Filmistan the First


Thank you to everyone who came down to our first night of Filmistan yesterday evening.  It has been a long time since Anjali and I threw an all-Bollywood party, and it felt good to have the dance floor full all night.  We went on after an early show of Mortified, and the owner of the Someday Lounge said that Filmistan was the most success they have ever had throwing a late event after an early event. Because of my experience playing at spoken word events, I know that most people that pay to sit around and listen to people talk for hours don’t stick around to dance afterwards. The place was PACKED with screaming, howling, laughing audience members when we arrived, and I predicted to the promoter that they probably wouldn’t stick around for the DJs. I referred to Mortified as a spoken word event and the promoter corrected me, explaining that it was not “spoken word,” but a “comedy” event, and that therefore people would be more likely to hang around after the readings stopped. Yeah, right. However, even I was taken aback at the rapidity at which hundreds of thoroughly-engaged people immediately vanished after Mortified ended. There were only a few stragglers left when I made it to the stage to begin setting up after Anjali and I had been introduced as, “Filmistan, a Bollywood DJ.” Given how much name recognition Anjali has in this town, I wonder if any more people would have stuck around, if we had been introduced by name.

The event would have been a total bust without all the people who showed up and danced and sung along, so thank you to everyone who came for making the event a fun one. We don’t have any future dates set up at the Someday Lounge currently, but don’t be surprised to see future installments of Filmistan.

Being a gora who has only been listening to filmi for a decade, who is often playing for Desis who grew up listening to filmi all their lives, I am always curious as to how Desi audience members will respond to my sets. I went on first, and I started out playing vintage Bollywood disco and funk. I entertained the idea of going more contemporary before the end of my first set, but I never did, instead choosing to play nothing more recent than the early ’80s. It turns out there were a few attitudinal Desi girls from Seattle at the show, who complained to Anjali about how “awful” I was. No doubt if I was playing more recent songs from Tashan, Race,and Jab We Met, like I did in my second set, they would have been much happier. I don’t think they stuck around that long, which just goes to show that while there are plenty of Desis that appreciate the eighty year history of filmi music, the ones I often deal with at dance nights, are the ones who only care about the songs that in their minds are the latest and the coolest. If you only care to hear songs when they are at the height of the charts, and don’t want to hear them once they have aged some, how good were they ever really?

Contemporary Bollywood may be slick, but it is mostly missing funk and soul. While some of the goreh had trouble with the percussion breakdowns on some of the older Bollywood numbers I played, I was happy to feature so much vintage funkiness in my first set. Thanks to those who danced and supported from my first tracks. See you next time.


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