As the title might warn you, this post contains a considerable amount of Tamil untranslated, coz translating it would remove the quirky spirit of what is said.
I’ve always been amazed at the utter inability of some of my relatives to pronouncing words which most others seem to take for granted. I mean, you would expect people who don’t trip over the tricky Tamil “zha” syllable to call me Priya and not Pi-ri-yaa! That’s only the beginning – Padmavathi is Bathmavadhi, Lalitha becomes Lalidha, Mahesh is Magesh. Kamal Haasan is Kamalagaasan. Krithika becomes Kiruthihaa. And funnily, some of them go on to spell it that way! Like, a popular Indian blogger is named Kiruba Shankar. I wondered where he might be from, with such an outlandish name. Turns out he’s Tamilian. And the name? When I heard a relative trip over my neighbor Kripa’s name, I knew.
I have an aunt in Nyakpur, the city so famous for its oranges. She makes a pilgrimage to Tiruppadhi atleast once a year. She’s also picked up some rudimentary Kannada – she now says “naanu barle”, a combination of the Tamil “naan varle” and Kannada “baralla”, both of which mean “I won’t come”/”I’m not coming” when I ask her if she’s coming home this month or what. A Mysorean uncle is getting quite Tamil-ized, he even says “Neeru Challidum”, instead of “Neeru Chalbidatte”.
Can’t blame them, can we? Tamil TV channels broadcast every damn thing in Tamil, including Powerpuff Girls and Superman cartoons. And also Chinese and English movies.
English: Oh, God! It’s hurting him!
Tamil: Ayyo, kadavulae! adhu avana kaayapaduthardhu!
English: (Titanic) Jack, I don’t know you, and you don’t know me!
Tamil: Jack, enaku unna theriyaadhu, unaku enna theriyaadhu!
English: We love you very much, forever
Tamil: Naanga unna romba rommmbaaa naesikarom, eppozhudhumae.
English: Princess hates the Powerpuff Girls
Tamil: Andha Raajakumaari-ku Powerpuff Girls-a pidikavae pidikalai.
English: “Dad! Look! A dinosaur!”
Tamil: “Daddy! anga paarunga, Palli!!” (palli=lizard, normally the ones on walls and behind tubelights, but what the heck)
And Chinese and English movies are replete with expressions like “Adi Aathadi!”, “Adi Aathi!” “Enna Raasa!”.
Countless endearments in English have been replaced with “En kannu-la?” or “En raasaathi!“. “Hey, buddy” turns into “Yenna machi”, “Yaen Machaan“, “Enna da maama“. Quite natural, that is; it’s a translation. But “You die today” turning into “Machchi, nee gaaali machi inniki” makes me smile. And “Inna? Nee perriiiyya pista-va?” from a Chinese monk was shocking at the least. And not to forget a white policeman saying “Naalu moththu moththina vaaya tharapaanga“. Or delicate-looking Chinese and white women calling their husbands “innaaangaa“, or other men “saaaar!” in total Madras spirit.
What took the cake was a bunch of Chinese drunk men singing “Ponaal Pogattum Poda“. But my personal favorite has to be this Chinese man opening a tap and commenting on its lack of flow with “Aatha, idhu ennadhidhu, thanni kaaveri-thanni maadhiri guppu-guppu-nu vardhu?“
And the icing on the cake:
My grand-uncle (now he isn’t one who trips over my name… he’s completely Bangalore-ized) tells me of watching the sports news on Sun TV and hearing about the exploits of this awesome tennis legend-in-the-making (or maybe legend… I’m not clued in to tennis, correct me if I’m wrong) called David NaLapaandiyan (notice the harder, Indian L), who plays for Argentina. Argentina! Now grand-uncle gets extremely concerned about this brawn-drain (i
f you see this phrase anywhere else, remember, you read it first here nope, just googled for it, and found it’s used quite often in the same sense… damn! I can’t patent that phrase and use the cash to buy coffee-table books with jang bang illustrations and tasteful photographs) that’s happening; I mean, why can’t this dude play for India?
Close up to headshot of Mr. NaLapaandiyan, and he turns out to be a complete Vellakaaran (white man), blonde hair and all. Okay… maybe he has a Vellakaari mother, he thinks. And then he sees the name, and in English, it is spelled David Nalbandian, and pronounced so on NDTV and elsewhere.
