Friday, August 16, 2013

Laxmikant-Pyarelal | Khuda Gawah

Reupped in case you missed it, here.

[Originally posted in April 2010.] At some point in 1994 when I was living in St. Paul, Minn., a friend across the river in Minneapolis took me to see an Indian film, the title of which had been translated as “God Is My Witness.” This three-hour 1992 Bollywood epic following a couple of generations of Afghan tribes-people was the first Indian movie of any kind that I had ever seen.

To say that I was not really prepared for it is both an understatement and the wrong approach. More than any other film I’ve seen, “Khuda Gawah” completely changed my life forever. I loved every second of it: the supercharged game of buzkashi that opens and sets the pace and tone; the incredible songs (composed by superstar team Laxmikant Pyrarelal); and the fabulous performances by Amitabh Bachchan and Sridevi:

It is no exaggeration when I say that I spent the next 10 years of my life desperately searching for a tape or CD of this soundtrack. Unfortunately, I was missing a key piece of information: Hindi Bollywood film titles are never, ever, ever translated into English, even though DVDs of almost every Hindi Bollywood film have English subtitles. As I discovered on subsequent trips to Devon Avenue in Chicago, "God Is My Witness" was not a film that anyone working in an Indian video/CD store was familiar with.

It wasn't until 2004, three years after I moved to the Kensington neighborhood of Brooklyn, that I discovered first a DVD of the film (I instantly recognized the image on the cover) and then, shortly thereafter, a CD of the soundtrack (shown above), at a Pakistani video store on Coney Island Avenue (Pak Video, 1058 Coney Island Avenue, just below Foster).

Six years later, I'm still listening to this remarkable CD; it remains one of my all time favorite Bollywood soundtracks.


Anonymous said...

Yay! Thank you.

I've got the movie at the top of my Netflix queue, too.

Gary said...

You're welcome and sorry it took so long. Let me know what you think of the film!