BollySynth is Madhuri Mania

30 Aug

Throughout the promotion for Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle kept talking about Bollywood’s (and thus India’s) love of the disco. And while its absolutely true that disco has had a long and storied life in Bollywood music as does rock, latin, hiphop and (God help us all) rap, I kept wanting to yell out, “Nahin! Yeh jhoot hai!”

How strange, I thought to myself. Why do I object to his stating a fact? Perhaps it’s only a fraction of a larger fact, but that doesn’t make it any less true. It was then I realized that what was really bothering me was that a canon of sorts was being created in front of me: that of Bollywood Disco, Beloved. Whereas any and every child who emerged unscathed from the enervating 80s with their long line of revenge dramas, rape fantasies, dastardly crime villains who wanted to see India go boom for the sheer pleasure of it and other good stuff, knows that the only thing that kept Bollywood afloat and safe from sinking into a pit of toxic bile was the discovery of synthpop.

Yes, synthpop – that peppy genre of music created by musicians drunk on the possibilities of electronic music, relics of which are now drunkenly sung in karaoke bars around the world for a bit of a friendly giggle. Our savior.

I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve seen more than my fair share of 80s movies (I’m not sure but I think it may count as time served in the karma stakes) because our neighborhood cable-wallah prided himself on being very up to date in the piracy department, but there is hardly a movie in that lot that I would willingly watch again. Well, maybe if you broke out the drinkies. But the music has stayed with me.

At odd times in my life, I would find myself humming a song and realize with a shock that it was a Mithun Chakraborty number I’d probably heard once before. Do not judge me! You have done the same, I’m sure! You probably had a gold lame outfit to go with it too. [Digression: You know, someone really should dress up as Mithun in Disco Dancer or Wardaat this Halloween. It’d be a great conversation piece. Send pictures if you do!]

Thinking it over, I feel the person who really epitomizes the synthpop movement in Bollywood, even though she first appeared on the scene towards the end of the (original) arc, is Madhuri Dixit. Or perhaps her late arrival is precisely why she stands out for me because that fits in more with my movie watching age and by then the music directors had a better handle on what they were doing. For example:

Tamma Tamma (Thanedaar) – These days the kids all want video games and glitzy gadgets and whatnot. All that we wanted as children was the ability to dance like Madhuri in this song. In stiletto heels, bitches! Sadly, we ended up dancing like Sanjay Dutt instead. Bring on the Wii.

Dil to Dil Hai (Zindagi Ek Jua) – You know Madhuri is magic because she’s poured into the Bollywood version of tasseled pasties with excellent WonderBra support, topped with an electric blue origami project snugly nestled in her hair (and this is the classiest outfit in the whole film) and she still makes it all work. Even the Parkinsons-inspired dance moves. Which are murder on your neck muscles and general equilibrium in case you were thinking of trying it out.

Main Teri Mohabbat Mein (Tridev) – Sure, Sangeeta Bijlani and Sonam made off with all the more glitzy songs apart from the utterly 80s fabulous Gajar ne Kiya hai Ishaara (turbans! shiny satins! bare bellies! harem pants! villain lair! dastardly villain group song! cages! danger! I’m exclamation-point-ed-out!). But Mads got to explore Sunny Deol’s softer side – remember those days?

O Meri Jaan (Kishen Kanhaiyya) – Okay, this is a terrible song. It really doesn’t belong on any list anywhere. But it makes me laugh. And laugh. And laugh. And…

Idlee Doo (Khel) – Perhaps this was meant to be Madhuri’s Hawa Hawaii moment… except the movie it appeared in was anything but iconic. Plus, let’s face it, there’s a certain level of zany silliness that only Sridevi can pull off. Props for trying, I guess.

Hona Hi Tha (Sailaab) – Everyone remembers the Humko Aajkal Hai song from this movie to the exclusion of everything else. And rightly so, because it’s the best thing about it, frankly. But there’s also this strange song in which Mads is just incredibly pretty.

