Bombay Connection

Friday, 20 October 2006



Arling’s Bombay Connection Band revives the amazingly funky grooves of the background music from Hindi films of the 1970’s. For the first time in 30 years these grooves are performed live since they were recorded while the films were projected at the walls in legendary Bombay studios such as MEHBOOB and FAMOUS.

These Bollywood grooves are married to the tradition of the SITAR JAZZ. The funky grooves of the 1970s Bollywood scores, their unexpected turns and twists, and the hard-rocking psychedelic sitar explorations form the new soundtrack to the 1979 cult classic SURAKKSHA. It draws the audience into the adventures of GUNMASTER G-9, the Indian Bruce Lee-John Travolta-James Bond-in-one, filled to the brim with Bombay chases, fake-moustached villains, underwater headquarters, cheesy dances, atomic explosions and cheap special effects.


The music for the film is especially arranged by composer and arranger GERRY ARLING, of the well-known duo ARLING & CAMERON. His keen cinematic ears were instantly triggered by the unconventional, genre-crossing, energetic and sometimes outrageous Hindi film instrumentals, and led him to revive this sound on stage with a full fledged band. Performed in its original form, yet contemporising it with fresh arrangements and blending in his own compositions.


For the repertoire of the Band Edo Bouman from Bombay Connection Records dug up the most exciting slices of Bollywood funk from the vaults of Bombay, often from long forgotten B-films like CHOR POLICE, DIL DIWANA and BOMBAY TO GOA. The band also revives the closely related music of the sitar psych funk legend ANANDA SHANKAR, the cousin of RAVI SHANKAR whom married Western rock with the classical Indian sitar tradition.


The concept for the 1979 thriller SURAKKSHA (safety) was to make a film on a story line of James Bond, with a hero who fights like Bruce Lee and dances like John Travolta, Indian style. Indeed they did, and the result is a extremely colourful, wide angle funky film soaked with karate fights, motorbike chases and underseas headquarters. The film, originally 2 hours and 20 minutes long, has been brought back to 70 minutes for the show and functions as something between a feature film and a action filled trailer, compiling all best action scenes from the film at breathtaking speed.


SITAR: Tammo Heikens, Ashok Pathak
TABLAS: Sandip Bhattacharya / Sathyam Sheoratan
KEYBOARDS: Hans Kaldeway
DRUMS: Harry Arling
BASS: Gerry Arling


The dancers SUJATA GOEL and TAREK HALABY perform the piece DISCO DANCER, a choreography made after a dance in the similar titled Bollywood movie from 1982. The piece is both celebrating and commenting on the exploitation disco Bollywood films of the 1980s, making for a colorful, hilarious deconstruction with the gracious movements of refined, thoroughly trained modern dancers. Also the famous hard rocking Bollywood surf JAN PEHACHAN HO from the murder mystery GUMNAAM (1966, featured in Ghost World), is given a similar treatment by Goel and Halaby. The piece DISCO DANCER was received very well in the dance world, and has been performed in many places, among others in France (Lille3000) and the UK (Tate Gallery London). The collaboration with Bombay Connection marks the beginning of a research into the history of Bollywood dance from the 40s into the early 90s culminating in different projects.

Sujata Goel (India/USA) is schooled thoroughly in the south Indian tradition of Bharatanatyam under her teachers V.P. and Shantha Dhananjayan and at the Kalakshetra; Rukmini Devi College of Fine Arts. She worked with Madras based choreographer Padmini Chettur for 4 years and then moved to Brussels to study at Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’ contemporary dance school PARTS in Brussels. TAREK HALABY is an American-Palestinian dancer who got his dance training at the The University of Iowa. For three years he lived and worked in New York dancing with various companies and independent choreographers, after which Tarek took Brussels as his base and studied at de KEERSMAEKER’s PARTS.