Bollywood Ear Candy: Taal Se Taal Mila
by Laura Witkowski
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about India by watching Bollywood movies, is boy does it rain a lot there. June through September is monsoon season, so if you visit during that time bring an umbrella. Ha. Like that would even help you. Also then everybody would know you were a tourist. But they’d already know that anyway by how you would scream and run like a girl every time you saw a stray cobra. Wimp.
To really blend in with the Indian people, you have to just embrace the rain. This clip from the 1999 movie Taal gives many great examples of how to do this. Do a choreographed dance with your friends. Roll around on the soggy grass wearing all white. Sneak around and take pictures of the girl you have a crush on without her knowing and then hide in the woods to look at them. Whatever. It’s raining. Be passionate! The rainy season is the season of love! I know this based on how many Bollywood movies have incredibly romantic scenes involving soaking wet people. Kissing might be out, but boy-on-girl wet T-shirt contests are totally in.
‘Taal Se Taal Mila’ along with the rest of the music from Taal was composed by A.R. Rahman. He’s now best known for Slumdog Millionaire, but since the early Nineties he’s done the music for well over 100 movies, many of which, like Taal, were huge blockbusters spawning hit songs. And considering India’s pop music charts are packed with songs from films, he’s a pretty big star himself. I don’t think there’s really an equivalent composer working in Hollywood in terms of prolificness. The closest would be John Williams, but that dude’s not really spawning a slew of hit singles. I don’t remember the Home Alone theme becoming the Number One song in America at any point.
Roughly translated, ‘Taal Se Taal Mila’ means “Match your rhythm to mine”. This is the perfect song for the two main characters to sing to each other, because their rhythms are not matching well! Basically, Manav (the guy with the camera, played by Akshaye Khanna) is a well-to-do, somewhat-creepy-with-the-picture-taking, but sweet guy. His family however, are all snobby assholes. So when he falls for Mansi (Bollywood superstar and former Miss World Aishwarya Rai) his relatives act like total jerks to her and her family because they are not high class enough. Watching Taal, you’ll find yourself rooting as much for the happiness of Manav and Mansi as you will that Manav’s whole family gets hit by a bus. Or at least I did. It’s the rainy season – anything can happen!