चोली के पीछे क्या है = Cōlī kē pīchē kyā hai
For this one I have to give credit to Willem van Z. (VPRO-3voor12; previously Tivoli Utrecht). In the mid-90s he was resident-DJ at the world-famous Dutch rock venue Doornroosje Nijmegen. One saturdaynight he managed to get the crowd dancing while premiering a Bollywood-song. Quite a feat, since most people prefer to dance to songs or sounds they know, unfortunately. Not this time, though. All too curious, I asked for the name of the tune. Alas, no paper or pencil available. Now what are the chances you’d remember a songtitle from India all the way home, after a couple of drinks? Waking up the next morning I found what I had memorized, scribbled down in a notebook beside my bed. Willem had suggested I’d try a local Asian store that had some import-cassettes. So I went there, and they said they could order it. Don’t know if they did; a few weeks they kept telling me to come back later, then I gave up. Years passed, untill I found my notebook again in 2011. Just for fun I googled the songtitle on the internet. To my surprise the title I had written down existed, with a video on YouTube!
So now I knew for a fact that the song was called ‘Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai’, sung by Alka Yagnik & Ila Charun. The exciting video was from ‘Khal nayak’, apparently a 1993-Bollywood-blockbuster. Mind you, the spectacular leading lady in the movie is not the singer, but actress Madhuri Dixit. More about her and the movie can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madhuri_Dixit
But what still puzzled me: What was the song about? One YouTube-comment said ‘What’s behind the blouse’. Then I fed it to Google-translate in small pieces, and got ‘choli = bra’. Looking for a final word I posted the song on Facebook one year ago and asked if anyone was able to explain the lyrics to me. Nothing happened for four weeks, then all of a sudden Geertje (of BollyFood-fame) dropped me a line: "What's behind the blouse is correct". She added that 'choli' is a short top, worn under a sari, almost qualifying as underwear, which might explain the other translation as 'bra'. Then she really made my day with this:
Hope you enjoyed the clip. Warning: some things just stick in your mind. Ku ku ku ku ku ku ku ku..
PS: Now you might as well try the next Bollywood-video too, brought to my attention by Ben (the man behind the Franco-post last October). It's a song from "the terrifying murder mystery" Gumnaam (1965) by singer Moham(m)ed Rafi: 'Jaan Pehechaan Ho'. Rock'n'roll from India, even included in a list of favorite songs by Lux and Ivy (The Cramps). More about them in your Secret Museum on Feb 28th.