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Playback is the fusion of two very personal memories.
First memory -
I used to listen to a Hindi film song over and over again
called Dum Maro Dum,
and in the middle of it was this Asian woman
singing incredible jazz riffs in a really deep voice
and I've always remembered it.
She's called Usha Uthup, by the way, and she's fantastic.
Second memory was watching All About Eve,
which became one of my favourite films,
and I was really fascinated by the relationship
of an actor to the understudy
and, in this case, a playback singer to the star.
That whole idea of couples that are tied to each other,
need each other, but don't necessarily like each other.
The result is Playback, and I hope you enjoy it.
Now, many of you probably know
that the Bollywood film industry is the biggest in the world,
making global superstars
of the all-singing, all-dancing actors who star in them.
What you may not know is that most of these actors
don't actually sing any of their songs,
they "mime" to playback singers,
who literally become the beloved voice to the famous face.
So, ahead of tonight's sold-out Bollywood Spectacular
at the 02 arena,
I'm delighted to welcome its biggest female star, Priya Patel,
and her playback singer, Mala Mistry.
She's not here.
Erm, she just running a little bit late, I'm just hearing.
But welcome, Mala, I'm sure that we can fill time before she arrives.
Oh, no, no, no. I don't usually do the interviews without Priya Madam,
she doesn't like it.
OK, right, but I'm sure our viewers would be fascinated
to hear your wonderful story.
Yes, yes, you know, how you became the voice
of the biggest superstar in India.
I'm sorry, people usually close their eyes
when I open my mouth.
Tell me, how did you develop your talent?
- Was that at school? - School?
School was a living hell for me.
People laughed at me when I said I wanted to sing.
Right, that was because of the...
Why was that?
How do the heroines sing in our movies?
Simpering sopranos with their tinkly laughs and tiny waists,
panting around trees like pre-pubescent morons
waiting to be caught by the hero
because, God forbid, any respectable woman
should look like she wants to be caught.
So they develop this girlie descant
because that's how men think every virgin should sound.
I am a natural alto. I have never sounded like a virgin.
That and my slight facial-hair issue
meant I got called some very unfortunate names.
- Like what? - Man...
Big-balled, hairy man.
"Show us your balls, hairy man!"
Until that day when a group of my so-called friends
tried to rip off my trousers to see if I, in fact, did own a pair.
That's why I've worn a sari ever since.
- Is there any sign of Priya? - And then I discovered jazz.
Nina Simone and Sarah Vaughan and Bessie Smith -
real women who sounded like... real women,
their voices deep and dark as their pain.
So I wore my sari and I sang the blues.
I think I would have gone absolutely mad
- if it hadn't been for... - Me!
I am so sorry, everyone.
My driver got hopelessly lost on the way here,
and I had to do my make-up in the car, I must be such a mess.
- Darling! - No, you look wonderful
SHE GIGGLES Stop it! But enough about me.
Has Mala been telling you
how I rescued her from a seedy jazz club?
Well, it wasn't seedy, as such.
She was singing for her supper, literally.
And I just happened to be passing by on my usual evening charity route,
feeding these hungry little street urchins,
when I heard this...noise.
And I knew at once
that if something like that came out of my mouth,
people would remember me.
Of course I got Mala to be a little less weird,
because I didn't want to sound like an actual freak.
But what we ended up with
was a voice that went totally with my face - sexy chocolate.
That's how my voice...
..put to my face, has been described as.
I'm known as the Sexy Chocolate Girl.
Wow, sex and chocolate -
everyone's two favourite things.
I'm a celibate diabetic, so not really.
Not yours. But, er, listen, it's been a perfect partnership, hasn't it,
for both of you, really?
Priya, a shelf-full of awards over the last decade,
and, Mala, well, I'm just looking to see
exactly how many solo albums you've clocked up.
Well, Mala doesn't really need to compete with other playback singers.
You wouldn't need to, do you, darling?
Well, I wasn't allowed to, was I, madam?
But remember that contract you made me sign all those years ago?
Oof, what would I know about that?
I'm just the talent.
Which forbade me from singing solo or with anybody else.
Why would you need to?
That contract ran out finally.
you can buy this -
Do you think it's a catchy title, madam?
People love my voice, I know that.
Anyone can learn how to sing.
But we all know the camera doesn't lie.
However much you beg it.
Am I right, sweetie?
Or no. Erm...
Let's talk about tonight's concert.
I have to rush, but I'm sure that Mala
will keep all of your viewers entertained
with her fascinating stories and without little old me.
Don't be late for dress rehearsal,
the weather's playing havoc with the buses.
I love you all!
I have my backing track with me if that helps fill time.
Yes, yes. Let's go ahead with that.
Er, so here we go - a world exclusive sneak-preview now
- from Lama Mistry... - It's Mala.
It's Mala. From Mala Mistry's new album.
I'd like to dedicate this song
to the person who has been my other half for many years.
The parasite to my host,
the yin to my yang,
the ping...to my pong.
The face to all my songs...
up until now.
# They say that love is blind
# But I wasn't smart
# The prettiest face can hide a pus-filled heart
# The sunniest smile can be scabbed with lies
# Priya's a bitch with the soul of a witch and lumpy thighs
# She says she's an orphan
# Who's been lucky and good
# And now that she's blown everybody in Bollywood
# She's never paid tax
# Has all of her fat sucked out with a hose
# And everything she earned last year went straight up her nose
# You're just jealous You sad-faced cow
# Not any more
# With your pathetic lies and monobrow... #
I've had laser surgery!
# ..I'm the sun to your shadow I'm your daily bread
# Without me you're nothing
# Without me you're dead!
# If I could just rip off your face
# And put it on to mine
# Everything would be fine
# Let me rip off your face
# Let me rip it off Let me rip it off
# Let me rip it off Let me rip, rip it off... #