Nasra Hassan '13 broke onto the WBOR scene this semester with a Bollywood music-themed radio show, "Porcelain Doll and Iron Steel." Hassan said she's watched her "fair share of Bollywood movies," and got the idea for the show after taking "Indian Cinema and Society" with Professor of Anthropology Sara Dickie last semester. Dickie's course introduced Hassan to Bollywood of the '50s and '60s. Her show features songs from Bollywood film soundtracks and the occasional Somali or Egyptian Arab song.
Is there something you wish everyone at Bowdoin knew about Bollywood music?
NH: You don't have to know the language to appreciate it. I don't. Also, if you just watch the movies, they're very fun and entertaining. You don't take them too seriously; you can't approach them too logically. If you're looking for something very realistic, they're not like that. They're very imaginative and fantastical. They're awesome.
Song that never fails to put you in a good mood?
NH: "Dilbara" by Abhijeet and Sawmya Rao from "Dhoom." My cousin's son came to visit one summer and he, like most guys, thinks that Bollywood movies are overexaggerated and very dramatic. He was laughing at us for watching it at first but then he started to get into it. By the end of the summer, we'd catch him singing it to himself.
Best thing to be doing while listening to Bollywood music?
NH: Dancing, of course. Singing along if you can, too.
What was the first soundtrack you ever bought?
NH: The "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge" soundtrack. One of my favorite actors—Shahrukh Khan—is in that movie. He's been referred to as "the King of Bollywood" and "King Khan. He's very well-known internationally and is considered an iconic actor.
Best contemporary Bollywood musician?
NH: Sonu Nigam. He's younger, but he's been around for a long time.
Favorite song to rock out to?
NH: "Dil Dooba," sung by Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal from the movie "Khakee."
Three words to sum up that song?
NH: Energetic. Melodious. Upbeat.
Best song you could recommend for someone who's never hear Bollywood music or seen a Bollywood movie?
NH: Aishwarya Rai's "Daiya Daiya" from "Dil Ka Rishta." I recommend seeing the movie, too. There was a version of "Pride and Prejudice" Rai was in.
Top three desert island soundtracks?
NH: "Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge." "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai." "Mujhse Shaadi Karoge."
If you could interview any Bollywood actor or actress—living or dead—who would it be?
NH: Well, of course, Shahrukh Khan. But also, I would interview Karisma Kapoor. [Singers in Bollywood movies are normally dubbed and] she's been dubbed singing lots of things. She's a really good dancer, too. She represents the old Bollywood movies from the 1990s. She's not like other recent Bollywood actresses. She's more original and I like her acting, a lot of her movies, and songs.
Two artists who will stand the test of time?
NH: Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik. I enjoy their voices because I recognize them in a lot of songs I hear. They're very well-known.
If you could have any song play every time you entered a room, what would it be and why?
NH: "Kuch To Bata" by Abhijeet and Alka Yagni from the "Phir Bi Dil Hal Hindustani" soundtrack. The video for the song is very comedic and makes me laugh whenever I'm listening to it.
Tune in to "Porcelain Doll and Iron Steel" with DJ Nasra Hassan every Sunday from 2 to 2:30 p.m. on WBOR 91.1 FM or streaming online at wbor.org.
-Compiled by Peter Griesmer.