Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pyar Zindagi Hai



This is one of the first Bollywood songs I ever heard. It's from the 1978 movie Muqaddar Ka Sikander, and I found it on an excellent Bollywood compilation CD called "Bollywood Funk". The funky guitars, synths, gorgeously distorted vocals, and disco beat made it a quick favorite, so later, when I started watching Bollywood films, I decided to track down this movie to see how the song was staged. As funky as the song is, I definitely wasn't prepared for what I saw.

I've included a little bit of the scene preceding the song so that you can see how dramatic the transition is. Right off the bat, there's some amusing dialogue in English: "Hey man, you dig this sort of music? You like it? Then why don't you come and join Lover’s Paradise." Apparently, paradise for lovers involves a ridiculous number of candles (including one gigantic one), lots of glowing hearts, and mirrors in way more places than you'd think would be healthy. All the candles remind me of some kind of Catholic church—in the culturally stereotyped world of Bollywood, this means it's perfect for a den of sin. Just to make the connection a little clearer, we have a lecherous old white guy trying to grab the singer (Rekha), eliciting a truly off-putting rhythmic giggle.

If you're wondering about the constant cuts to Amitabh Bachchan looking somewhere between stoned and worried, basically, the couple that walked into the club ahead of him are his best friend and the woman he loves (sporting some bad-ass Princess Leia curls). It's a good thing the set is covered with mirrors, because it makes a number of the shots of Bachchan very slowly and angrily drinking much more interesting. Well, that and his very provocatively displayed chest hair.

After some explosive lightning intercuts and an odd dance routine involving a lot of bouncing, Bachchan decides it's time to play the "No real person could drink whiskey this quickly" game, feeding the rage until he smashes the bottle against—what else?—a mirror.

2 comments:

CHOLKE said...

Are there a couple versions of this song in the movie? Because it's turned up with various lengths and variations on several compilations. The version on the unfortunately named "Beginner's Guide to Bollywood" is longer and has some slight differences.

gjg said...

I don't recall there being different versions in the movie itself. I would imagine they probably had one mix for the film, and maybe did a couple of slightly different mixes for release on soundtrack albums. The version on "Bollywood Funk" sounds pretty close to the film soundtrack version.