Monday, January 26, 2009

#10 Oscar Nominations: The Slumdog Millionaire Soundtrack

Indians enjoy Flim Soundtracks. From Dil Se to Dil Chahta Hai, DDLJ to anything by Kishore Kumar, Indian fathers buy Hindi soundtracks in bulk from Indian Grocery stores, and play them repeatedly during long family car trips, bizarrely soothed by the sound of ear piercing flute solos.

Though many Indians qualify their feelings about Hindi movie soundtracks by saying things like, "My family only listens to Hindi soundtracks from the '60s because that's when Hindi music was unadulterated and, well, better," the popularity of more recent releases proves the Indian love for Flim soundtracks endures.

This winter, a new soundtrack replaced former favorites such as Lagaan and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. It's composer was familiar to all, but it's sound was brand new. It was called Slumdog Millionaire.

As the Oscars near, for which Slumdog Millionaire is nominated in ten categories, and Holi after that, the Slumdog soundtrack will be a familiar sound emanating from desi disc changers, DJs and iPod docks. Come Spring, next fall, and eventually next summer, college students will choreograph bhangra dances to Slumdog Medlies and younger cousins will bore guests at weddings by performing to the accompaniment of Slumdog's slower ballads.

A particular track from the Slumdog Millionaire Soundtrack that Indians will enjoy is "Latika's Theme." Indians will use the quiet build of the song as the introductory piece to their co-ed Freshman Dance at schools such as DePaul, UPenn and Boston University. Girls will wear saris draped over their heads on stage as they perform an inspired routine involving dramatically lit diyas. Soon after, the beat of Jai Ho will "drop" and a "crew" of male, desi undergrads will storm the stage before mounting shoulders, performing variations of the three standard bhangra moves, and shouting "Whut, whut!"

"Latika's Theme" will also come in handy for those Indians who are tired of using Penn Masala's version of U2's "With or Without You" as the music behind their Powerpoint and iPhoto slideshows

Perhaps the most popular use of "Latika's Theme" that Indians will enjoy, however, is as mood music during romantic rendezvouses. Other good Hindi recommendations for that Gettin' Play Playlist include:

Tadap Tadap Dat Ayass:

Gettin' Some Taal:

Ballin' Sagoo:

If you plan on spending time with Indians any time soon, familiarize yourself with the Slumdog Millionaire Soundtrack. Also, it wouldn't be a bad idea to get the above songs on your iTunes. You never know when a Latika of your own might be swinging by. Just push play and as those salubrious A.R. Rahman riffs blend with the curry in your crock pot, "Yes" will most definitely be your Latika's final answer.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

#208: Metaphysical Tattoos

There are many things Indians like. Indians like cumin; Indians like saag; Indians like rolling pins; and Indians like expressing disappointment in their children. Another common, yet little known thing Indians like is quiet acts of rebellion - like minoring in Gender Studies, dating an Asian American or getting a tattoo.

Not just any tattoo will do for the defiant Indian. Indians like their tattoos to mean something, and nothing identifies an Indian as an individual like tattoos in an ancient language they don't speak conveying Hindu philosophies they don't understand.

Popular metaphysical tattoos among Indians include the Om symbol, Sanskrit characters for concepts like "strength," and the occasional English transcription of sanctimonious Indo-Arabic terms such as Kismet, Ahimsa, Atman and Calculus.

Occasionally the most brazen of Indian girls will choose to ornament themselves with the Om lower back tattoo. Unfortunately, we can't extrapolate on this since these girls tend to spend their time with men far more attractive, athletic, and whiter than us.

If you see an Indian with a metaphysical tattoo in a publicly visible place, be sure to ask them what it means. If Indians like anything more than their metaphysical tattoo, it's talking about it. On the other hand, if you see an Indian with a metaphysical tattoo in a not so publicly visible place, well then, you can keep quiet since it seems you've already said all the right things.

Yeah, go'head now, player. You do you. Brahman is Atman, and thou art that.