Kala – M.I.A.


Those who have read the famed book by Alexander Dumas of “The Three Musketeers” may recall that the name of the of fabled three were Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. However, the latter Musketeer’s name is a huge unknown for the main characters, Jamal, Salim, and Latika, in the film, Slumdog Millionaire, and somewhat ironic as the final question in Jamal’s quest on the popular gameshow, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, hangs upon knowing the name of Aramis. He ends up guessing it right by pure chance, but he really only wanted to use the ‘phone-a-friend’ lifeline to find someone if he hadn’t been able to himself. This is one of the films that really made me fall in love with India, which some might find surprising since this film isn’t exactly sunshine and daisies. The first time I saw this film was on a coach bus during a school trip to New Orleans in 2009, and this was also the first time I heard M.I.A.’s music, and I was immediately enraptured.

Jamal correctly guesses the name of the third musketeer.

This month’s Femme Pick is:

Kala by M.I.A.

I remember hearing the song “Paper Planes” for the first time while I was watching Slumdog Millionaire and I really liked how it sounded. I don’t particularly think I was aware of the meaning of the lyrics at the time, as I was only sixteen and didn’t really know what went on in other parts of the world yet. To me, it was just a catchy song that my friends and I proceeded to torture our poor chaperones with for the duration of the trip. When I returned from that trip, I begged my mom to rent it on Netflix so I could watch it over and over again. It is still one of my favorite films and soundtracks to date.

Ironically, M.I.A. came up in another soundtrack to a vastly different film that had come out a few years prior but I only had discovered shortly after this trip.

Growing up I adored an anime film called, Appleseed, and when I found out that the people who made it, made another film, I had to watch it.

Vexille is a CGI movie that takes place in 2077, in a time where technology is vastly advanced, and the country of Japan is a shadow of what it once was. The metropolitan city of Tokyo is reduced to a shanty town, and the citizens are no longer human, having become synthetic lifeforms after the Daiwa Corporation, a company that exists instead of a ruling government, used an experimental vaccine upon the populous without their knowledge. The M.I.A. song that shows up in this film is “Bird Flu,” which plays sometime around when the main characters in the film successfully infiltrate Tokyo and discover how far it has fallen for themselves. I think the use of the song is ironic, considering the mentions of disease and vaccines.

I have my hard down
So I need a man for romance
Streets are making ’em hard
So they selfish little roamers
Jumpin girl to girl
Make us meat like burgers
When I get fat
I’m gonna pop me out some leaders

It always seemed out of place to me back then, but being older now and listening to the lyrics, I can draw similarities to the desperation of the revolutionaries in the film and the subtext in the song.

My favorite songs on the album include:

  • Paper Planes
  • Bird Flu
  • Boyz
  • World Town
  • Jimmy

Who exactly is M.I.A.?

Mathangi Maya Arulpragasam, known by her stage name M.I.A. (/ɛm aɪ eɪ/), is a British rapper, singer, record producer, and activist. “

Read more about her here: 


Want to listen? Here are some links!

Enjoyed this album showcase?

Check out the full archives of our album showcase series, Vinyl Femmes & RPMs, by Erin O’Dell, here: 


Published by Erin O'Dell

Erin O’Dell lives in Red Lion, PA, USA with her boyfriend, 5 cats, a snake, and a lot of ridiculously cringe-worthy jokes. She is an ethics, history, and philosophy of world religion studies major. She may or may not also be a mermaid. She enjoys video games, vinyl, macaroni & cheese, reading, Bollywood films, bowling, and outer space. Her favorite music genres include Symphonic Rock, Heavy Metal, Indie, and Soundtracks. Her favorite bands are Counting Crows and In This Moment.

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