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Street Musicians of Bombay (1994)

Off-camera, a Western traveler tells us of hearing singing from his hotel window in Bombay. He searches for the source, and discovers a caste of street performers, eking out a modest living... See full summary »

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Off-camera, a Western traveler tells us of hearing singing from his hotel window in Bombay. He searches for the source, and discovers a caste of street performers, eking out a modest living. We see individuals and groups, old and young, snake charmers and those hired to sing at family celebrations. A few talk about their lives and refute accusations of kidnapping lodged against the caste. A troupe of women sing at a party for a pregnant woman - they are saucy and blunt, encouraging and sisterly. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Documentary | Music

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17 July 1994 (UK)  »

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Moving farewell glimpse of a disappearing world
26 March 2009 | by (Eel Pie Island) – See all my reviews

There is more power and meaning in the (subtitled) lyrics of songs sung by itinerant street musicians in Bombay than you will hear in U.S. Tin Pan Alley trash over a period of ten, no, forty years. These artists, driven to perform by vocation, survive on pennies thrown to them by a largely indifferent populace, and they sing their hearts out like ancient gods. Perhaps the most powerful of the acts featured in this one-hour documentary is The Eunuchs, a roaming community of freakish outcast males who perform in drag far better than any real women could. Sadly, the viewer forms the conviction that film-maker Robbins will never compensate them for his ripping off their act, but that does not detract from the overall experience of glimpsing an ancient world of native musical talent as it gradually vanishes into the creeping meatball of digital diversion. Strongly recommended.


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