The songs on Bollywood Bloodbath were fossicked out of decades of B-grade Bollywood horror movies. I suppose that’s obvious from the cover. The genre of the film is the focus here, not the genre of the songs; there is disco, ‘80s tunes with drum machine and sneering pop sax, boogie, piano, rock guitar, laughter, and “the drummy theme from the first-ever 1949 Indian ghost film”, which is a tense bit of thriller music. The big guns come in the last track when RD Burman and Lata Mangeshkar team up for “Bindya Tarse Kajra Barse”. “Bindya” has such a toy-like insinuating lilt that you wouldn’t associate it with horror, but an online search for the movie itself ends with footage of curtains heaving with sinister winds in a shadowy nighttime mansion while the actors upstairs open their eyes in bed, waiting for ghouls. Their pyjamas are impeccably decent. Mangeshkar ah-ah-ahs over the top. A lot of the songs are like this: romantic or upbeat rather than horrific. Others have tense chords and human growls, giving them kinship with the album cover. Still. Bollywood Bloodbath is likely to send you away with the impression that 20th century Indian horror films have been about cute scares rather than massacres—family-friendly fear.
// Notes from the Road
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