Friday, May 18, 2018

Going loony

No no, don't go by the title of the post. Though it sounds very similar to my previous post's title, I'm not about to inflict another stunning "song" on you. This post is about entirely something else.

Like almost the whole world, I was a big fan of Hergé's Tintin comics as a kid. Well, even now for that matter. The only difference is that now I know that the author's name is not pronounced 'herj' like I did as a kid, but air-zhay.

I couldn't wait for Xena to get started on Tintin. So when I found out that a neighbour was giving away a lot of books, including five Tintins, I JUMPED. Not just with indignation that someone should be giving away their Tintins, but also with excitement. You see, my Tintin collection is probably still at my parents' house in India and considering the number of times my sister and I had devoured them as kids, I don't think they are in a state to be used by Xena. So I JUMPED and got the Tintins from my neighbour.

With a flourish, I handed them to Xena. I waited with bated breath for her to fall in love with them instantly.

She read a page and a half and then returned them to me.

"I don't understand anything." She declared.

Of course. I should have known.

Even though they are comics, I'd momentarily forgotten how grown-up they are. There is a lot of geography and politics and social commentary and other elements I was unfairly expecting a 7-year-old to grasp on her own. So I told her how much I used to love the books as a kid, and read one out to her. It took us about an hour to get through about 10 pages because I was pausing and explaining literally every dialogue and every scene, and also answering questions like "Is this a bad guy? Is that a good guy? Why does Captain Haddock love whiskey?"

So over a few days, we read and re-read all the books together. Slowly, she started to laugh at the parts that I had laughed my guts out when I was a kid. It started to feel like a worthwhile effort. She would giggle whenever Thomson and Thompson made an appearance, or sympathise with poor Snowy and the number of accidents he had.

"Mama, Snowy is not really talking. He's a dog. He can't talk. But he can think. The speech bubbles are showing what is is thinking, not what he is saying." She 'explained' to me. I nodded.

And now, finally, she's on her own. Consuming Tintins at such an alarming rate that the library can't keep up. Thankfully, like me, she's also re-reading them a lot.

Last week, I popped by the library and got her 'Explorers on the Moon'. Unfortunately, they didn't have the prequel — 'Destination Moon'. Nevertheless, she was thrilled to see a new one. We have been reading it together because it has way more complex concepts than she has gotten used to. And because she hadn't read 'Destination Moon', she needed a lot of background information.



The other day, Viv was reading it to her while I was making dinner and a thought struck me. Did Hergé actually write the two Moon books before the 1969 Moon landing? As a kid, I had never really given it a second thought, but now I was dying of curiosity. So I flipped to the first page to see the year of copyright and I almost fell down in shock.

Not only had Hergé written the books before Neil Armstrong and co. got to the Moon, he had written it even before the Space Race had started, even before Sputnik I had gotten to space! A quick Google search revealed that the Moon books were printed in strips between 1950 and 1953, and converted to books in 1954. I'm still reeling from the accuracy shown in the books, given that space travel had not started, and people didn't know much about the Moon, and there was no Google.

Even though he had consulted aeronautics experts in order to write the books, a lot of it was his own imagination and extrapolation of things people had not seen or experienced, e.g. the details on the Moon, the blobs of Captain Haddock's whiskey floating inside the spacecraft and how astronauts on the Moon would be 'hopping' instead of walking.

What a genius.

And oh, I also found out that after the Apollo 11 landing, Hergé sent Neil Armstrong this picture as a gift. Hilarious!




Thursday, May 17, 2018

You drive me crazy

You know how some people enter your lives and change it forever? I had that happen to me recently.

So a bewdi of the bar emailed me sometime ago with the subject 'Not a stalker'.

I found it and the rest of her email hilarious. After exchanging a few emails, we met in person a few weeks ago and bonded over Bollywood crap and motherhood woes. I wasn't even all that surprised to know that she's from Bangalore. My blog and Bangalore really do have some pichhle janam ka nata, even though I have never lived in the city. In fact, the majority of my inner circle in Singapore is comprised of Bangalore folks that I met through my blog.

