UB40’s Jimmy Brown: I’m not a big fan of Bollywood, but I have a soft spot for old Hindi movies

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“I have always had a love affair with India,” says reggae veteran Jimmy Brown of famous English pop group UB40, reflecting on his connection to the country. And that is why he was deeply moved when India battled fiercely against the second wave of the Covid-19 crisis earlier this year.

“My message for the country in these difficult times would be a message of compassion. India and England are unlucky to have the wrong people in charge at the wrong time, ”he laments.

Reflecting on his fondness for the country, Brown, who grew up in Birmingham, shares: “It was Indian culture and Caribbean culture that shaped the streets I lived on as a child. A downtown melting pot. An area which was in decline, but which was revitalized by the influx of immigrants from the “community” in the 1950s and 1960s. “

Born in 1957, the drummer says all of his earliest memories are colored by his upbringing in this multicultural region. “That’s why when I first visited India, it reminded me of my home,” he tells us.

It was his meeting with India that gave way to his admiration for Indian cinema, but not for Bollywood in particular.

“When it comes to Bollywood, I have to admit that I’m not really a big fan. But I have a soft spot for those old Bollywood movies from the ’60s and’ 70s that were made on old technicolor stock, so they had those deep colors that were in the old Hollywood movies from the ’40s and’ 50s. And the women were. a little more voluptuous, ”he explains.

For Brown, the road to stardom started with reggae when he, along with his friends, formed the group in 1978, choosing music to make political statements and tackle real-life issues like racism.

Now the group, credited for such hits as very red wine or City of Kingstown, breathed diversity into the latest album Bigga Baggariddim, for which they also collaborated with General Zooz of India.

“It’s very eclectic and reflects our conviction that reggae is universal, generous, inclusive music for the whole world,” admits the star.

On an optimistic note, they’ve even planned a music tour in November, but India isn’t on the list.

“So far, for 2021, there is only the UK on the list. But I hope that as things open up (I hope) we will travel further. We’ll see what 2022 brings, ”he explains, adding:“ Honestly, I have no idea how it all comes down to. [tours] will unfold. Hopefully things will get back to full theaters as it’s not financially viable to shoot with audience restrictions in place. “


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