Devi Brown: Director's Note

Devi BrownWe're in the process of assembling a press kit for Devi Brown. The Director's Note is something that took me a while to put together. It's work in progress and subject to change but thought I would share regardless.

Devi Brown grew out of a simple observation: '70s blaxploitation and Bollywood masala movies are long lost twins separated at birth. Perhaps not identical twins, but certainly fraternal. Consider the similarities: over the top costumes. Sticking it to The Man from an Angry Young Man. Melodrama by the pound. Vavavoom heroines. Nutty sidekicks. And last but not least, the audio. Whatever the surface trimmings, the pulsating greasy funk at the core of soundtracks on both sides of the world knew no boundaries. Small wonder then beat producers, tired of digging in their crates of blaxploitation LPs, have now increasingly started to mine Bollywood soundtracks of the same period.

Speaking of music creation, Devi Brown is our attempt to apply some of the hip hop production aesthetics to filmmaking. The time honored approach to producing a hip hop track is to start with a collection of samples from various sources, process/chop them, overlay drums and other instruments as necessary, and weld into a cohesive whole via a rapped narrative. Similarly, source material for Devi Brown was assembled from a number of Bollywood films of the 70s and early 80s. These clips or rather "samples" were then trimmed, sequenced, processed, overlaid with additional soundtrack elements from blaxploitation classics, and topped with an appropriate voiceover serving as narrative. The final product is best described as a masala mashup.

Our approach allows us to deconstruct the original source material and have a little fun with some Bollywood conventions of the time. The heroine, often relegated to a side role, now becomes the centerpiece. The hero becomes the villain. Slow expositions are dramatically accelerated; many hours worth of movies are now packed into five minutes consisting only of the action stuff, the "good parts" version, as it were. Whether our effort is successful, whether something coherent has emerged from all this mashery, is ultimately up to the viewer to discern. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did putting it together. If not, at least it will be over quickly!

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- March 26, 2008 8:42 AM // Devi Brown