<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d14981833\x26blogName\x3dDirtscapes\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLUE\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://dirtscapes.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://dirtscapes.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d2770553981623881335', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>


Read. Suffer. Try to Enjoy.

I Swear...

Saturday, February 24, 2007
The male proclivity to swear is a fantastic thing. It's something women typically find difficult to understand. Ever notice how they give you their best "ewwwww" expressions when you are affectionately wondering aloud about your male friends' Oedipal leanings when you meet them or even talk about them? (the usage of such endearments increases in direct proportion to the time elapsed since last meeting). That's what I'm talking about.

The usage is unbelievably complex, with a mere inflection of voice enough to change the context totally. The same word, can be used to greet a long lost schoolmate or describe your boss.

Personally, the earliest memory I have of me getting intimate with a cuss word is in the 5th standard, and it was (drum roll) the Hindi word for posterior. It was such a cheap thrill, and it felt really nice whenever I called somebody that.

But much earlier, I had used a certain 'phrase' to rather disastrous results...

'Twas in the third standard. An uncle had come visiting, and a couple of pegs later, he got all bawdy, and let rip a phrase in the coarsest Kannada imaginable - roughly translating to "Particularly licentious woman of loose morals" to describe a relative.

I knew it meant something bad, judging from my parent's suitably embarrassed reactions, but I didn't know exactly what it meant. So a month or so later, when I got an unwarranted thrashing from my teacher (It had to happen someday. Precocious little me used to actually correct her pronunciation in front of the entire class), I opened my 'Science notebook', turned to the last page and lovingly, lingeringly wrote "My teacher is a (you guessed it...) particularly licentious woman of loose morals". Felt good to get that off my chest (beat crying in front of the childhood crush any day) and that done, I clean forgot all about it.

Till the evening when my parents were 'taking up' my Science lessons for an exam the next day. I was confidently slaughtering all the questions, till I remembered what lurked on the last page. In classic voided rectum fashion, I snatched the book from their hands and ran inside, desperately trying to scratch out the incrimination. Too late, too late was the cry of the day. And the cry of the night? Me sounding like this as my parents took turns kicking my a** all over the house.

Minor hiccup aside, the sailor-speak grew stronger with time, till another little road bump.

The 7th standard this time. Was in an all-boys school now, which ensured that breathing was as natural an activity as swearing.
Cut to hot dreary afternoon. Maths in progress. Restlessness of the class increasing in direct proportion to difficulty of the equations on black board. I was diligence personified. Two classmates sitting in front started to break free from the mathematic shackles. And sure enough, I was the fall guy. They escaped, and I was made to stand up for the rest of the duration. The guilty parties then started to turn, sniggering and taunting me with Bollywood-vamp-vigour. To which I responded in the best way I could. I silently mouthed a very very sisterly word in Hindi to them.

Without checking whether the teacher had her back to the class, or was glaring right at me. You're right. She read my lips. And then in front of the entire class proceeded to say...

"Tapan! What did you just say?! SISTERLY WORD?!!!!!"
(Note - she actually said the word out loud. No kidding.)

That must rank as one of the most glowingly embarrassing moments I've ever had in my life. Ears flaming, I sputtered furiously, trying to slither out of sight, justifying all the while. Then a couple of scholarly holier-than-thous jumped into the pit.

"Yes miss, he gives 'bad words'... "
"We have heard him say that before"

That one incident affected me so badly, that I actually wrote a letter to Wiz (of Ask Wiz fame, from that
magazine called Target). I had poured my heart out into that inland letter, moaning about how I'm a bad boy because I keep giving 'bad words', and how I needed help.

It's a good thing they never replied...

posted by Tapan at 9:03 PM

The Disco Dancer Movie Review

Wednesday, February 07, 2007
1983. India was on the verge of something big. Something really big. What big? What big? Disco Dance fever which burst upon the national consciousness like a gumboil. Thanks in no small measure to this movie.

First up, you a
re treated to God's bal-avatar called Jimmy, effortlessly essayed by an adorable poppet of a child artiste. Good old Kaka wrapped in designer polyester, plays his uncle. They dance and sing on the mean grotty streets of Mumbai for a living, with technology waaaaay ahead of their times, what with all their analog instruments capable of producing those electro-robotic-digital sounds (pewwww.... pewwwwww) in between verses and choruses. Divinity evidently has a way around the most mundane of limitations. (How could you think otherwise? How could you?!)