I was fascinated to discover that her store of random Bollywood trivia far surpasses mine. And then I found out that it's not just limited to Bollywood. She also sent me a video, which has changed my life forever. Which, if not shared here immediately, would be a grave injustice to inhumanity.

I am proud and honoured to present the life-altering song 'You are a doctor; I am a driver'. I can assure you that Vennu 'It's my life whatever I wanna do' Mallesh can't hold a candle to 'legendary producer, director, musician and singer Mr. Rajkumar'. (Not my words; this is exactly what the YouTube description says.) However, it may come close to the 'If you come today it's too yearly' song by the other legendary Rajkumar (who, btw, is definitely a doctor and not a driver).

Here you go. This kind of driver a day can really keep the doctor forever away.





Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Billions of blistering Bollywood barnacles

I was working on my computer with some random 90s' songs playing in the background. Xena was doing her homework.

Thanks to Youtube's autoplay feature, suddenly 'I am very very sorry tera naam bhool gayi' from Chand Ka Tukda started playing.

Xena started bobbing her head to the beats. All of a sudden, she stopped and looked up.

"Mama, this song..."

"Yes?"

"Signora Bianca Castafiore can sing this to Captain Haddock!"  



Sunday, May 06, 2018

I'm shook

Every Monday morning, after I pack Xena's snack box, I stick a little sticky note on it. It usually features a random drawing with a speech bubble wishing her luck for a test, or just to say hello from mommy.

(Hey, don't judge. I drew these at 6 in the morning, ok?)

She really looks forward to my notes and from what she tells me, some of her classmates do too. She diligently brings the notes back and gives me constructive feedback on whether the drawings were cute or not, and what I can do to improve them. Sometimes she asks me to explain things, like what the motion lines that I sometimes draw around the arms and legs of the characters indicate. 

Yesterday, I was looking through one of her classroom workbooks that the teacher had sent back. She had to write three words ending with -ook, and draw a picture to show one of them. I was so amused (and impressed) to see that though she could have easily drawn 'cook' or 'book', she chose to go off the beaten track and drew 'shook' using the motion lines we had discussed.

Takes right after her dad, I can see.






Monday, April 30, 2018

The swan song

Phew!

April has ended, and it has done so on a bittersweet note.

Doing the A-Z blogathon this year was a super fun ride, and I know I'll miss thinking of and hunting for crazy songs to regale you with. At the same time, I'm also relieved that it is over. Because it sure was exhausting. I was battling multiple deadlines at work, Xena had lots of assignments and tests to prepare for, and with Viv gone on his annual teerth-yatra business trip to Vegas, and me having to manage everything, it was not easy. April never is, and I ask myself every year why I do this and whether it would be considered cheating if I simply did the blogathon in another month instead. (Yes, it would be.)

But this year's A-Z blogathon felt different. I know it doesn't make sense, but it felt easier as well as more difficult to come up with songs rather than random thoughts for the 26 letters. I also picked up the amazing millennial skill of gif-making, which I am still so excited about that I want to go put it on my resume.

In the last one month, I have watched wayyyy more bad songs than anyone should ever have to. And that too, multiple times before deciding they were worthy, and then multiple times again when creating the gifs. Yes, I am scarred for life.

And YouTube is not helping. My current YouTube 'recommended for you' list is mortifying. If anyone saw it, they'd look at me, tsk, shake their heads and walk away.

Another side effect was that the songs would get stuck in my head, and even if I woke up in the middle of the night to get a glass of water, my brain would be humming 'Gali gali mein pani hai' or 'Barah maheene line mari'. Whenever I'd be in a cheerful mood, suddenly I'd hear 'O happy in my heart dil dance maare re' in my head. And it's not just me. My lovely songs have touched many lives. When Viv came back, I made him watch the Dreamum Wakeuppum song, and 15 minutes later, I heard him singing to himself, "Dreamum, wakeuppum, breakfast mein uttappam".

The song that got really badly stuck in my head was the susu song. I had to literally shut my mouth so I wouldn't end up singing it aloud — Xena would pick it up in a flash and share it at school, especially in Hindi class and I'd be that mother that corrupted an entire class of kids.

