DESCRIPTION

The beginning of the 1960’s marked a shift in Indian cinema. The Calcutta-based social realist movement favored a starker style which emphasized the gravity of working-class urban life over the musical and dance elements which were characteristic of Indian storytelling. However, as the center of gravity for Indian cinema shifted to Mumbai, a Hindi cultural center, Indian cinema took a new interest in a lively portrayal of song and dance. This new wave of films produced in Mumbai, soon known as Bollywood, fused extravagant dance numbers with epic plots taken from classical Indian texts.

Behind the scenes was composer Rahul Dev Burman, who pioneered exuberant film scores that decisively broke with the toned-downed traditionalism of the previous decade. He adapted genres like Flamenco, Mariachi, and Bossa Nova to 80 piece orchestras with a prominent brass section, which made a drastic contrasted with the violin and flute melodies of the previous generation. With characteristics like frequent grunting or improvised instruments which remain unique to his style, Burman’s prolific career of 331 film scores was critical to the modernization of Indian music and film.