Blame It On Yashraj

By Sunil Kumar

The night has a strange aura about it; especially when streets are empty and devoid of traffic. Yesterday was about “Blame It On Yashraj”; Bharat Dabholkar’s irreverent take on the phenomenon of marriage; desi style.

Bollywood Hero

Visit Bollywood Hero (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Yash Chopra at Suzanne Roshan's The C...

Visit English: Yash Chopra at Suzanne Roshan’s The Charcoal Project Launch. Photo: FilmiTadka. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bollywood is about the “Punjabi” phenomenon of grand weddings; something that has stormed the relatively crass and low-key celebrations that other communities indulge in. The play thanks “Yashraj” films for graciously allowing the use of their trademark. Ostentatious over-the-top marriages; something that every community flaunts in is a direct result of every community attempting to ape the “joie de vivre” and the love of life of the Punjabis.

Dabholkar is known for political and social parodies; and this one is no different. Anant Mahadevan(best known for his villainous role in the SRK starrer Baazigar) in which Shah Rukh plays Mr. Malhotra; was quite adept as a upper middle class Punjabi living in a bourgeoisie suburb of Bombay; Bandra along with his Bengali wife. With a son who is apparently a carefree dude; the Punjabi-Bengali daughter finds a new match. To both the parent’s despair; the groom is a Muslim(the actor in this part was probably a Sindhi). Ashvin Gidwani productions; we gotta have the “vanjo dado” papads in the house.

“Comedy Nights With Kapil”(also played out in the city) has atleast made stand-up comedy a little less disgustingly Bombay-centric with a little more refined North Indian manners; compared to the slummy and coarse aesthetic of “Mumbhai” in other comic capers. Now the play has some absolutely amazing political jokes; as well as things that hit the bottom of the pile. The dances are sometimes jarring; as well as moving the tempo along.

Poking fun at every community in India is a time-tested phenomenon; also used in many movies. The writer describes the Parsis as “English cloth discards”; something that sounds better in the vernacular rather than in Anglais. The playwright is referring to their quirky eccentricities as well as attempting to absorb the “old” English fixation with primness and propriety.

Punjabi No.1 Dance Group- Harveen

Visit Punjabi No.1 Dance Group- Harveen (Photo credit: Stephen J Fyfe)

The play was hilarious when it describes the stinginess of the parents when it comes to the wedding; and the gay wedding planner Screwvala; whose outlandish suggestions cause great consternation(monetary) to the Punjabi-Bengali bride’s father.

Dabholkar specializes probably in political jokes; so here goes:

“Why does Rahul Gandhi see “Chotta Bheem” at night? Beta, Soja; nahin to Arnab Goswami aa jayega!

Other comments on Manmohan Singh; Bengalis, Punjabis, Guju bhais and bens; as well as Parsis and South Indians left aside; Dabholkar probably believes that the audience would be regaled by a few dances. Yes; certainly; “Blame it on Yashraj, fair and square”; as one of his songs goes. Compared to the rather staid operatic but finesse infused dancing in London’s West End that I’ve seen; Bollywood is certainly more with it; the vibe rules; there’s more life in “life”.

Bollywood dances usually follow or are choreog...

Visit Bollywood dances usually follow or are choreographed to filmi songs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A message to all the current film-makers in Bollywood; pray use more melodious Punjabi or any other language songs. Although some of your creations are gems; the others are well; eh, ahem, others.

The larger-than-life Indian wedding that everybody aspires to courtesy Yash”ji”‘s Punjabi heritage has made playwrights like Dabholkar or others their money; so he’s given credit to Yash Chopra; albeit in the typical “coastal tadka” slumwhore style of Mumbai; the city enshrined as the mecca of Indian dreams; again largely by “Punjabi”fied Bollywood.

English: Ajay Devgan on Bollywood film London ...

Visit English: Ajay Devgan on Bollywood film London Dreams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Traveling back in the clogged artery of Mumbai’s existence; a late-night jampacked urban nightmare; made me realize that life’s just like this; songs of everywhere; happy, melodious, reflective, sad and joyous. I hope you did not understand my last statement! Blame it on Yashraj!






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