Extract from the forthcoming Route of Evil – being released 15th September
It felt very odd, to hear the noise of the troupe’s feet pounding on the floor, the audible gasps and grunts. They were not quite drowned out by the playback of the pre-recorded song. The featured actors were trying and failing to lip-sync with that track, someone was calling out instructions because nothing of the noise within this set would make it onto the movie soundtrack.
To Anoushka Chakraborty it looked and sounded more like an aerobics session; it presented none of the magic of Bollywood.
Yet the movie makers knew their stuff. Project a series of backgrounds on to the blue screen behind the dancers, pump up the volume of the song and the cinema version would be jumping. The end product’s sudden leaps from backdrop to backdrop and instant changes of costume mid-routine could be somewhat disturbing but this had become a regular and popular part of the essence of traditional Bollywood.
Anoushka had been summoned to a meeting at the studio where they were hosting some VIP to whom she had yet to be introduced. Anoushka was a model and an up-and-coming actress, so such a summons to the studio was never questioned.
Looking at the cast, still energetically performing their routine, she knew that few of the actors in this line-up could sing, even though some were big Bollywood names. That’s why they were lip-syncing to a recording made by established professional singers.
The background singers would be listed in the opening sequence of the movie, many had developed a huge following of their own. Sometimes it was the listing of these singers that brought out an audience to see a movie; one that was otherwise not particularly well regarded. She was one of a new breed of actor who actually sang their own songs, she had even had a shot at writing lyrics too.