Wednesday, November 18, 1998

Brownsploitation

Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 1998 at 12:00 AM

Hooray for Bollywood! Trip back in time to mid-'70s Bombay, India, and enjoy the bizarre "brownsploitation" film sound tracks of a movie universe somewhat parallel to our own. While Indian film composers like the brothers Kalanji and Anandji never achieved any fame or fortune outside of their home country, these master tapes have been resurrected for a whole new generation of culture vultures.

Worlds beyond conventional kitsch, Bombay The Hard Way benefits from modern drum tracks and humorous new song titles like "Fists of Curry," "The Good, the Bad, and the Chutney" and "Fear of a Brown Planet." The music is a strange amalgam of traditional Indian instrumentation, cheesy American spy movie Muzak and Kung-Fu-flick, classic blaxploitation sound tracks. With authentic film dialogue thrown in among the strings, horns, wah-wah guitars and tablas, this is oddly similar to Western sound tracks of grade-B movies from days gone by.

Why would anyone want to own this collection? Difficult to say. The music is entertaining in an odd way, but if you're not way into oddball memorabilia, don't bother. I mean, turn on the television and you can always get plenty of car chases, gunfights, loose women and smoke-filled opium dens. Right? Still, there's something quaintly engaging about Guns, Cars & Sitars. While the disc looks and sounds like a spoof by the Beastie Boys or Beck, it was -- at one point -- someone's earnest attempt to provide a serious backdrop to decadent, urban filmwork on the other side of the world.

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