Pyar Ke Mod Pe (Parinda) – I could spend all day on Youtube if this keeps on, but I couldn’t wrap up without a nod to R.D. Burman, the man who made all of it possible. It’s a bit of a stretch, this one, but I like it and Tumse Milke usually gets all the love.

I bet everyone has plenty more to suggest.


Posted by on August 30, 2009 in Celebrity, Entertainment, Movies, Music, Video


23 responses to “BollySynth is Madhuri Mania

  1. pitu

    August 30, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    Uiiiiiiiiii!! I’d comment but I am all Madhuri’d out 😀 Ohhhhhhhhh eye candy!!

  2. Gradwolf

    August 31, 2009 at 1:20 am

    Anything with Madhuri will be embraced in glee 😀

  3. AKM

    August 31, 2009 at 5:11 am

    Well, you left out several, as you had to :

    the heart song from 100 days
    something in Dil

    But you got idli doo ! My favouritest madhuri song!

  4. Beth

    August 31, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Maybe it’s because I was just looking at the video of Improv Everywhere having people freeze in Grand Central Station, but the beginning of “O Meri Jaan” was totally disturbing – but then I LOLed when the backup dancers made the lead pair move. “Tamma Tamma” is just so very very awesome.

    And here’s a song about “yoga” inspired by Kraftwerk.

  5. maxdavinci

    August 31, 2009 at 11:52 am

    wo gaad ganesha, amritajee yeh aapne kya kiya!

    How can you ahve a madhuri madam ka song post without ‘dhak dhak karne laga’!

    vaaris the raaz tahkrei wen you knead him I say! Dis is yinsult yegenaist waal marathi mulgis.

    PS: ‘Dil Loye Loye’ from yaarana is a gem that was buried under the weight of ‘mera piya ghar aaya’

  6. Old is Go(u)ld

    August 31, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    Eeeeeee! It’s Dixit aka Diya of (Time Stops At?) Shamli fame!

    But what you do to my old-fashioned Munna is not good, you know? So what if my fossil friend can’t dance (or be the model university resident, for that matter)? The President of FANG (that’s Feminists Against Neanderthal Guys, btw) seems to have completely overlooked my Sanju baba’s unparalleled poetic skills (making him a Class-A universe-city resident, in my eye). Where, ma’am, is Bahut Pyaar Karte Hain from (my all-time favorite) Saajan (which, I’ve always had a hunch, was the story idea behind Hollywood’s The Truth About Cats and Dogs)???

    I’ve never felt sooooo wronged!!!

  7. sachita

    September 1, 2009 at 3:13 am

    why havent they awarded u the phd in bollywood yet?

  8. Broom

    September 1, 2009 at 11:04 am

    I have Oye Oye stuck in my head, AMRITA. Thanks!

    And I object (your honour) – “Aap ko dekh ke” is an AWESOME song.
    Jaan Jaan Jaan.

    • the mad momma

      September 16, 2009 at 1:40 pm

      I agree with Broom. its a brilliant song. thou hast no taste! :p

  9. Amrita

    September 1, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Pitu & Adithya – you’re welcome 😀

    AKM – I nearly put in Mujhe Neend Na Aaye but then I got busy with other stuff and forgot about it. Madhuri in bright yellow with a boyish Aamir making faces at her. Awww!

    Beth – that is SO my new fave! I want to see it all the time!

    Max – but does Dhak Dhak fulfill the Bollysynth requirement? I can never get part the sleazy beats so I always think Porn! Porn! Porn! when i hear it and have no idea.
    AHAHAHA @ Dil Loye Loye. Could it be that you’re the only other person who’s seen that movie?

    OiG – Naheeeeeeeeeeeeeeen! Not Saajan! That stupid song will never leave my head now.

    Sachita – is that a hint that I should start dialing it back?

    Broom – hee hee hee, thats what you deserve for liking that other abomination. Naseer is so young and cute and OTT in it!