And… it’s an easy mistake to make… Tamilians are ubiquitous… seen in every damn part of the world. And not in corner-shops always – every second name in American, Australian, German, British or Canadian universities, or R&D labs or Corporate environments seems to be some Natarajan or Ramakrishnan, or Ramachandran, or Ramaswamy or Kandasamy, or Muniswamy or Subramanian…. Tams have their cake and eat it too
It’s been a busy few days, hasn’t it? No, I don’t mean me… just folks at Calcutta, Varanasi, Lucknow and Faizabad. Something tells me there’s more to come.
Blasts in small towns. Protests turning ugly in the City of Joy. The sleeper cells are waking up, and how! Moving into bustling towns and big cities. Merging with the local populace. Fanning violent emotions. Playing on people’s prejudices. Using the smallest of excuses to cause widespread violence and loss of lives. And causing enough confusion to almost make fast cities go up in flames.
It’s not new. Remember at one point of time there used to be a riot in Bangalore every other month? And what excuses… The death of Annavaru. Saddam’s execution (“There was hardly anything happening in Iraq itself… people will outsource ANYTHING to Bangalore”, said a friend of mine). And if you reading this thought it was coz Bangies simply love rioting and burning buses… well, LeT seems to be having its way.
I lately got my hands on half an audiobook of Haroun and the Sea of Stories. A nice fantasy story for kids, which at the same time, makes a powerful statement about freedom of speech, and why dictators fear it. The dark villain Khattam-Shud kidnaps Princess Baat-Cheet. “Why”, Haroun asks, “Why do you hate stories so much? They are so nice…”. Khattam-Shud replies, “I want to rule the world. And in each story is a world which is beyond my reach”. Holds true, doesn’t it, for Ms. Taslima Nasreen?
And we found a mirror of our blog . Tuna and me were taken aback at first… but then it turned out to be a mirror service for WordPress in Turkey – WP is banned in Turkey! And why? Well, so there was this guy who was famous enough to have blogs making disparaging remarks about him. And his lawyers asked WP to remove the offensive sites, but WP didn’t. So this guy gets a Turkish court to block access to wordpress.com from all of Turkey. Reading the reason behind the mirroring, I remembered there had been a post on the WP blog about it not very long ago, and an update, too. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk must be turning in his grave.
The time seems ripe for another revolution. Not the RDB kind… that only serves to make martyrs out of people. We need education. Freedom of Speech. Truth, and please, not by just repeated assertion. A Renaissance. And it should start with the Media and primary schools, and that’d take care of the rest.
Tailpiece: I found this bit somewhere.
“Aaj Tak harped on the same old refrain that ‘Modi did not call the Army until three days had passed’. When the TV channel contacted me on phone to get my response, I told the anchor that the Godhra carnage took place on February 27, 2002, that the Hindu backlash commenced on February 28 and the Army was doing flag march on the forenoon of March 1… He cut me short by saying that ‘This is exactly what we had said, no action was taken by Modi on 29th, 30th and 31st thus giving three clear days to the murderers…’ I had to cut him short by reminding him that the date 28th was 28th of February 2002 and there were no 29th, 30th or 31st in that month. The phone was of course disconnected.”
Leave aside Godhra, leave aside Modi, leave aside talk of pogroms, carnages and holocausts. Just February of the 28 days (29 in leap year) fame. And we depend on such folks for our daily dose of what’s happening in the world… I don’t know whether to feel more sorry for the ignorant dodos in front of the cameras and behind the mike, or for me and the rest of the Indian populace.
It’s a universal phenomenon. Bathroom singing is. Spread worldwide. Transcends everyone. Why, Kishore Kumar was recognized as a good singer only after when SD Burman heard him sing in the shower.
Apparently, there’s a bathroom in Nrityagram called the Singing Bathroom. It has no door, just the privacy of a walled spiral path to it, and so the user sings to inform unsuspecting others of his/her presence.
Now there’s also a contest of that name.
