India has a love affair with the silver screen unlike any other country. Mumbai and the Bollywood studios churn out more movies, with bigger budgets, to bigger audiences than Hollywood, and Indians grab any space they can to show the films. Entwined, more enmeshed, with Indian film are the soundtracks and movie scores that accompany them. From the early days of Indian cinema all the way through to the big budget Bollywood films, music has been integral and created stars such as the incomparable Asha Bosle, who has written over 10,000 songs for over 800 movies.
The Australian collective, The Bombay Royale, pay homage to this heritage, particularly the pre-Bollywood age, on this intensively funky LP. It’s hard not to argue with the press release that accompanies the album with its claims of haunting Hindi and Bengali vocals stretched out over wah wah funk bass lines, huge horns, tablas, synths, sitars and strings and sense of ’60s psychedelic naughtiness. There are even some surf things going on in “Mahindra Death Ride”.
Brought together by musical director Andy Williamson, the stars of the show are the vocalists Parvyn ‘La Femme Mysterieuse’ Singh and Shouroy ‘The Tiger’ Bhattacharya, who complement each other beautifully in the call and response romper “Oh Sajna” and the espionage invoking “Bobbywood” where “The Tiger” sounds terribly untrustworthy!
This album is a riot of sounds and textures but absolutely great fun to have on at full blast and with no inhibitions. You gotta go for it! Joyous.