"Paper Planes" is also heard in this year's acclaimed "raga to riches" story (thanks Bill Bentley via Roy Trakin) Slumdog Millionaire along with the score by A.R. Rahman, who is well known in his native India, but is a relatively new discovery in the U.S. (outside of foreign-film buffs, who are likely familiar with his work).
The accolades for the music in Slumdog Millionaire are satisfying not only because it's an incredibly film, but because it may help Indian-influenced music receive wider recognition in the U.S.
Through the years, Indian-influenced music has occasionally seeped into the pop consciousness in the U.S. The Beatles may have been the first to utilize them way back in 1965 when George Harrison, under the influence of Ravi Shankar, played a sitar on "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)." The Beatles association helped Shankar gain greater recognition in the U.S.
More than three decades later, multi-racial, London-based group Cornershop released a version of "Norwegian Wood" sung in Punjabi on its 1997 album, When I Was Born For the 7th Time. The same album also featured "Brimful Of Asha," which became a modern rock hit.
Fast-forward 11 years and Indian-influenced music is once again in the spotlight, thanks to M.I.A., A.R. Rahman and Slumdog Millionaire. Here's hoping these wonderful sounds continue to gain traction in the U.S.
- Slumdog Millionaire