Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mile sur mera what the -?

(After much belligerent prodding by Nisha Subramanian)

Since everyone must have (and that "must" is an order, not a supposition) read the epic, thorough, kvlt and, as he would say himself, amaklamatically awesome review by Grandmaster Krish Ashok, I'm not going to do the same. Instead, I will just pick on a few points that peeved me more than necessary.

Amitabh Bachchan: Isn't he overdoing that affected poetry narration thing? Anyway, his rendition of the iconic opening lines begins startlingly like "Neela aasmaaaaaaaan so gayaaaaaa." And the accompanying music. They've made it sound like that Bally Sagoo remix of "Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein." Not entirely but somewhat. And those glasses. My eyes hurt looking at them.

(Amitabh Bachchan -- above foreground -- peering at the core of the earth through our soul, with eyewear stolen from the Hubble telescope.)

Aishwarya Rai:- Yes, she figures on most people's list of pet peeves since she keeps saying "And-um..," "Becuz-um..," "So-um..," and "But-um." She tries to come across, in her interviews, as a female Brando (but about a thousand times lighter) who puts her heart and soul into her every performance. And it is heartwrenching to see her come up so short in these roles because all those movies suck. However, in this video, she scared me witless.

There I was, enjoying a rare good moment in this video -- a pleasant line sung by Shreya Ghoshal (Ghoshal also makes an appearance, zooming along on top of a double decker bus) -- when Rai appeared suddenly. Instantly, I was wary, watching whether her lips would form "Becuz-um" or any of those other words. However, and I don't know if it's just me, Rai's cheekbones seemed to be drifting away from her face. The sight terrified me.

OK fine, maybe you can't make out much here; but go watch the video. You'll see what I mean. Either she's trying to pull a Brando on us by speaking with a grape in her cheeks, or the Bionic Woman's cheeks have finally declared their independence after agonising years of flashing smile after plastic smile and started moving towards someone else's face. Possibly P V Narasimha Rao's.

(Above -- P V Narasimha Rao, minutes after hearing a joke. The "Before" picture looks the same too. He needs some cheeks.)

Then, Abhishek Bachchan appears and they reassure us they are still lovey-dovey by means of the powerful gesture of hand-holding. Abhishek will soon start resembling Javagal Srinath, judging by his moustache-less look.


("Why am I not in this video? I helped take our country to the World Cup finals once....How many Filmfare awards have I won? What--")

Also, in every relentless family promotion opportunity of theirs, they seem to miss out poor Jaya Bachchan. Which is a pity because she's quite a fine actress.

Deepika Padukone: Her presence isn't that bad a thing, certainly not. Since there was no one else in the video from Karnataka, you could perhaps argue that she stood in for all of us. However, she sang in Hindi and then someone sprayed rain all over her face. She replaced her father in what could be called a 'Nobility vs nubility' tradeoff. My peeve is, she has just one expression, one stock expression, where she seems to peer interestedly at the viewer and smile, as though inspecting an amusing yet distant insect, or recognising a lump of faeces.

("Hey, a wait, that's 'Love aaj kal' ")

In a strange statement, in that picture above, the scroller reads " Sur' evoked strong patriotic feelings and became a national song." Maybe Padukone is laughing about that as she imagines how this video will turn out.

Sonu Nigam:

What's wrong with this guy? Dude, give it a rest, stop doing the Hariharan "Oh look, I can sing zany alapanas randomly" thing. That's terribly annoying, when singers overdo that at concerts. Yes, we get it, you are virtuosos, you have mastery over your voice and the art form. The skill lies in how judiciously you use it. Unless you're singing to your teacher in music class, the audience is not going to appreciate one hour of precarious ups-and-downs over the octaves before you get to a bloody song. Also, there's no real need to demonstrate your l33t skills in 30 seconds. People are not dying en masse, the world is not ending in 2012 (or 2021. Or 2102. Or any combination of those digits.) and your concerts and "Classically mild" albums are a better place to do this stuff (and you did that really well in that album too).

Sonu Nigam fell prey to this disease some time back. He fell prey to two diseases, in fact. Whenever he sings a Kannada song, have you noticed how he sings as though he's either asthmatic or having a tepid orgasm? That worked in 'Mungaaru maLe' and 'GaaLipaTa' but he's gone and done it in every song he sings. With the result that now, whenever he sings a romantic song, I have to go buy an inhaler before watching porn.

