In my many years of throwing Bollywood DJ parties for a mixed crowd, I have noticed a remarkable consistency in the difference in taste between the goras and the desis. Whenever Anjali or I are talking to a gora about our parties they always want to know if we play vintage Bollywood. That is their sole concern, to verify that we play retro Bollywood at our parties. They are only interested in attending to the extent that we reassure them that we play old school Bollywood in our sets. Contrastingly, whenever we talk to desis about our parties, they want to to be reassured that we play “new songs” in our sets. Sometimes desis will need many reassurances in our conversations.
“You play new songs at your party?”
“Yes, new songs.”
“New songs? You play new songs?”
“Yes, new songs. Yes.”
The desis are usually so skeptical about this point that I have to rattle off the names of new soundtracks to assuage their fears, that yes, we do know the new songs. Usually I feel like the conversation ends with the desi still unbelieving that we really play “new songs” at our parties. Of course what amuses me is that since I buy the vast majority of (usually awful) Bollywood soundtracks the moment they are released, I am usually more up on the “new songs” than the desis themselves. Regular readers of this blog are no doubt familiar with my standard complaint that most desis who want to hear “new” Bollywood songs are usually asking for songs that are six months or more old that have been thoroughly disseminated throughout the desi diaspora. When I play the songs from soundtracks that have just been released, in advance of the actual films, most of the desis in attendance at our parties don’t know the songs, and are not happy with the selections. So if you say you want to hear “new” songs, be careful what you wish for, as I am more than capable of playing the very newest songs, that you most likely have never even heard.
These generalizations are just that, of course: generalizations. I know desis who love the old songs, and have no taste for the new. These are the ones who request songs from the ’70s and write and underline “NO REMIXES” on the request board next to their songs. And there is a growing group of goras who keep up with the new songs, and request contemporary Bollywood songs.
I love people who aren’t predictable, but most people are.