There were some songs that didn't make it to the list for emotional reasons. For example, there are several Sridevi songs that would neatly fit in this blogathon, but I just couldn't get myself to make fun of her songs. Not that I am a fan, but it's just too early.

There are so many other songs that didn't make it for various reasons, and I'm wondering if I should do this for next year's blogathon as well. I can't let these precious finds go to waste. They have to be shared with the world, especially with the folks whose lives have not been touched by these gems. Like a friend said, "Yeh kaunse patthar ke neeche ke khopche se did you dig these songs out?"

Thank you all for your emails, comments, messages and encouragement. They meant a lot to me and kept me motivated throughout the blogathon. I will now go and respond to all the blog comments, after which I plan to go into hibernation for a while and then focus on updating my travel blog.

I also need to immediately go and listen to a LOT of normal songs so that my YouTube recommended list goes back to its old glory. Coke Studio, here I come.

Thanks for the love, bewdas and bewdis. I will miss you like mango.

PS: Btw, do let me know which songs touched you in particular.



Z is for 'Zindagi main tujhi par lutaunga'

No, I have not forgotten the promise I made in my 'Gali gali mein pani hai' song. How could I end the blogathon without a song from the so-bad-it's-good Jaani Dushman: Ek Anokhi Kahani? In fact, how could I even think of ending a blogathon like this without a naagin song?

For the uninitiated, Jaani Dushman: Ek anokhi Kahani is a naag-naagin movie from 2002, starring...

[let me take a deep breath for this]

...Akshay Kumar, Manisha Koirala, Sunny Deol, Sunil Shetty, Aftab Shivdasani, Sharad Kapoor, Sonu Nigam, Arshad Warsi, Armaan Kohli, Aditya Pancholi, Sharad Kapoor, Atul Agnihotri, Jaspal Bhatti, Rambha, Raj Babbar, Amrish Puri and Johnny Lever.

Yes, you read that right. Basically, the producers just went around ringing a bell and yelling, "Role le lo, role le lo!"

This song is a love song between our Naag and Naagin. They are somewhere up on a mountain.


The fog clears, and we are introduced to producer ka beta Armaan Kohli, also our main Naag-man.


Check out his naag-eyes.


Manisha Koirala, our Naagin, is singing 'Aaa jaaaa', though the background reminds me of Frozen's 'Let it go'.


And here are our Naag-Naag-Naagin on heaven's door.
(Not my original joke btw; read 'naag-naag-naagin on heaven's door' in some joke/meme somewhere and fell down laughing)


This movie had a huge VFX budget, and the producers made sure they got every penny's worth. 

The number of background changes in this song is mind-boggling. You name it, you see Naag-Naagin dancing there. 








After dancing on many, many substrates, they finally reach the one that will bring them their doom. 


They decide to dance on top of a cave, not realising that...


Right under them is a poor sage, aka Amrish Puri, trying to meditate. 


But how can he, with these two dancing like this? 
Oh boy. Mogambo khush nahin hua.

Enjoy this song, and after enjoying it, please go and enjoy the movie too. It is amazing and has amazing scenes like this. 


I will go so far as to say that you can't call yourself a true blue Bollywood fan if you have not watched Jaani Dushman: Ek Anokhi Kahani. 




Saturday, April 28, 2018

Y is for 'Yaad sataaye teri neend churaaye'

Today's song has a strong social message.

It teaches you that you can be anything you want to be.

No, wait. Let me rephrase that.

It teaches you that you can be anything you want to be — as long as your bae is agreeable to spending her life doing nothing but dancing in apsara costumes for you.

The song is set at a beach, with ladies in colourful costumes, dancing amidst carefully balanced colourful pots, carefully balanced cardboard sitars and random background explosions involving leftover colours from Holi.


No, seriously. Check this out.

A David Dhawan movie featuring hero no. 1 and heroine no. 1, and no budget for real sitars??


Anyway, so our heroine starts a random hugging dance with her cardboard sitars, waiting for our hero...


...who has come running to the beach... right after his convocation. 
(No, she didn't attend his convocation. Phir dance kaun karega?)