His part of the video is strange. Apart from the Medusa hairdo and the awkward crescendo beginning, he's surrounded by a bunch of people who seem to have gathered there thinking he was a girl.

Look at the picture. None of the people around Nigam are happy. They've just discovered that this girl with lustrous locks and mellifluous voice is a dude and they're angry. And they've hired big guns for revenge. Behind Nigam's left shoulder, that seems to be Mangal Pandey in a blue shirt.

Salman Khan: I suppose there's no need for further explanation but Khan threatens to bite off the hands of a poor girl standing behind him in his bit. Shooting endangered animals, running over homeless people, unleashing 'Har dil jo pyar karega' and 'Hum tumhare hain sanam' and 'Partner' and related junk on an unsuspecting populace and now showing intent to dismember a speech/hearing-impaired child -- Salman, is there no end to your list of troubles?

Once, I was travelling on a bus where they played 'Partner' and 'Hum tumhare hain sanam' back to back. I crashed the bus into a tree, shot an endangered animal and literally ran over a homeless person (who slapped me in return). And then I died.

Aamir Khan: I admire this man's ability to make amazing and atrocious movies with equal ease. I respect his ability to take craptastic movies and create box office history. I often wonder how someone who was in 'Sarfarosh,' 'Lagaan' and '1947 Earth' could also make 'Mela,' 'Raja Hindustani' and the DD documentary-type 'TZP.' I am flummoxed, however, by his outing here. He does the Ghulam 'Aati kya Khandala?' thing. It seems he's metaphorically propositioning little children. Then he does the whole "Jadoo hai, tera hi jaadu" from 'Ghulam' hand thing. To quote Woody Allen, I, I -- I don't know, it doesn't make sense!

Shah Rukh Khan: You don't have cancer. She's not your best friend, ya. No kambakht is drinking to do bardaasht. Why the hell, then, are you doing the music maestro hand thing?

Assorted star kids: Whatever.

There are good bits in this video. But they are so few, and the dumps taken on all that is good are so many, that you forget them as soon as you watch them. The blink-and-you-miss-and-miss-even-if-you-don't-blink appearances by Abhinav Bindra, Vijendra Kumar, Sania Nehwal, the perfunctory representation of the Armed Forces (a sort of Token Black), the ever delightful Zakir Hussain, the strange but brilliant continuum fingerboard of A R Rahman (loved it in "Rehna tu" and like it a lot here as well. Somebody could have accompanied him on the theremin.),  the band dudes who play just after the Marathi Kulkarnis and again after Shah Rukh's atrocious bit (pardon my ignorance and please tell me who they are), these are the random good bits thrown in for good measure. Just so that it seems like the previous one. I admit that even the last video did not have an even representation of the various cross-sections of India's people. I suppose no video can have that satisfactorily (although Rahman's 'Vande mataram' and other Bharatbala videos do try sincerely). But making this one a film integration video rather than a national integration video is what makes people's livers catch in their throats.

The last one had its fair share of movie people too. But there were enough random people thrown in surreally to make us feel like it was about India, not just big stars. For instance, I don't know who the heck those people with Prakash Padukone were in the tiny Kannada bit of the original (which isn't fair. As Grandmaster -- Grand to friends -- points out in his, as usual, brilliant review of the original, Balamurali went on and on with the Tamil lines and they had to cut everyone else in the South down to size. Poor Kerala got just the elephant and its abnormally satisfied mahout.). I don't know those random guys (just before Kashmiri boatman) drinking tea and eating rocks (I assume). I don't know the Telugu guy who looked like he had passed the CA exams but was unable to pay the necessary bribes to get a gavarnamentu jaabu and therefore would spend his waking hours getting verbally abused by his wife, elder brother, father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, other-in-laws and getting consoled only by aged grandmother Annapoorna (whose main dialogue seemed to be the blade beginning with -- "ChooDu babu, nuvvu chaala manchivaaDivi..." etc etc) and Shankarabharanam Shankara Shastry. I don't know any of the people getting out of the Calcutta metro (except Arun Lal, who looks at the camera, no doubt 'making a room for himself'). I don't know if Narendra Hirwani is actually a human Avatar sent here by the Na'avi in a clever reverse psychology move. But that was part of the appeal. That I shared this wonderful land with all these nice, regular, well/mal-adjusted, bizarre people and that we could all get along just fine. We were insanely different but we could not let that bother us and go about our business. We could forget that we were distinct, in times of need, and come together ("....right now, over me..."). We didn't know so many people in the country but, in the end, who the fuck cares whether you know them or not as long you're nice?