Various reasons why people sing in the shower. One school of statistics says that the number of bathroom singers went up after the Liril ads. I remember a neighbor who might or might not have belonged to that category. Our houses were incredibly close, and I used to “listen” to Mayamruga, Dandapindagalu, and a whole host of Kannada serials. Every morning, this girl, just a few years older than me, used to sing in the shower. And much to my ire, she happened to be a good singer with a great repertoire ranging from Michael Jackson (that was when girls were swooning over him, and sound effects like “Aoowwwww” were übercool) to MS Subbulakshmi. My ire, because ma constantly cited her (good) example.
Back then, my ten-year-old mind failed to grasp the whole concept of singing in the shower… it seemed so… unnatural! This I mentioned in a scornful tone, to Mona at school. Now Mona’s that goodie-good girl who all the teachers like, and every student is supposed to emulate. “Hey, I also sing ya!”, she said, shocking the hell out of me. There she stood, tarnished in my mind, she who could never make a mistake. Why did she sing in the shower? “Sometimes I feel scared ya, that’s why”. Okay, double PR error there. Mona wasn’t invincible – she felt scared taking a bath, even! The story spread far and wide, and Mona stock fell steeply in the next few weeks. Aided by Mona submitting her homework diligently when the rest of us slacked off and had to stand outside the class.
I’ve come a long, long way since then. There was a summer camp I attended, where our leader was this cheerful twenty-year-old who sung Madonna and Christina Aguilera in the showers – I must say her Lady Marmalade was unbeatable… along with all us kids chorusing Mocha Chocolata yea yea. I grew slightly music-mad at age thirteen, and Radiocity came along, keeping me company throughout my day at age fourteen. Rohit Barker and Vera Malkani played awesome music in the mornings [Tell me you'll be back, but that will take some time, I'm wa-a-aitin'], and I sung along [I'm wa-a-aitin', yeaaah, yeaaah] while preparing for school. The karaoke livened up my mornings, woke me up properly, and left me in a more upbeat mood.
And at NITK… it’s a community phenomenon. Everyone sings. And it also serves the additional purpose of warning the others that you’re there, using the bathroom, coz the power-conscious activists’ll otherwise just snap off the lights.
And the small space ensures maximum reverberation…. sounds like a recording studio, according to some folk here, thanks to the tiles and echoing. And it sometimes becomes a community singing session… people in adjacent bathrooms, the ones doing their laundry, people whose rooms are close by….
Yeah, so it’s a feel-good thing, everyone does it, it’s enjoyable, it’s sometimes used in voice training, and people who have absolutely no musical talent in the real world somehow seem to come alive within the four walls of the bathroom.
Well, so I was in the middle of a rendition of Nazia Hasan, when Nazia Hasan’s voice suddenly started echoing from somewhere. No, no, it wasn’t her spirit come back to punish me or anything for rendering it a cappella, it was one of those ubiquitous iPods.
It took me a while, but I realized that people were using the iPods to select their bathroom singing playlist! You read right. Bathroom Singing is now a competitive sport!
So I sing Norwegian Wood, and I hear I’m With You echo across the place. And then began a Request Show! Of all things! And the most agonizing thing was, it consisted of Himesh, Kailash Kher and other nasalists (a la novelist, or saxophonist, or keyboardist) and assorted people all prefixed by DJ.
I assume these girls must come from places where singing in the shower is taken heck seriously, and in their showers, there probably will be jingchak speakers that look right out of Star Wars, with a specially chosen playlist, probably some sophisticated algo that chooses the next track which will be a function of the temperature of the room, the temperature of the water, the time of the day, the current rating of the song on Magnatune, iTunes and Napster, the age of the singer, the age of the bathroom singer, and other assorted criteria which may or may not include the raag of the song and the romantic history of the bathroom singer , and where lyrics flash across the walls of the room… I mean, some people find it hard to get the yeowwwws right when they sing MJ.
I really admire the determination of these people to get ahead of the rest of the pack in this realm… it takes determination to consent to bring your iPod to such a bog, especially one where your soap and shampoo compete for space on a precarious ledge, and your good days are ones where you don’t trip over your soap when it hits the floor.
But, oh, well, I guess maybe bathroom singing isn’t meant to be as impromptu as I thought it was…. maybe you need to practice, be the best ever bathroom singer there ever was.. Maybe some people have ambitions that reach that high. I mean, people practice to win rock-paper-scissors tourneys.
