If Loving Bad Pop Music Is Wrong

The most stereotypical "Bollywood" image I could find. This is a still from the wonderfully melodromatic Devdas, starring Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit, and Aishwarya Rai. Madhuri and Aishwarya are pictured.

My love of Hindi-language film manifests in several ways. Some are tasteful, even cool, like the vintage posters I brought back from Mumbai. Others are understandable, like my affection for Jackson Heights’ Eagle Cinema, an art-deco movie house retooled in filmi style down to the samosas at the concession stand. And who doesn’t enjoy a cheesy love story featuring the likes of Kajol or Amitabh Bachchan?

But then there are the more embarrassing manifestations of my Bollywood fandom. Like the dance numbers. The cool thing to do these days in Indian films is to feature at least one Western-styled clubby dance number, preferably with a catchy English-language chorus. These songs are like the worst thing on any Ke$ha or Soulja Boy album, minus a million cool points. And since English is a second language for most Indians, the lyrics are terrible. Just throw in a lot of “Dance With me Baby” and “Party” and “Rock Star”, and that’ll make 90% of South Asians* pretty happy.

And yet, I can’t get enough. Throw one of these bad boys on my workout playlist and I’ll run a mile without thinking about how shitty this stuff is or how much I actually hate exercise.

Maybe I should look into K-Pop next.

*On the other hand, take any traditional Hindi-language Bollywood soundtrack and throw in words like “Zindagi”, “Dil”, and “Hai Allah!” (“Life”, “Love”, and “Oh God!” in Hindi), and this English speaking Bollywood fan is happy. So I guess it’s all the same fetish for the Other.

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