    • pitu

      September 1, 2009 at 4:10 pm

      I’ve seen ‘Yarana’ too. And ‘Daraar’ and ‘Agnisakshi’. And then one time my friends and I had a discussion which Sleeping with the enemy ripoff among these 3 was the best. Yes, I have no life :-p BTW, Nazrein mili from ‘Raja’ also has humongous amounts of synth.

  10. AKM

    September 2, 2009 at 2:19 am

    Ahhh. Saajan, the movie I love to hate and which epitomises Madhuri. Bahut Pyaar karte hain, is merely saccharine mush.

    The killer is ” Dekha Hai Pehli Baar” with that ax-murderer-generating tune after each line. WITH Madhuri flouncing around in psychedelic purple skirts.

    (And Saajan, about 30 such old Hindi movies, right up to TAC&D : all based on the same story about the gent with the nose, no ?

  11. Amrita

    September 2, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Pitu – ahahaha! Which one did you choose? I think Agnisakshi was the least horrifying although all of them were made for crucifying.

    AKM – I know! For some reason the French and the Indian notions of melodramatic sentimentality mesh very well. Just, we like to show it with 100% less nudity. Not that poor ol’ Beaky got any but…

    • Old is Gold

      September 2, 2009 at 5:29 pm

      Amrita, AKM, guys — you totally had me laughing my lousy head off!! “the gent with the nose”…”poor ol’ Beaky”… and that theory! Isn’t it something else to test these things on our (transformed) taste-buds today? (“Yuuuckkk!” is generally it.)

      Don’t tell me they went and made some 30 movies with the “poor ol’ Beaky” storyline… I’m clearly NOT caught up on my 80s-90s Bollywood then (blame it on not having cable TV, among other things) – damn! 😀

      And hey. Put “that ax-murderer-generating tune” and Beaky-the-Bogeyman-Photographer from “Tu Shaayar Hai” together with the audience’s twitching heads and flailing limbs, and we got ourselves a neat snuff film! (We could even call it Saw Jen!)

      • pitu

        September 2, 2009 at 6:02 pm

        ‘Agnisakshi’ was the most tolerable, yes mostly because Nana makes a very convincing villain. The so-called acting that Arbaaz Khan and Raj Babbar did as the villains in ‘Daraar’ and ‘Yaraana’ was just laughable. Also, Juhi as the abused wife in ‘Daraar’ was pathetic. Her candyfloss voice and almost juvenile mannerisms made the ‘supposed to be frightening abuse scenes’ funny :-X

  12. bollywooddeewana

    September 4, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Fab post i love all the songs in tridev, thats one of my all time fave bollywood soundtracks,
    this bollywood goodie below rips off Yazoo’s ‘Don’t go’ at the beginning

  13. abhishek

    September 5, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Oh! Madhuri.

    I just lose myself when she gyrates like that. Some parts of me even get bigger.

  14. Amrita

    September 6, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    BD – ha ha ha! Love it!

    Abhishek – TMI, my friend, TMI 😀

    • abhishek

      September 7, 2009 at 1:32 pm

      I was talking about pupils of my eyes. What were you thinking?? 😀

  15. rayshma

    September 10, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    u forget “nazrein mili” from raja… and “maine kiye paar… saat samundar” from rajkumar. the latter is actually a classic. MD in grey lenses… harem pants… and the villain’s den setting…
    and the former.. well, she just looks so simple and SO hot in it! pure magic should have her as brand ambassador.

  16. Srinivas

    October 2, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Hahaha..80’s kid here too. Nice article. But I have to take issue with your characterisation of the song from Kishen Kanhaiya..Its just great. I love that song 😉
    Madhuri for President !!!

    • pitu

      October 2, 2009 at 10:20 am


  17. Amrita

    October 2, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Rayshma – Nazrein Mili is cho chweet! But it doesn’t fall under the timeline. 😦 But I spent a good while YT-ing it up!

    Srinivas – what a colorful president she’d make too! 😀

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