As for me, it’s just the place where I sing all those songs which I can’t sing in the room coz my roommate’s asleep, or at home coz Ma thinks Elvis is Evil.. and I don’t think there’s any place that’ll let me give a full rendition of Pettai Rap, or sing the Top Gun theme a cappella.
Well! I’m amazed! I actually watched a masala movie first day first show. And it wasn’t even impromptu – We actually got tickets in advance – another first for me.
New experience, this. I also watched this movie sans any expectations, and only a faint idea of what to expect, apart from SRK.
So.. well.. unprejudiced mind. A propah review. Here it comes.
It all starts thirty years ago, on the sets of Subhash Ghai’s Karz. Rishi Kapoor dancing to [surprise, surprise!] Om Shanti Om. Enthu extra [Guess who. Guess who] in the crowd dancing. RK throws off his jacket. Enthu Extra catches it. Aggressive Female Extra (played by Farah Khan) fights with him over it. Enthu Extra wears jacket. Dreams of himself in place of RK. Song ends. Enthu Extra in starry pose. Aggressive Female Extra says “Superstar ke jacket pehenne se superstar nahin bante!”. Enthu Extra: “Tujhe kya, tu is film ke director ho, kya?”. Aggressive Female Extra: “Main director hoti toh tujhe kab ka nikaal di hoti”.
That did it. My verdict was given. And three hours later, it hadn’t changed much.
Well, anyway, Enthu Extra, we discover, is called Om Prakash Makhija. And anyone with a last name like that, we learn, is doomed to non-stardom. Just like… um… Govinda Ahuja
Shreyas Talpade plays hero’s friend. And holds his own even while sharing screenspace with SRK; fits the role like a glove. And Kiron Kher… mother of all overacting filmi moms. She gives the “Beta, tum aa gaya!” cliche a whole new lease of life. And reveals to us, “Asif-ji ne mujhe bulaye the… agar tu mere kok me na hote toh Mughal-e-Azam ke Anarkali Madhubala nahin, Bela Makhija hoti… Waise Madhu ne bhi role achchi tarah se ki..“.
Then we meet Shantipriya, the “Dreamygirl”, whose poster Om talks to, lengthy monologues interspersed with “Tum bore toh nahin ho rahi ho, na?“.
Filmfare awards. Om and Pappu Master steal Manoj Kumar’s passes, and manage to hoodwink the guards with “Mera Bharat Mahaan, Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” and hand strategically placed over face, Manoj Kumar ishtyle. And Om meets Shanti when her dupatta gets entangled in the Shirdi Sai Baba amulet around his wrist, which his maa tied around his wrist…..
Yes, yes, the story is getting lame. It gets worse. There are mindblowing leaps of logic, but if you mind that, Manorama Six Feet Under would be a better way to spend three hours, Mind It. Oh, and SRK also does a scene in a Sambar Western, where he plays Quick Gun Murugan [Remember him on [V]? And Udham Singh? I heard the dude who played Udham Singh married Pooja Bhatt… but I digress].
Enter our villain. The oh-so-suave sleek-ponytailed film-producer Mukesh Mehra (“Call me Mike. Everyone in Hollywood does”), played by *whistles and oooohs and sighs, please* Arjun Rampal.
Anyway, we come to plot twist 1. And then plot twist 2. And the much-awaited deaths of the lead pair. And the reincarnation of SRK. In this janam as star-son Om Kapoor, (“Call me OK, everyone in Bollywood does”) ‘just good friends’ with Preity, Bipasha and.. Sanjay Kapoor, who wins Filmfare Best Actor award (For Phir Bhi Dil Hai NRI or Main Bhi Hoon, Na), beating Abhishek Bachchan (nominated for Dhoom 5), Hrithik, and Akshay Kumar (nominated for The Return of Khiladi), and causing much heartbreak and swearing-under-breath.
Thankfully there are no thunder-and-lightning shots or repeated close-up shots of photos and idols of gods when the realization of his past birth hits him. Farah Khan doesn’t make the mistake of underestimating her audience and dwelling on the revelation.
Predictably, Om finds Sandy, who looks like Shanti, and plots and plans delivering justice to the memory of Shanti. Plot twist 3. The end.
