Sunday, April 08, 2007

Jhingalala


Long long ago in the land of Bollywood came a movie by the name of Shalimar. It was one of the first (if not the very first) bilingual films to have been made in India. It had – among other things – Rex Harrison in his first (and last) Hindi role. The Indian cast consisted of an over-the-hill Dharmendra (but looking dashing as ever) romancing a perennially young Zeenat Aman.

The story is about an eccentric billionaire thief (played by Harrison) who invites a group of famous thieves to his island and challenges them to steal Shalimar (a diamond worth some gadzillion rupees). The deal is that anybody who manages to steal it gets to keep it. But if they fail, they will be killed.
Of the invited thieves, there are Shammi Kapoor and O P Ralhan (a small-time producer of B grade films who acted in a few lascivious roles) from the Indian pantheon. There is a female gymnast thief and a few others as well, whom I have forgotten about!
Garam Dharam is a small-time con, who steals the invitation letter from somebody else who had come to his nightclub and impersonates that guy to land up at the island. His trick gets caught but he is allowed to stay on and gets a stab at stealing Shalimar. Obviously, he wins.
If you are wondering where Zeenat fits in all this, she is Rex Harrison’s moll and Dharam’s ex-girlfriend.
The music of Shalimar was vintage RD Burman, right from the title song ‘Mera pyaar Shalimar’ to Usha Uthup’s husky rendition of ‘One Two Cha Cha Cha’. The latter was a particular favourite of mine for the lines “O Mr Naidu, gir mat jaana / yahaan tumko kal bhi hain aana” which were sung to the visuals of a South Indian gentleman (evidently, Mr Naidu!) doing the Bharat Natyam in a nightclub! As you can see, the scene was made to appeal to five year olds!

Which finally brings us to third and most famous song, which is also the reason for the title of this post.
A maudlin Dharmendra sings this song, reminiscing about the good times he had with his ex-flame - “Hum bewafaa hargiz na the / par hum wafaa kar na sake…” and the song’s antaras are interspersed with a wonderfully popular tribal mating call - Jhingalala Hoom Jhingalala Hoom Jhingalala Hoom Hurrr Hurrr!!!
Everybody would remember that these lines have always been sung in college picnics with great gusto by the people who couldn’t sing to save their lives and also the signature line for tribal gibberish! But then again, it was always a cult favourite and I could not imagine that this ‘line’ from a flop movie has any of the charms of a Deewaar or Sholay dialogue!
Evidently, I was wrong.

29 years after the movie disappeared from the theatres, this word – Jhingalala – has returned to become the signature line of one of the most telecast advertisements in recent history. Tata Sky which started its dubious marketing campaign with a whole lot of televisions, music systems and spectacles being shot putted out of windows followed it up with the devastating campaign – Isko laga dala, toh life Jhingalala!
Kids in Einstein wigs, cricket enthusiasts and a cretin in a grass suit unanimously proclaimed the above and all I could to dull the pain was to SMS successful brand managers if they knew what kind of intellience levels and sadistic tendencies produces ad lines like this one!
And just when I thought the worst is over, the grass suited cretin (now christened Pappe!) was stopped on his way to the West Indies by none other than Hrithik Roshan with the promise of watching (apparently) an India-Pakistan final in his private theatre. And all this while, a pseudo-classical Oye Pappe tune plays in the background. Ghastly!
This is such a bad execution of such a bad concept that even the ever-dependable Hrithik Roshan looks positively ill-at-ease... I mean, there's only so much sincerity you can bring if you have to say ILDTL Jhingalala, with your arm around a grass-suited cretin!

A classic example of what a friend used to call GRE advertising... you run out of expletive synonyms to call it!
Post a Comment