Anjula Acharia-Bath, the woman behind Lady Gaga and Britney Spears’s Bollywood collaborations, might be living in the US, but she is a true desi at heart. So much so, that the 38-year-old serves fusion pop culture to fans across the globe with her website, DesiHits.com. “All the celebrities have different thoughts on India and Indians. Recently, Lady Gaga met Priyanka Chopra at Gaga’s concert in New York, and they got on really well. Gaga is incredibly sincere and dying to reach India. 50 Cent loved India when he came and wants to come back,” says Anjula.
Anjula, who grew up in a suburb in the UK, wasn’t a Bollywood movie buff until her cousin forced her to see Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. “After watching that film, I fell in love with Bollywood. I still think it’s one of the best Hindi movies ever made,” she said. Since then, she stays updated with Bollywood happenings through epapers and friends from India. “I actually read your paper online a lot,” she said.
The desi magic
DesiHits was created after Anjula and her husband, Ranj Bath, realised the craze for fusion abroad, “We created a global platform that creates and curates content, showcasing the best fusion pop culture content combining the east and the west,”says Anjula. They aim to cash on the huge and fast growing Indian diaspora overseas, which is as interested in Priyanka Chopra as in Lady Gaga.
Explaining the sudden demand of Indian artists in the International music industry, she adds, “Bollywood’s always been big in the UK. It will be hard for true Bollywood movies to really crossover and become as mainstream in the US or UK as we might hope, but I think it’s absolutely possible for the music to break through mainstream in those countries.”
India abroad challenge
The biggest challenge she says is to create content that works in both markets -— India and USA. “In the past we have seen artists like Kylie Minogue and Snoop Dogg do songs and videos in Bollywood movies, I don’t feel that the content resonated with the global audiences and in both cases we didn’t see those artist promote the songs outside India, and in many cases they were mocked,” she says.
“When we created tracks with a Bollywood theme for Gaga and Britney, they promoted them to their global audiences aggressively, so it was great for Salim and Sulaiman and Culture Shock (music band) to have their work going out to a huge audience outside of India as it was for both Britney and Lady Gaga to have music that could extend their audiences in India,” she says.