Thursday, September 05, 2013

Filmi Fridays: Govinda Ala Carte!

My Yahoo! Movies column, first published here.

As dahi handis and four-storey structures take centrestage, it might be a fantastic idea to look at movies where Janmashtami and Sri Krishna have been the centre-stage of the story, scene or song.

Govinda ala re, ala... the signature song of Janmashtami, which is still the first song in the playlist was kicked off by Shammi Kapoor in Manmohan Desai’s Bluffmaster. The story of the fibber who turns honest (only to have no one believe him) was punctuated by a Janmashtami song where Shammi Kapoor did his trademark gyrations as crowds gathered, human pyramids were scaled and pots of milk were burst. And the Kalyanji-Anandji tune is still as popular as it was fifty years ago.

Every Indian festival has an Amitabh Bachchan song associated with it. – Old Bollywood Saying.
Just when the Shammi Kapoor song was becoming old, Amitabh Bachchan jumped into the fray with a
hit song from Khud-daar. The energy of the matki phod, the chemistry with the womenfolk, the chaos, the mayhem were brought out beautifully to a tune composed by Rajesh Roshan. Parveen Babi was the ideal foil in a nauvari saree.

Every generation has a superstar reprising the Janmashtami sequence. After Shammi and the Big B, it was the turn of the Salman Khan who pulled off a similar sequence in Hello Brother. With Rani Mukherji for company, he donned pink trousers (don’t even ask!) and netted vests to sing a Janmashtami song. BTW, it also included a joke about his – ahem – not-so-substantial height.       

Sanjay Dutt played the typical Mumbai tapori with a pav-bhaji tapdi in Vaastav. Before he became an underworld don, he was a simple kid running his business by the week and running towards his matka by the weekend. A tale of misguided anger was kicked off by a song where his mandli went from matka to matka, bursting them and earning prize money. Not that he needed it. He was sponsoring his locality’s Govinda but the matki phod had a special charm.

Hrithil Roshan is the final name in the list of Janmashtami songs. He played the deadpan hero of Agneepath but when it came to breaking the matki of Govinda, Hrithik came running with all muscles rippling and eyebrows quivering. In the film, this was the introduction sequence of the hero – Vijay Dinanath Chavan. Egged on by his cheering cohorts and supported by his loyal army, Vijay Chavan was the perfect candidate for bursting the matki.

Not all the Govinda sequences are about song and dance. Especially when Sunny Deol is involved.
In Narsimha, Sunny Deol was the hired goon who was out to kill a witness for the state on the orders his villainous leader. In an elaborate sequence, Sunny Deol used the grandeur and chaos of the multi-storied matki-phod of Janmashtami to polish off his quarry.
The tune of the song played during the sequence – like so many others – was the same as the original Bluffmaster song!

Go go go Govinda!
The latest Govinda hit is from the Akshay Kumar starrer – OMG Oh My God – though the song was performed – not by God Akshay but – by lesser mortals like Prabhu Deva and Sonakshi Sinha. With skimpily clad backup dancers in support, the song was less about Janmashtami but more about the energy of the Govinda song.
Oh – but the matki does get phodoed. By Sonakshi.

Krishna is not only about Janmashtami.
In Satyam Shivam Sundaram, a Krishna bhajan was performed by a child (the young version of Zeenat Aman, played by a child Padmini Kolhapure) and alludes to the racist complaint about Radha’s fairness and Krishna’s darkness. The song went on to become one of the biggest hits of the times.

Krishna is not about love. Krishna is not about Vishnu’s avatar. Krishna is not about makhan chori.
Krishna is about disco. One sec... what?
In Disco Dancer, Mithun performed this absolute priceless gem of a song where he wore sequined costumes, gyrated to pulsating beats and requested Lord Krishna to appear on Earth (and teach us love). The stage props included one oversized flute and crown as Mithun made his request, seconded manifold by the backup dancers.

The T-Series juggernaut of the 90s churned out a devotional epic (complete with jhankaar beats) called Meera Ka Mohan, which – true to its name – supported devotional music. Starring the indomitable Avinash Wadhwan, the song was disco number, explaining our love for Krishna as the ‘greatest musician of this world’ and the message of love he passed on. We got away with murder in 90s, I tell you. 

1 comment:

Abhishek Mukherjee said...

I would never have forgiven you had you left out the Meera ka Mohan song.