Friday, May 18, 2007

Sur and Sex

So I was watching Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2007 on Zee TV – still confounded over why I’m semi-obsessed with it. Perhaps it was the circus-like atmosphere. Perhaps I wanted to see Himesh Reshammiya itrao a little – it always tickles me. Maybe I just wanted to hear Asha Bhonsle analyzing a song.

And out comes this sweetly chunky contestant called Koel. Now with a name like that you’d better know how to sing. But Koel did more than sing. She chose to croon Sunidhi Chauhan’s smoldering number “Aitraaz – I Wanna Make Love to You” produced by none other than my gujju brother Himesh Reshammiya. Koel – who comes across as a spunky girl not afraid to unleash the style muffin within – wore a strappy, colorful dress and pouted her heart out.

As soon as the words “I wanna make love to you” emerged from her lips – judge Ghulam Ali seemed to melt. He looked away nervously and spent the rest of the song checking to see if he could summon some sort of heat vision to melt the table in front of him. Asha Bhonsle looked a little stunned – which is usually indicated by parted lips and a glance from under partially hooded eyelids.

And as soon as the pair of songs (Koel went first among two contestants) ended– Head (that would be the host Aditya Narayan) came out to invite comments from the judges.

Boy, they dug into poor Koel. Particularly, Asha Bhonsle threw me for a loop. She basically told the girl that she was performing in front of a global audience (“the whole world is watching!”) and she should be mindful of her Indian roots and tradition. And she made it clear that the song (and by implication the sentiment) was totally inappropriate for a young girl like her to be singing.

“I don’t understand English” she said in Hindi “so I couldn’t appreciate what you were saying”. Really? That explains why her hit “One, Two, Cha Cha Cha” sounded like Kannada to me the first time I heard it. And Ashaji – you are a goddess in our house, my Mom’s favorite singer, the gold standard I grew up loving – but before you appoint yourself the full-time guardian of Indian traditional values might I remind you that you signed to come on a show with four gharanas – two of which are called “Hit-it” and “Rock”. See my point?

Ashaji’s admonishment disappointed me. But just as I was about to declare that I wouldn’t watch Sa Re Ga Ma Pa anymore, genuine entertainment ensued.

Koel was eliminated and in the part where the lemon is squeezed to extract sympathy, Ashaji asked Koel who had picked the song for her. According to Koel the music directors pick the songs in the show. Now a rather arty looking guy in a mustard kurta and long ratty hair leaped out to defend his honor – “I didn’t pick the song” he protested. Hmm, he must be the music director, then.

Himesh – inexplicably feeling personally harassed – cut him short. “The song may not have been appropriate here but it was totally appropriate for the situation it was composed for” he thundered in Hindi. “If anyone has a problem with the music, then come talk to me….No, no, let me finish…if anyone has a problem with the composition, then also they should come talk to me!”

Now Ashaji picked up the mike. “We are here to encourage these kids to sing. Not to fight among ourselves. If you want to fight, take it outside!”

This terribly juicy exchange entirely restored my fanhood.

Sa Re Ga Ma Pa: carry on! All is forgiven!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They really jumped on Koel for
singing "I wanna make love to you". So often, we have heared the Murder number in similar competitions - kabhi mere saath koii raat guzaar - and not one complaint. Maybe, Sambhog is more acceptable than sex.