And because he is Govinda, his degree scroll is.... a flute. 

Our heroine has been told, "Jab tak tere paaon chalenge, Govinda ki tarakki hogi.

And she is taking it seriously. 

For it is true. 

See? He is now a navy guy. Because she never stopped dancing. 

Please take a moment to admire this bit of choreography. He literally runs away from her to do his signature step and runs back to her. Wow.

He looks all set in life, but she knows her job is not done. Gotta keep dancing. Maybe only then will be become like maybe an army officer and maybe he will marry her and she can finally stop dancing. 

Oooh, has her dream has come true? 

Nope, not yet. 

'Cos he still has the air force to conquer, you see. 

Out comes the apsara costume. If this won't get him flyin', she doesn't know what will. 

Aaaaaand... bingo!

Behind every successful man is a dancing apsara. Enjoy. 






Friday, April 27, 2018

X is for unknown (and hence you will have to put up with whatever song I put up)

Ok guys, I tried.

But there are no Hindi movie songs that start with X.

At first, I thought I'd cheat and feature that song from that movie Style and call it 'Xcuse me, kya re?' Or pick a song like 'Ek sawaal main karoon' and call it 'X sawaal main karoon', or 'Ek sapna maine dekha' as 'X apna maine dekha', but it all got a bit too... algebraic.

And then I thought — if I'm cheating, I might as well go all the way.

So I decided that X is unknown, which means this is a wild card song, which means any song will do, which means I could just pick anything from my very long 'almost made it' songs' list.

This song is from a 2012 movie called Aiyyaa, in which Rani Mukherji plays a Marathi girl obsessed with a Tamilian boy. She has bizarre dream sequences involving the two of them, such as the one featured in graphic detail in this song, a song that can only be described as Rani Mukherji's audition video for The Dirty Picture.

It's a pity that Aiyyaa released a year later than The Dirty Picture, because if this song had come out first, there was no doubt that Rani Mukherji would have been a strong contender for the role of Silk. Just check her out in the song and you'll know what I'm talking about. (By the way, isn't it delightful to see someone so out of her comfort zone and yet so comfortable in it?)

So the song starts with a normal-looking Rani Mukherji...

...before she transforms into...

THIS. 

If her actions are shocking you as un-Rani-esque, just check out these lyrics:


Dreamum wakeuppam critical conditionum
Hey earthum quakepum hil dul sab shakeupum
Face to faceum dharti putram
Top to baseum kama sutram

There is also talk of thunder thighs and mattering size. 

Thighsum thunderum 
Downum underum
Sizeum matterum
Thinkum wonderum

It only gets worse. 

Jumpingum...
Pumpingum...
Throbbingum...
Thumpingum...
Streelingum...
Pullingum...

Heart beatnum dhol peetnum
Love lust double kasht
Bada dheetnum


The two pictures below very aptly describe how many Rani fans reacted to this song. Shock and awe. Pure shock and awe. 





Yeh... body heatnum
Hot seatnum
Calling fire brigade bhi defeatnum

We must also take a moment to admire Prithviraj's mindblowing outfits in the song. Please, do not miss them. Well, I guess you can't. Even if you want to.

Enjoy this nightmareum called Dreamum Wakeupum. 




Thursday, April 26, 2018

W is for 'White white face dekhe, dilwa beating fast sasura'

Today's post is for my friend and Sayesha's bar ki longtime bewdi Sandy who messaged me at 8.51 am yesterday to politely inform me that the V song was too normal and too lovely to be in this list.

(Hey, but I never said this blogathon was for abnormal songs only! In fact, to be honest, when I embarked on the A-Z blogathon this year, I thought I'd have a mix of songs, some terrible, some great, some memories, some favourites, some anecdotes, some analyses, etc. But then the whole damned thing took a life of its own. I blame the gifs. You cannot gif a good song.)

Anyway, to make up for yesterday's 'normal' song, today I have the most abnormal song that I could possibly think of. And whattawow that it starts with W (though it is known as 'Dil dance maare' in the circles where it is, um, known).

