Friday, July 04, 2008

Pappu-lar Culture!

Which is the most common Hindi first name? Vijay? Rahul? Akash? Rohit? Siddharth? Which is most common for girls? Pooja? Neha? Divya? And what about nicknames? Raju? Lallu? Happy? Lucky? Or is it...

Pappu: What do you call a suave, widely travelled, regally indolent, handsome (though with slightly thinning hair) young man? In college, we pondered this question as the aforementioned person was our classmate? The initial consensus was to nickname him Pop J, alluding to the fact he was Junior (J) version of the Jesuit fathers (Pops) in the institute. But that would have meant aggravating his already international demeanour. So, his moniker was Indianised and suitably down-marketed to PAPPU! This humble name found immediate and widespread acceptance among all and his real name is only used by his clients and (hopefully) his wife. A splinter group even calls him Faffu!

Pappu-Munni: This is the standard sibling name in Hindi cinema. Starting with Don, all nephews and nieces of heroes are traditionally called Pappu and Munni. Some offbeat filmmakers have also named sibling characters as Raju-Munni but they are clearly in a minority. For those who feel like scoffing at the over-simplification of names, let me ask if they would prefer to name siblings Pururava and Vastavikata. Yes, these are real names. And that's what Raj Kumar's children are called.

Pappu Pager: A dangerous kingpin of the Bombay underworld, Munnu Mobile's elder brother made an appearance in Deewana Mastana. Probably David Dhawan's funniest movie, this had Anil Kapoor and Govinda pitting their wits against the 'connected' dons as well as each other! In a fantastic cameo by Satish Kaushik, Pappu Pager remains one of the more durable cult characters in Hindi cinema. Aficionados fondly remember him along with other stalwarts like Gogo and Teja.

Pappu pass ho gaya: Probably the last ad line to move into popular lexicon, Cadbury's celebratory slogan preceded the more durable Kuch meetha ho jaaye but college campuses remember Pappu better. Amitabh Bachchan turned up in the first ad as a canteen-wallah, quite inexplicably in his Devraj 'Black' Sahai get-up. In the second, he was brokering a love story between a wimp and Raima Sen. The line was popular enough for someone to make a film with it as a title.

Pappu Can't Dance: The latest Pappu to hit the silver screen is (probably) Aamir Khan's nephew in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. I inserted the 'probably' because in an answer to the question - "Who is Pappu?", Aamir said, "Salman Khan!" And if you have heard the lyrics, it is unbelievably accurate. Pappu ki gaadi tez hain / Pappu kudiyon mein craze hain / Pappu ki aankhen light blue / Pappu dikhta angrez hain. Actually, if you ask me, the song describes my son also pretty well especially since the first lines of the song include the words - muscular, popular, spectacular and bachelor!

Abbe - aur koi Pappu hain kya?

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