Welcome to Bollywood

Paula: Who are some of the big stars of Hindi music/Bollywood?

Patrick: Well it is important to distinguish between the actors and the singers. Very few of the actors and actresses sing (many are excellent dancers, though). The singers who "dub" the songs are called "playback singers" and are often just as famous as the actors.

One of the original Hindi film stars, who is still quite active is Amitabh Bachchan. Some people call him the "angry young man of Hindi cinema" because many of his roles dealt with someone fighting corruption or injustice. He's got a great line, I can't remember which film it is from: "tum char sau bis admi ho"-- it means "you are a 420 man"; section 420 of the Indian Penal Code is the fraud section, so what he's saying is "you're a crook"!

New stars? Wow, there are a lot of them. I mentioned Shah Rukh Khan, there's also Salman Khan (no relation), Aamir Khan (again no relation) and Akshay Kumar. Actresses: there's Aishwarya Rai, the former Miss World. Kajol, she's very popular, she was in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai with Shah Rukh Khan. In the film Dil Se, there's a very nice dance sequence on a train. The dancer is Malaika Arora, that's her only scene in the film, but it got her started in Bollywood! Who else? Urmila, Raveena Tandon, Karishma Kapoor -- these aren't names in Hollywood, but in South Asia, or the South Asian community, these are THE stars!

Now, playback singers: I'm just going to mention one. Lata Mangeshkar. She was in the Guinness Book of Records years ago as the most recorded female vocalist. She was the voice of Hindi films for many, many years. Her younger sister, Ashe Bhosle, is also a major talent. Ashe's also a major advocate of the Hindi language--one one of the music awards, she was critical of the excessive use of English!

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