Friday, April 29, 2005

Bollywood for the skeptical

Bollywood Restaurant

India is 'in' these days. There are numerous articles criticising and praising India, and somehow all the things that a lot of the Westerners point out either as good or bad, we've been taking them as a matter of course all our lives. But despite all the numbers and statistics regarding population or surface area, India is still a small, homely, always welcome place to live in. And Bangalore is the jewel in India's IT crown. High speed internet is getting ubiquitous. You can pay all your bills at any of the Bangalore One kiosks which are set up with touch sensitive screens and 24 hour access. But go off the main roads and you're back a few decades.

The other day, riding up Airport Road, one of the most high profile of roads in Bangalore. Steel and concrete structures looming on both sides. And of course, the ever present traffic jam! Decided to take a detour and took a random turn. Didn't know where the road was headed. All of a sudden there are small houses around me. Neat, modest, without any ostentatiousness. Vegetable sellers are hawking their wares. Housewives are gossiping over their boundary walls. Clothes are drying on lines on the terraces. There are no Pepsi signs here. No big hoardings. Quiet, peaceful Bangalore which was always how I've enjoyed Bangalore. A third of a kilometer equates to a third of a century in a city whose name has of late even become a verb!

Somehow this seems to be true to quite a lot of India. Somehow this juxtaposition of the modern with the ancient is what is taken for granted by us. And very, very rarely do I get to read something which puts India just as it is. So when I came across a site called "Bollywood for the skeptical", I was, to say the least, skeptical! A person's perspective, showing as much of the person as it is of India. A very, enjoyable single page read, and with an excellent collection of music too! Fits nicely on one CD, without all the DRM hoopla, giving a wonderful picture of Indian music over the last fifty years or so. Enjoy!


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