Hurray, hurray, hurray for Bollywood
Celebrating India's cinematic musical sensations
NEW YORK (CNN) -- They are the musical stars of Bollywood, a multibillion-dollar entertainment industry that takes its name from Bombay and Hollywood.
Those stars, whose soundtracks are as important as story lines in Indian films, recently shone in New York at the Bollywood Music Awards. An estimated 8,000 spectators turned out for the event, held last month at the Nassau Coliseum.
A.R. Rahman took home two awards, including best music director for his work in the film "Taal" and best song for "Tall Se Taal Mila." Kavita Krishnamurthy, who earned best female singer, performed one of his numbers.
The lifetime achievement award went to Mahendra Kapoor, who launched his career in 1958 when he won the all-India singing competition. Many of Kapoor's songs were written by legendary composer Ravi, who presented him with the trophy.
Kapoor says he believes in preserving traditional Indian music, rather than incorporating outside influences.
"It is ... with due apologies I feel we should stick to our own culture, our own music, which is very emotional and very sentimental," he told CNN WorldBeat after the ceremony.
When East meets West
But there's no stopping the East-West fusion.
For example, Josh, an Indian boy band, comes from Montreal, Quebec. The group was among 25 featured performers who took part in the four-hour song-and-dance spectacle.
Josh was there to promote its debut album, "Within." Band members Rup, Q and Rick blend various cultural and musical styles to achieve their sound.
"We're taking all our influences together, and we're just giving them our own flavor," says Q. "We've grown up listening to all different people, from traditional Indian music to the greats to the modern stuff."
"We have a lot of French, English (and) Western influence," Rup adds.
Shiamak Davar, who won best dance video for "Dil Chahe," also is a proponent of East-West collaboration. He recalls a concert in Delhi, in which he and Sting performed "Every Breath You Take."
"He sang in English, and I sang in Hindi, and it was like an amazing fusion," he said. "The entire crowd in the stadium just shouted."
Crossing into Western mainstream
Latin artist Jose Feliciano took home the Bridge Builder award recognizing him as the first Latin artist to cross over into the English-languate music market. Feliciano, known for such hits as "Light My Fire" and "California Dreaming," has a new single coming out next month called "Call Me Romeo."
But can South Asian musicians make the same kind of crossover in the West? Feliciano, a six-time Grammy winner, says incorporating Western beats might help introduce the music of the region to that audience.
Still, some artists prefer to prove themselves at home before trying to break into the Western mainstream market.
"There's a saying in India," said Maqsood Mahmood "Lucky" Ali, who won the best male singer award. "'You first light the lamp in your own home. And when you've done that, then you take that light and you take it out there.'"
Britain puts the spotlight on Bollywood
Bollywood Music Awards
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