Tuesday, April 07, 2009

the weekend isn't complete without the Indian Show

For the last 20 years or so on local non-cable channels (in Chicago it's Class A stations that air Polvision, China Star TV and Greek, Filipino and other cultural shows)--before 24-hour Hindi programming was available via satellite dish--they've shown Bollywood music videos as well as entertainment gossip and news on Saturday and Sunday mid-mornings.

As a kid I'd wake up to my parents making brunch to these shows. And while the music videos are supercheesy (and nowadays a little sleazy), the weekend is simply not the same without them. The ones I catch most often are Namaste America, which has news and songs;
Desi Jams, which is all about the music videos; Bollywood Now (?), which is celebrity gossip; and Desi Tunes, which is a local program that throws in some South Indian* videos once in awhile. I'm sure there are a bunch of other shows, too, but it all depends on what's available in your area.

The segues between videos often have newsy little tidbits.

The highlight of the entertainment gossip show, Bollywood Now, is its voiceover talent. I can only describe the woman's accent as having had a terrible accident (What's wrong with sticking to a regular Indian accent?). She
incorporates as many American slang words as possible and, most of all, speaks with the lilting tone people often use when imitating a stereotypical "British mum." However the combination is pretty riveting. I couldn't find a clip, but here's an example of an interview done with a completely un-weird voiceover--it's from a show that aired on the west coast sometime in 2007.

Lovely, but it doesn't have quite the panache as the crazy lady who does the show that we get. The actor featured, Aishwariya Rai Bachchan, is in Steve Martin's latest Pink Panther movie.

My favorite part of the weekend programming is a feature on Namaste America called the Shout Outs. People write in their little messages and Obaid Kadwani, a serious-looking guy who sometimes does the news, reads them out.

I can't imagine anyone doing it better. One of these days I'm going to send one in. Probably to H, because as much as he pretends he's not paying attention, I like to think he secretly loves this stuff. But more likely, he just tolerates it because I love it.

How can I have a post about the Indian Show without a clip of what it's all about? I would have embedded it, but the best version of "Desi Girl" from the film Dostana with subtitles has embedding removed. The movie takes place in Miami, and these two guys pretend to be a gay couple in order to be roommates with the woman they both are interested in. Subtitles are often RIDICULOUS on these songs, but I chalk that up to translators whose English isn't as strong as their Hindi.

I should go back to school, learn Hindi properly, and do some of these lyric translations justice. It could be a totally new career path! However, it probably won't deter Bollywood from incorporating English phrases that don't make sense--whoever approved "Krazzy" as an alternate spelling for "Crazy" should be smacked around--but there's only so much one desi girl can do.

*It's important to note that Bollywood alone is not a fair representation of all things Indian. When you cross a state border in India, it's like going into another country with its own language, food, customs and dress. The movie industry puts out about three films a day, but that's across 18-some official languages, which each has its own "-wood." Not to mention the documentaries, theatrical productions, etc. And there's a lot I don't know about this stuff; my love for Hindi movies is tied up in the nostalgia of my childhood.


SupaCoo said...

Wow, I had no idea! Thanks for the enlightenment.

Guyana-Gyal said...

I enjoy India tv...we get news here too. And those cheesy soap operas that drive me NUTS yet I have to keep up with the plot.

This weekend I saw [swooooooon] Arjun Rampal with the group who acted in the movie, Rock On. That man is so good-looking, he should be illegal.

I think H secretly likes watching the girls...I know one other guy who does.

And you're right about Bollywood not being all things India...there's so much non-Bollywood talent out there.