Yes, it is paisa-vasool. Yes, it calls for suspension of disbelief. While these are normally seen as negative traits in movies, I wouldn’t quite say that about OSO. It can be called nothing but a masala movie, but it is quite unabashedly, enjoyably, delightfully, delectably one. It does not pretend to awaken the inner you, it does not pretend to attempt to bring out patriotism in you, it does not call itself a “Different” movie. The very honesty about the way it’s been made has its own appeal.
Farah Khan, just like she did in Main Hoon Na, pays tribute to the Hindi films of the ’70s and the cliches associated with them – the maa sentiment has been done to death, but so endearingly so… the language (“Happys endings”), the clothes, the behaviour of stars, the choreography…
The music suits the plot, and at no point of time did I feel a song was uncalled for, unlike my “Oh, maaaaan, stoppit!” when I was watching Sivaji. And the song picturizations!! What slick editing! You have an old video of some Sunil Dutt song, and it’s made to look like Deepika Padukone is dancing with him. One of the best things about Farah Khan is that her song picturizations are innovative, with the innovation giving the viewer something to look forward to (“Oh! Man! She’s dancing with Sunil Dutt!” and in Main Hoon Na, “Watae! The camera just follows her, no cuts!”), not just arbit stats that you’re supposed to “ooooh!” at (Do I really care if the 1000-odd sunflowers in that song in Nayak were computer-generated?).
And when the stats are something to “oooooh!” at, the “ooooh”s really are heartfelt, as in “Dharmendra! Oh.. look! Jeetu, and Tusshar Kapoor! Oh, my!! Shilpa Shetty! Kajol! Man, she looks so perfect as usual! Zayed Khan! Re-e-kh-aa! Oh, god, she looks so vampish! Karisma! Man, she’s still soooo…… why isn’t she doing any movies now? Oh. My. God… is that Tabu? *Sigh*”. And here, of course, I’m talking about the much-hyped song with 31 stars in it, and it certainly does live up to all the hype – it is shot so excellently, and all the stars look really ravishing.
Oh, and the ending credits. Just like Main Hoon Na, this flick also has its credits with everyone from SRK to the Spot Boys getting screen time, all looking their best. Watch the credits roll till the end, you won’t regret it.
The performances all simply fall in place, the characters don’t astound you individually, or catch your eye; they are just part of an overall effect. Which is perfect as far as I was concerned – what’s the point if you’re watching the movie just for SRK, or for Deepika Padukone, or Arjun Rampal if that’ll just make you miss the entire combined effect?
OSO does have its negatives, though. The senti, emotional, dramatic scenes are where Farah Khan loses her footing. Not too much, though, and she gets back in shape there with cliches. And there aren’t too many of those scenes – just a couple in the end of the first half, and a few in the second half.
And saving the best for the last – the dialogues. They aren’t Sholay-ishtyle hard-hitting ones. They are that sort that put a smile on your face when you listen to them.
And to conclude, I’ll say it’s worth a watch. On big screen, preferably. Look forward to a great first-half, an okay-ish second half, great music, great dialogues. This is one flick that lives up to all the hype it brought upon itself. Its arbit, irreverent style is what appealed best to me, best characterized by the following sequence:
Shanti: Apne naam nahin bataaoge toh kaise thank-you kahoon?
Om: Dosti ka rules – no sorry, no thank you.
Shanti: (laughs) Koi film ka dialogue hai kya?
Om: Abhi tak nahin….
Pappu Master: Om apna dialogues khud likhta hai
Shanti: Dosti ki hai, nibhani toh padegi
Outside there’s a gawky kid writing down “No sorry, no thank-you”.
Director: Sooraj-bete, kya kar rahe ho?
Sooraj: Ji, dialogue likh raha hoon.
And… I hope I haven’t spoiled anything for anyone… ‘coz Picture abhi baaki hai, mere dost. Enjoy!
PS: It feels so good to have your exams finish a full fortnight before everyone else’s. And it feels even better that all around you are slogging away for CAT, and you are not. Yeeha!!
PPS: One of my friends called out my name, and my lookalike happened to respond. “Oh,”, she said, “I’m mistaken so many times, I’ve started to respond to that also”.