INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: American Chai

 

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Estiven
American Chai Oct 08, 2003 09:10 p.m.


Has anyone heard of this movie? "American Chai"

I have been looking for a long time for this movie to come out on video, but it seems to have fallen off the fac of this earth!

(for those who haven't seen it, this is a story that takes place in Edison NJ, (little India) about an indian-american college student who plays the sitar in a fusion rock band. (yes I know that might sound disrespectful, being that one can say we havent yet fused north and south indian music yet) The only thing is, his parents think he is not in school as a music major, but for becoming a doctor. )

The movie came out like 2 years ago, and even won an award at some film festival.
so really, I'm just curious to see what kind of sitar he had, and how he played, being that back when I watched it, I hadn't even held a sitar before. (those were my "B.S." years (before sitar : )

thanks for any info, even if you just heard of it, post something, so I know I am not just going crazy because I'm afraid I might have only dreamt it!

thanks, Estiven

Heram
Re:American Chai Oct 08, 2003 10:28 p.m.


Hi friend, did a search on google and got 137,000 hits. heres one...

http://www.comingsoon.net/movies/a/americanchai.php

says its not on dvd or vhs

Heram

Has anyone heard of this movie? "American Chai"

I have been looking for a long time for this movie to come out on video, but it seems to have fallen off the fac of this earth!

(for those who haven't seen it, this is a story that takes place in Edison NJ, (little India) about an indian-american college student who plays the sitar in a fusion rock band. (yes I know that might sound disrespectful, being that one can say we havent yet fused north and south indian music yet) The only thing is, his parents think he is not in school as a music major, but for becoming a doctor. )

The movie came out like 2 years ago, and even won an award at some film festival.
so really, I'm just curious to see what kind of sitar he had, and how he played, being that back when I watched it, I hadn't even held a sitar before. (those were my "B.S." years (before sitar : )

thanks for any info, even if you just heard of it, post something, so I know I am not just going crazy because I'm afraid I might have only dreamt it!

thanks, Estiven[/quote]

anjan
Re:American Chai Oct 09, 2003 09:39 a.m.


I've seen "American Chai". While its intentions were noble, it's a pretty forgettable movie. The dialogue is pretty cliched, as is the story line (generational culture clash within a traditional Gujarati family). With the success of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" I can see why the climate for this film was so good when it was released. But the buzz didn't last long.

As for Aloke Mehta (the lead actor/singer/sitarist) in the film, he plays a Ravi Shankar style sitar. If I remember correctly, it had 2 gourds on it. He didn't play much classical stuff in the movie, except for a bit of alap towards the middle. He is a passionate singer though. During his scene where he plays guitar and sings at a cafe, he is accompanied by an actual classical tabla player named Monir Hossain. I've seen Monir play before - he has accompanied the likes of Partho Chatterjee, Nayan Ghosh and Hariprasad Chaurasia.
If anyone is interested in hearing him play, there is an MP3 soundclip available on Raga.com... He accompanies Pt. Nayan Ghosh. Guess who is the tanpura player on this home recording?

Aloke Mehta.

To fans of the movie... I thought it was a nice idea... just not that well executed. Sorry, it just wasn't... er... my cup of chai. (cough).

anjan.

Jeff
Re:American Chai Oct 09, 2003 09:52 a.m.


I remember a movie from years ago called "The Guru", it had lots of sitar playing in it.
The story line is something like, a hip young british pop star takes an interest in the sitar and goes to India for lessons, he meets his 'Guru" and they become friends. There may be more of a plot but I dont remember.
Anybody remember this movie? I know I first saw it about 15 years ago, but it has an early 70's late 60's flair to it, so its most likely quite a bit older.
Jeffrey R King
Billy
Re:American Chai Oct 09, 2003 10:08 a.m.



Jeff (Oct 09, 2003 09:52 a.m.):
I remember a movie from years ago called "The Guru", it had lots of sitar playing in it.

Holy Cow, what a memory jog! I remember this movie, it came out while I was in High School, in the late sixties or 70. This was during my early hippie period, so of course I went to see this one. I'll look it up in the movie database, but as I recall, it had a very young Michael York in it, about the same time he was in Romeo and Juliet.

I think this was the first India-themed movies I saw, although it was a Hollywood production. But after that, I started seeing them more often. I lived near TCU, and the theatre there had India "art films" quite often. Sometimes my dates didn't have my enthusiasm for these movies, and that was one of my barameters; if they didn't like that kind of movie, then I usually didn't take them out again!

Anyway, I appreciate the reminder. Later when I get a chance, I'll look it up and find out the year and details for sure.

By the way, there was a recent movie "The Guru" a year ago; it just came out on DVD a couple of months ago. Really funny, not so much of an India theme, its about an Indian that comes to the US to get into movies; in fact I wonder if some Indians might be insulted by it. It didn't get much of a showing at theatres, and only fair reviews, but still watchable, and has a great Bollywood-style dance scene to a "Grease" song, which almost makes the whole movie worthwhile!


Namaste',
Billy Godfrey
Billy
Re:American Chai Oct 09, 2003 02:39 p.m.


Yep, "The Guru" was produced in 1969, and starred Michael York. Here's something interesting from the credits; composer/original music/played by include Ustad Imrat Khan and Ustad Vilayat Khan!

In fact, here's a list of all the "musicians":
Ustad Fayez Ahmed Khan ... singer
Ustad Imrat Khan ... lyricist: "Tom's Boat Song"
Ustad Imrat Khan ... musician: surbahar and sitar
Ustad Shakoor Khan ... musician: sarangi
Ustad Vilayat Khan ... musician: sitar
Ustad Zinda Hasan Khan ... singer
Pandit Shanta Prasad ... musician: tabla
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala ... lyricist: "Tom's Boat Song"
Michael York ... singer: "Tom's Boat Song"


Namaste',
Billy Godfrey
DaveP
Re:American Chai Oct 09, 2003 03:46 p.m.


I've seen "The Guru" twice. It was one of the motivating factors that finally decided me to chuck in my career in the advertising industry and go to Varanasi (1974/75) for some serious sitar study.

The film was a Merchant Ivory production. About a year ago I emailed them to find out if they intended to re-release it on DVD - no reply however - oh well.

Some compensation is that I have the original soundtrack on vinyl.

Billy
Re:American Chai Oct 09, 2003 04:00 p.m.



DaveP (Oct 09, 2003 03:46 p.m.):
The film was a Merchant Ivory production. About a year ago I emailed them to find out if they intended to re-release it on DVD - no reply however - oh well. Some compensation is that I have the original soundtrack on vinyl.

Yeah, it wasn't even listed on VHS. I'd put up with VHS to see it.

That soundtrack has got to be rare!

To be honest, I don't remember a whole lot about it. I seem to recall York looked a bit out-of-place, but he was still a little green back then. I'd love to see it again. I'll put some feelers out...


Namaste',
Billy Godfrey
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