So to the makers of "Phir mile sur mera tumhara," we must say ek baar phir se milne ki koshish karo. Until then, "Thu, ond video maaDak baralla, boLi makkLa!" should suffice.


pooja said...

And they've forgotten the Ambanis, Mittal, (Mumbai) Dhabbawallas etc who are unique in their own way.

Why was Kavita Krishnamurthy singing in Kannada?
If Deepika Padukone was representing Karnataka, why on earth was she wearing that small stupid dress and pointlessly standing in some water body(?) (with her same boring expression)?!

Kamal Hassan, Rajanikanth etc were left out although they're as legendary as the annoying Mr Bachchan. Its understandable, the video couldn't feature all the greats from India but having Shahid Kapoor do his gay boy type of act (No! He is not Freddie Mercury) was redundant and time wasted.

".... Thu, ond video maaDak baralla, boLi makkLa! should suffice". Indeed.

Arjun Sharma said...

Although I don't agree with the comment about the dress, your point about the dabbawalas and industry guys is a good one. Narayanamurthy, Premji, the fantastic ISRO guys, Dr. Kalam, Sachin, Dhanraj Pillai, Paes & Bhupathi, Vishwanathan Anand, all of them were omitted.

Heh, 'gay' is not a pejorative here, I guess. Yeah, he was overdoing his 'Oh look, I am cool because I can hold a mike and bend it thus and thus and scream at it while it cannot scream back' thing.

Nisha said...

I want credit for your article since it was my belligerent tone that "motivated" you. Or else I will write a mocking article about this mocking article with pictures of your face etc.


pooja said...

Arjun - No, 'gay' wasn't pejorative here. I clarified that y'day as well. :P

Parisarapremi said...

ನಿನ್ನ ಈ ತನಿಖಾತ್ಮಕ ಲೇಖನಕ್ಕೆ ಬಹುಶಃ ಈ ಸಲದ ಜ್ಜಾನಪೀಠ ಪ್ರಶಸ್ತಿ ಬರುತ್ತೆ ಅನ್ನಿಸುತ್ತೆ.

ಸೋನು ನಿಗಮನು ಯಾಕೋ ಮಾನಸಿಕವಾಗಿ ಅಸ್ವಸ್ಥನಾಗಿದ್ದಾನೆ ಅನ್ನಿಸುತ್ತಿದೆ. ಅವನ ಚರ್ಯೆಗಳೂ ಹಾಗೆಯೇ ಇದೆ! ಅಲ್ವೇ?

snippetsnscribbles said...

Supremely well-written ri!!

Sakkkkat maja bhanthu nimma lekhana vodhi :-))))

Arjun Sharma said...

[Nisha] Yes, I owe the inspiration to you. Although I'd like to see that meta-mocking article.

Unlike Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Rajkumar Hirani, see how I've given you credit in small letters right at the top, instead of in small letters at the end.

[Pooja] Achacha. This time, you're forgiven.

[ಪರಿಸರಪ್ರೇಮಿ] ಖಂಡಿತ ಬರಬೇಕು. ಕನಿಷ್ಠಪಕ್ಷ ಒಂದು ಭಾರತ ರತ್ನನಾದರೂ ಬರಲೇಬೇಕು.

ಅವನು ಹಲವು ವರ್ಷಗಳಿಂದ ವಿಚಿತ್ರವಾಗಿ ಆಡ್ತಿದಾನೆ. ಮೊದಲು ಅವನನ್ನ ಅರೆಸ್ಟ್ ಮಾಡಬೇಕು. ಆಮೇಲೆ ಮಾನಸಿಕ ಆರೋಗ್ಯ ತನಿಖಾ ನಿಗಮ ಅವನನ್ನ ಪರೀಕ್ಷಿಸಬೇಕು. 'ಸೋನು ನಿಗಮ ನಿಗಮ' ಅಂತ.

[snippetsnscribbles] Heh, thanks ri. BahaLa dina aagittu nimmanna (online lokadalli) noDi. Hegidira?

Anonymous said...

today i promised ..henceforth not to read random blogs from office. i got into such a giggling fit reading this that my colleagues thought i had lost 'IT'
I was amused with the video. did nothing to my patriotism. Only thing that interested me was ARR's fingerboard.
enjoyed 25 also.
malathi S
(caught this link from one of my gbuzz followers..ciao)

New to Blogging said...

very well written, great laugh:) keep it up