had to admit it was so gracefully pulled off by the fantastic Madhuri Dixit.  It was however, the start of things to come.

When I went to India just this February, the most popular song on the dance floor was “Chikni Chameli”, from the movie Agneepath.  Now I hadn’t seen the video to this song but instantly fell in love with the song [singing it now].  When I saw the video, I was amazed, some of the dance moves and close up shots were a little naughty, see for yourself.

In today’s climate, I would say that the past consistency of Helen has now been replaced by the very popular Malaika Arora.

You can look past a nation which openly illustrates a passion pushing the boundaries in a legitimate way, for it’s all there above the surface and the inhabitants are very open about it all.  However, there is something very sinister about a nation who does not tolerate the freedom to express one’s body and emotions in public, but fuelling those burning passions through their film industry.

So here’s to all those street traders, rickshaw drivers, 3-wheeler drivers, foot-path rouges, gunda-Don’s who line up the front seats of the cinema hall, whistle and dream to their hearts content at the Indian beauty strutting her stuff across the screen while being watched with hungry eyes.

 Here are some picks from 2011 and 2012, you will see a common theme.

Posted in Travel

India – Industrial Monster in a hurry

Note: This is not an exhaustive read, my views are independent and based on 5 days and 6 nights in the Motherland

“So when’s the last time you went to India?”

“What!”

“The country has much changed my friend; you are in for a shock”.

Continue reading “India – Industrial Monster in a hurry”

Posted in Travel

India – In my Snippets

After a week of fast track travelling, attending farm-house weddings and eating so late that breakfast was literally round the corner, I touched down in snowy UK on Wednesday 8th Feb.  India has changed, India hasn’t changed, if you know what I mean, but I will leave that conversation for my next post, which is more my narrative on my experience.  For now, please enjoy some snippets I captured via my camera during my short week in India.

The ever reliant Ambassador
I didn't even have to direct this security guard, his pose was like a pro, he's done this before
We had 20 suitcases between 8 of us so in came what looked like an animal transporter
Privilige Card system based on Costa Coffee
After touch down in Delhi we visited Bangla Sahib Gurdwara, a beautiful place
Food supplies being loaded onto the Shatabdi Express, our train to Amritsar at 7am
Car pollution is rife in Amritsar
My first glimpse of Harmander Sahib (The Golden Temple) - very peaceful
Harmander Sahib situated centrally, our guide gave us background on the grand design
Sewadars (helpers) preparing food, couple of thousand eat here each day
 
Me, 2nd from left, with wedding boy, my bro and family
 
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In our Wedding Day glad rags (Me, Brother-in-Law Jon, my younger bro)
Wedding Day Band at the ready
Our driver and his family
Wedding Day Bhangra Band, these guys were very jolly, if you get giving them the green
On my day off - Health & Safety would have a field day here
Posted in Travel

A trip to the Motherland– India

Image Courtesy of http://www.unep.org

Click….type……click……type some more……input details…..click to submit…..check notificationsave e-ticket.”

1993 was the last time I graced the soil of India, I recall getting off the plane in July and being hit by a heat wave.  To make matters worse, I was wearing a suit jacket so the passport remained safe.  The car journey from the airport was a struggle, I had orange juice from a carton but it was hot.  My trip then was unplanned and more a cause of duty, the mood was not great however I learned a lot and my mother and I managed to visit Sri Hemkunt Sahib.  This was a journey I would never forget, an experience totally overwhelming.

This February I make the journey back to India for a family wedding.  I am excited because there are so many family members I have not seen for so long, I was 16 then, much older now and much wiser (I think).  On the other hand I have been grumpy too as my wife and kids cannot make the wedding as kids are at school and they have strict guidelines for pulling them out.

So it’s going to be a 7 day trip, 4 days of that the wedding, 1 day in travelling and hopefully 2 days off to rest/sight-see.

The last I was there, toilet rolls had still not surfaced the ground, I hear India has changed a little since then?

Posted in Travel

Sunday Stroll into London – The Golden Temple Exhibition

With the rising sun on a Sunday morning yesterday, we decided to venture into London and go see the The Golden Temple of Amrtisar Exhibition at Brunei Gallery, near Russell Sq.  The Golden Temple is the Sikhs most sacred place of worship , located in India, in the City of Amritsar.

The kids were more excited than us because they also got to ride on the high-speed train and watch the world zoom by.  If you ever travel to Russell Square underground station, my one stern word of advice is that you NEVER attempt using the stairs, there are 175 steps in total and we foolishly climbed them all.

Anyway, while spending nearly 20 minutes looking for the gallery, which was only a 5 minute walk had we taken the correct turn, we were not disappointed.  Here are a few snippets from the gallery itself, the exhibition is made up of old pictures, paintings and collectables from the 16th – 19th century.  Exhibition ends on Sunday 25th September, it’s free so if you have time, venture down.

Body armour warn by Sikh Soldiers

 

Gutka (Small Prayer Book) in it's original form
(My photo of a) Photo of The Golden Temple, dated 18th Century

 

(My photo of a) Photo of one of the entrances to The Golden Temple
(My photo of a) Photo showing The Golden Temple sitting peacefully within a busy City.
All the kids were encouraged to draw/write something and pin up on the wall as part of a competition