Do not let the song title fool you. This is not a song from a Bhojpuri movie. This is very much a legit Bollywood song from a legit Bollywood movie starring no fewer than four A-listers.

Presenting from the 2008 movie Tashan, the most bizarre song we have seen/heard in recent times...

White white face dekhe dilwa beating fast sasura chance maare re
O very, o very, o very happy in my heart, dil dance maare re 
Dil dance maare, dance maare, dil yeh dance maare
Oye happy in my heart, dil dance maare re!

And here we have our lead trio, wearing three of the most ridiculous wigs to ever have been manufactured on the planet.

I see this and all I wanna say is, "Taali aur harmonium ek haath se nahin bajte, Saif."

We are also introduced to the infamous size zero butt of the one and only Kareena Kapoor.

She really looks like a Barbie doll here. And that is not a compliment.

And we have Akshay Kumar, who, um, is wearing and doing heaven knows what.

And then the three of them dance together. To the most bizarre lyrics ever. 

O can't stop my feet
Zulamwa kare hain jaalim beat

Why does this step remind me of some daad khaaj khujli ad?

And what dance step is this? Did they decide to choreograph it themselves?




The mind-blowing lyrics continue. 

Rose ke jaisan pink pink
Humre gaal gulaabi
Sky jaisan blue blue
 Tohare nain saraabi

Bhola chehra jaise moon
Kali zulfen jaise cloud
Ab na aur chhupaya jaaye
Dhadkan ho gayi very loud

Kali zulfen?? Say what?!

Can you imagine what must be going through the minds of the firang background dancers? Like WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? They are lip-syncing so they obviously have learnt the song and can understand it in snatches. This is what they'd have understood from the first stanza —"White white face beating fast chance very happy in my heart dance". 

I mean, it's nice that they have employment, but they look almost as ridiculous as our movie stars. 

Oh, here's the best part of the lyrics. 


Haan tohra dil ka theatre ma
Dil deewana boooooking advance maare re
O very o very
O very happy in my heart, dil dance maare re 

Too bad that what happened to the movie Tashan in the theatres was quite the opposite.

This one's for you, Sandy.

Baaki bewde log bhi dekh hi lo. 




Wednesday, April 25, 2018

V is for 'Vaada karo, nahin chhodogi tum mera saath'

I think it was the year Mom broke the news to me. Along with my heart.

She told me that Meena Kumar's dancing feet in Pakeezah belonged to Padma Khanna.

*GASP*

And that was my shocking introduction to the world of body doubles. And that's also when I started questioning everything I saw in the movies.

Now this song, from the 1973 movie Aa Gale Lag Ja, is a very popular and catchy song, made catchier by the fact that the two main leads, dressed up as Aladdin and Jasmine, performed the entire song on roller skates.

Or did they? *suspenseful music*

As a kid, I'd heard the song a million times on the radio (and loved it with all my heart, and still do), but seen it only once or twice. After finding out about body doubles, I'd started wondering if Shashi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore really knew how to skate (back then, it was an otherworldly skill to me). I remembered this song last week when I took Xena ice-skating. So I made a mental note about carrying out a proper investigation into this ghotala.

So let's get cracking.

Okay, so it's obvious that he is a decent skater...

...and it's also obvious that she can't skate very well. In fact, throughout the song, you will see that she prefers to strut instead. Now the real question is -- is she even wearing skates for the struting?

Looking at her confidence in this dance move, I'd say maybe not.

And that's most definitely not her! Body double to the rescue!

But soon, you realise that okay, she can skate a bit. But thanks to the clever choreography, her amateur moves are all tucked away. Whenever she's about to fall, he comes to her rescue, and it's masked as a dance move.

And when he's not there, the bar is. 

Nothing like a bar to pick you up when you're down, eh? Any kinda bar. 

Suddenly you realise that they are actually in a skating competition. With judges and trophies and shit. 

No wonder they decide to up their game... by incorporating random acts of violence into their skating. He shoots her veil off. 

But she's not the one to take it lying down. She comes at him with a knife, but he manages to protect himself. Using nothing but his... CHEST HAIR. Take that, lady!

C'mon, get your skates on and enjoy the ride.