What’s the samachar, yo?

My buddy Chiraag of Pardon My Hindi has just posted a kick-ass second issue of Samachar, a superpremium, arty site which is the Häagen-Dasz of 2nd gen desi mags:

  • A scandalous, side-by-side audio comparison of ‘Don’t Phunk With My Heart,’ a Black Eyed Peas Grammy winner, with the song it plagiarized, ‘Ae Nau Jawan Sab Kuchh Yahan’ from Apradh. The catchy melody is a shameless copy. Listen for yourself.

    It’s not a sample, it’s the entire melodic backbone of the song, almost entirely unchanged. Royalties? Nope. Americans really are learning from Bollywood.

  • A video clip of NYU dosa man Thiru Kumar composing his mirch-e-frisbees while wearing a jacket with a big, LTTE-esque airbrushed tiger on the back

    Out-of-Office Tiger

    . Yes, he listens to M.I.A.

  • A stylish trailer for call center documentary John and Jane:
    The most startling character is the re-named Naomi, a Gujurati girl who bleaches her skin and hair and speaks with an American accent even outside working hours. [Link]
  • A self-promotional photo essay of PMH stickers pasted throughout San Francisco by friends of the artist

I really love this site’s aesthetic. The photos are ginormous and animated in a flipbook format. Raag loves his fabric textures and Billyburg blue-on-brown palette. The Meena Kumari (?) sticker still looks like she’s post-orgasmic. He’s got some new shirts big-upping ’70s Bollycomposer duo Anand-Kalyan (licensing issues?), who composed the song the Peas lifted.

IMO this biz plan is brilliant. By pairing Anand-Kalyan audio clips with related tees, Raag educates Bollyhip clotheshorses in a much more engaging way than the tiny back story on a Ben & Jerry’s.

Here are a few unsolicited suggestions:

  • It’s crying out for a comments feature
  • The concept, design and story ideas are great, but the writing needs more of an edge
  • More, please! The site looks like a labor of love with eons invested. What Raag needs is some people to help with the gorgeousness (hint, hint).

Related posts: Everyone recycles, Tiffinwalla in New York, The peacock, The tao of Manschot

23 thoughts on “What’s the samachar, yo?

  1. Hmm.. after reading “Pardon my Hindi”, it seems that credits were given to Asha Bhosle but no royalties to her or composers Kalyanji, Anandji.

  2. Yay! Thanks, Manish. The last issue was super, can’t wait to get down with this one. Those Kalyanji-Anandji tee shirts are dope, I shall be rocking one soon enough.

    Also, Toronto needs some PMH sticker treatment too, I think this would be a suitable activity for us rebels at our summer TO meetup.

  3. Chiraag’s analysis is dead-on. It’s not enough to BEP to give credit to Ashaji for singing– in this case if they used a sample of Asha’s recording, credit would be in order. But when lifting the entire composition, credit (and $$) is due to the songwriter(s)– as happened here. Justice for Kalyanji & Anandji!

    PMH rocks.

  4. “For me, the idea of virtual “call agents” with fake American identities who talked on the phone all night seemed straight out of science fiction,” says “John & Jane” director Ashim Ahluwalia.

    sweet jesus of nazareth.

    that reminds me of the incessant phone calls that took place between myself and my met-once-for-thirty-minutes before deciding on an arranged-marriage wife-to-be in Chandigarh who’d stay home all day poised by the phone waiting to talk to me at any given moment. it was a well-intentioned moebius strip of misplaced blatherings that left me both puzzled and numb.

    ring ringgggg ring ringggg (note queer international ring tone after punching 500 or so odd numbers into the telephone in order to reach her)

    me: so, like, hey, Shrupa, what’s up? her: oh, nothing, nothing, you know, just timepass. Papa came back from the market a few moments ago. Sector 17 is so crowded at this time of the day. He said the traffic was horrible. me: really? i can imagine. wait, no i can’t. where the fuck is “Sector 17″ ? do you live in a space colony on Mars? her: and how have you been keeping? me: oh great. i got shithoused before, during and after a Motley Crue concert last night. i wish i knew why my genitals are so swollen. but i know one thing’s for sure — and that’s that Mick Mars’ still got it. burppp. i know it’s two days away, but i’m going to hate work on Monday. i have so many things to prepare and a hangover to nurse. FUCK. her: oh you’re so busy over there. i just found out two girls who were in the batch before me have started their residencies in the west coast. is that mostly California? me: sure. but what about NYC or Philly – perhaps Chicago? so many cities, so many possibilities. that’s one thing i love about the U.S. we have such great urban diversity. her: america and americans have no culture. hehe haha just kidding! i miss you! insert haphazard attempt at projecting coquettishly playful tone in her voice here me: i miss you too. i just wish we had something more in common other than the color of our skin and the grandiosity of my parents’ blinding selfishness to see me married. i can’t wait to see you at the engagement her: engagement? it’s a SAGAI. SA-GAI! hehe my little Yankee Doodle! you can’t speak a word of hindi. i will work on that! hehehe, so cute! me: and you can’t blow me like that sicilian girl i dated who lived in Hell’s Kitchen that i saw on and off for 3 years, but you don’t see me making fun of YOUR shit, do you?. you’re so direct. i love that about you. are you still as cute as you were the last time i saw you?

    … …

    sigh

    THAT, my friends, is science fiction.

  5. 5: wow. that was hysterical! so did you marry her?

    you do know she had equally inane commentary running through her mind during the calls?

  6. I have to add to the applause for post #5 by AC. Hilarious stuff.

    I reckon one of the ladies here on SM should write a “response” from the female perspective, spoofing what may have been going through the woman’s mind…..

  7. This one was a dead giveaway
    My buddy…

    Chi-ching! Excellent analysis DDiA.

    AC, you’s one funny motherfucker, especially that last line!

  8. angry asian man reports on “John & Jane” at VC FILMFEST 2006: The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (emphasis added)

    Other prize winners include David Ngo’s The Queen From Virginia: The Jackie Bong Wright Story, which won the Best Documentary Feature Award, and Ashim Ahluwalia’s John & Jane Toll Free, which was presented a Special Jury Prize.
  9. AC,

    You get the prize. That’s two hilarious comments from you today.

    Honestly, there’s a market for Desi Dick Lit. You could really blow that sh*t up.

  10. I found the link to “John and Jane” quite interesting as at the recent Hot Docs Documentary festival here in toronto, there was a similar documentary called “Bombay Calling” that was about the same thing that was screened. Who came first?!

  11. AC, did you just Kaavya this posting?

    no, but your thorough sleuth work won’t go unnoticed. golf clap

    now take this towel and go wipe off your face.

    you look exhausted.

  12. just got a pirated dvd of “john & jane” – mad, weird, hypnotic film that really had me spooked. is this shit for real ?? the whole thing seemed liked some sort of dream, but it is a documentary ? some fresh, new stuff coming out of bombay if this is anything to go by.

    the sound track is killer – spaced-out ambient crackling music put me straight in a daze. i looked at the credits and this is what is said:

    music by masta’ justy, minamo, signal drift, metamatics and thomas brinkmann.. WHO ARE THESE GUYS ?(ok, I sort of heard of Thomas Brinkmann)

    anyone have a clue where to get a hold of this soundtrack ??

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