‘One for the Slumdog, one for the Millionaire….adding to two for the road’ says the West in feting a film that shows India’s financial capital as a beautifully festering sore. What happened at the Oscars has happened again, and will be repeated at the Granny’s award.
A song showing a group dance at the Victoria Terminal, the very spot where Kasab and his killer cohort let loose automatic gunfire at unsuspecting Indian passengers, symbolizes India… Forget 26/11…even if it was bad it only cleaned up a rotten city!
What was till now a land of snake charmers, loitering jumbos and sprawling slums, is repackaged in the persona of an unlikely Michael Jackson of India cinema. It’s insane, as twin Grammy recipient A.R.Rahman said, but there is a method in the madness of those kissing him all over. They never met such a cuddly Khan till now!
And so, not only the nimble-fingered Zakir and phenomenal Amjad Ali Khan get pipped at the post of western approval, but also with retrospective effect melody kings like Madan Mohan, Naushad, Sachin Dev Burman, Sri Ramachandra and Shanker Jaikishen in the north and C. R. Subburaman, G. Ramanathan, K. V. Mahadeven, Viswanathan-Ramamurthy and Ilayaraja in the south. They are with retro effect neighbourhood boyz of the nondescript past.
But an award is an award is an award, especially when it is given repeatedly by our erstwhile colonial masters, and especially when we are still under the complete sway of everything Western. Given this state of affairs, I humbly make the following proposals.
Jai Ho as India’s anthem
As ‘Jai Ho’ has won the approval and applause from the west like no Indian song in all Indian history, and as we always look up to the West – we did not mind having an Italian as PM, only the Italian was good enough to pull back – we should make Jai Ho the anthem of India. The dance movements for the song were extraordinarily pleasing, and could be declared as one of the national dances of India, taking precedence over old forms like Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Odissi and the like.
Slumdog, most momentous
One must not forget that Slumdog Millionaire has been instrumental in bringing Oscars for the first time to an Indian artiste, and so one must acknowledge it as the most momentous film ever made in India, and throw out into the recycle bin the old represented by films like Pather Panchali and Pyaasa, Do Bigha Zamin and Devatha, Mughale Azam and Meghe Dhaka Thara. This is the symbolism we get from the life-time Oscar given to a dying Satyajit Ray. Kick out the past, and kick in the future…Make Michael Jackson and A.R. Rahman the musical and cinematic icon of the new superpower India. Pepsi, Coke and ARR ki Jai Ho.
Festival a la Tansen and Thyagaraja
In this context, we must also take care to institutionalize these glorious moments for posterity. Just as the present-day classical musicians in India celebrate the day of Thyagaraja in the south, and Tansen and Haridas in the North, we must also celebrate this new Grammy. It signifies the emergence of Indian (!) music in the world scenario (please discount the groping efforts of Ali Akbar Khan, Ravishanker and others in this regard). We must organize a yearly festival at a great location to record Rahman’s phenomenal service to Indian music.
David Boil should inaugurate the first fest, and it should be attended by Oscar and Grammy committee members, agents, promoters, and worthies of our English channels. The English language press can also be given free delegate passes to the function, which should have Rekha Sawant dancing to Jai Ho along with reality show king Rahul Mahajan and US returned beautician Nooria Haveliwala (who gave a new dimension to drunken driving by allegedly drinking during driving). The latter two will be doing their own jigs. This festival should be held annually with religious zeal with junkies dancing to more ARR anthems even greater than Jai Ho.
Song to Tamil Mother like Jai Ho
The progressive Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Mr. Karunanidhi has shown the way by roping in Oscar and Grammy Rahman to compose the music for his own Tamil song commemorating the ‘Classical Tamil’ conference. He should also think about getting a newer version of music for the Tamizh Thaai Vaazhthu. That would fire the imagination of the youth. We can also think of officially adopting his spunky tunes for Jana Gana Mana and Vande Mataram. All this will take India nearer to the West…which is best. Let us all pray in silence that all this should happen. We can even invoke the example of Beyonce, who has grabbed six awards in one night. Think of a woman Rahman three times more powerful than him. Wow…Phenomenal. Jai Ho to all the Millionaires…Jai Who to all the Slumdogs of the world!