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Review: The Best of Bollywood

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I have been at war with myself: on one side of the DMZ are the anal forces of completism that drive me to carry every project out to its fullest extension. Since I don’t write very quickly, this tendency makes most any review I write take agonized hours. As a result I don’t write all that many reviews.

The other side of the divide is also somewhat completist in nature, but completist to the extent that it kills me to have literally thousands of recent CDs lying around that will never be reviewed at my current pace of a few a week. All I do is get farther behind, fall deeper into the well, watch the stacks grow and mock me.

So I have made a decision: under the influence of Mark Seleski’s Friday Morning Listens, I am now going to start writing short, One-Paragraph Reviews (OPRs). I will still write big, honking, tedious, obsessive reviews, but I will also breeze through many (I hope) others.

Let us begin with The Best of Bollywood. “Bollywood” is the generic name for the thriving Indian film industry, which began in 1899 with the work of H.S. Bhatavdekar, and saw its first feature, Raja Harishchandra, in 1913 made by the Father of Indian Cinema, Dadasaheb Phalke. This collection features Indian film music from the ’70s to today in a strangely compelling style halfway between the Indian classical music of a Ravi Shankar and Western pop, variously drawing in strong and varied percussion, electronics, Indian trilling, flamboyant orchestral flourishes, Westernized melodies sung by very un-Western voices (especially the piercingly high soprano of many of the female lead singers). I love this stuff, but then I also love Indian classical and the contemporary hybrid electronica style of bhangra. Check out the babe on the cover as well – b’damn. Only drawback: no information about the artists, although there are descriptions of the films from which the music is drawn.

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About Eric Olsen

  • Tom Johnson

    I too would like to adopt a more concise method by which to announce my love/hate/approval/disapproval of entertainment products to the world, also inspired by he of the “Friday morning listen,” the fine Mr. Saleski. However, I’m unable to come up with a catchy, witty title by which to refer to these mini-reviews (also a staple of that busy beaver Saleski,) and fear my attempts will only appear to be shoddy copy-cat ripoffs. I will, however, endeavor to do my best. Maybe, in fact, I’ll just call them “Meaties” – as in, the meat of the matter, no fluff. If I could get to these on Mondays, they could be “Monday Meaties.” Since tomorrow is a Monday, and a holiday to boot, I may just do that.

  • Eric Olsen

    it’ll be tasty I’m sure

  • Aaman

    Love this review, Eric – y should do more such, esp. since you said you got to listening to some stuff on yr vacation

  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks Aaman – it’s on the schedule, takes a LOT of time.

  • Nancy

    I just discovered Bollywood w/the delightful “Monsoon Wedding”, which really isn’t Bollywood in a strict sense, I guess, but it’s the first Indian-oriented film I’ve ever seen. Anyone got any suggestions? Especially for historical and/or costume pieces? Thanks.

  • Aaman

    The newer version of Devdas would be a good start – one of these days I’ll do a ‘Guide/Best of Bollywood’ post or two

    Also check out ‘Lagaan’ – available at blockbuster – Oscar material

  • Nancy

    That would be very nice, & much appreciated.

  • komal

    that’s my music