During one of these dance-o-ramas, Prabhuji dares to cavort with a rich little girl kid, and falls in love immediately with her, only to be shown his place by her father, P N Oberoi, played with lingering menace by Om Shivpuri (there's the sound of a deathly rattle in the background whenever he infests the screen, not unlike a bile belching Texan rattlesnake. Very menacing. Not that I've been to Texas, but it sounds cool...). Sore with Prabhuji's sauciness, he gets both mother and son implicated in a false thievery case. The object in question? A cheap plastic toy guitar nonetheless. Oh the humanity.

That sowed the wild oats... (err.. or should that should be seeds?) of our dancer's bloodthirst. Prabhuji's mother takes the rap, and on return to their humble abode, they are greeted by the whole mohalla going "Maa Chor, Beta Chor", which scars him in subtly inexplicable ways.

They leave Bo
mbay for Goa. Not a bad trade-off that. Prabhuji grows up in a flash amongst the party happy Goans. (Must have been all that protein rich sea food, and fresh air). To be a dancer on the not-so-mean and not-so-grotty streets of Goa. What were the odds of that, honestly?

Meanwhile, the lovable rattlesnake's kids have grown up too, his son Sam(Karan Razdan) being a Disco Dancer, and his daughter Kim (well... Kim) well, just grown up. Now Sam is supposed to be the 'national disco craze'. A song (Usha Uthup going at "Koi Yahaan Nache Nache" with full vim and vigour) does full justice to his primary talent, which is making Sunny Deol look like a ballerina. Drunk with success and shady looking booze in shadier looking bottles, he insults his manager (Om Puri - called David Brown. Which I think is the coolest character name ever in Bollywood) and on a whim, refuses to perform on a sultry night in Goa. Good Ol' Dave quits in a fit of apoplexy, and vows to create another Sam.

Cut to Prabuji's lotus feet. You know it's him, when you see those dapper legs, scissoring across your senses like 100 cc bike riders on the dirt tracks of Andheri East. The Goan authorities evidently were really pushing hard to ameliorate his life, and thoughtfully made street lights blink in shiny disco ball fashion at midnight, just so that Prabhuji could hone his chops. And we say we've never had good governance in India. Pah. But we digress. David Brown likes what he sees, and immediately takes Prabhuji under his scrawny wings.

And s
o begins one man's personal quest to avenge his childhood trauma. You are battered relentlessly with a series of songs interspersed with 5 minute story breaks in between, with ultra trippy costumes, magic mushroom sets, distinctly high dancers and some divine ethereal mujik courtesy Bappi-Da. I'm not dwelling too much on the songs here, cos you very well know what I'm talking about. No red-blooded human needs an introduction to these ditties. Would be blasphemously condescending for me to even attempt to describe them. Very few soundtracks have had the kind of soul-changing/stirring impact that this bunch of songs has had over the years and will for ages to come. To savage an H P Lovecraft - ism - not dead which eternal lie, stranger eons death may die...

Somewhere along the way, Prabhuji falls in love with Kim, taunts S
nake thereby extracting his emotional pound of flesh for his mommy's insults at the various parties he meets, and emerges as a challenger to Sam's throne all of which give Fangsy great heartburn. So he tries to get Prabhuji bashed up and fails (cos in that fateful scene, Prabhuji snaps his fingers generating reverb and echo effects which scare the pants off the goons. He barely needed to whack them after that). At the end of his tether, Snake re-wires Prabhuji's electric guitar at a show making it 'live'. The mother of God comes to know, and reaches for it just before he does. And croaks heartwrenchingly, leaving Prabhuji with a lot of misfiring neurons and a general phobia of electric guitars in general.

Thus in one fateful stroke, he forgets how to (gasp!) sing and (asphyxiate!) dance. The world is drenched in gloom, and somewhere in Scandinavia, this catastrophic event single handedly led to the birth of black/doom/death metal (source uncredited). (Why Scandinavia? Because, metal history aside, a look at my measly traffic distribution reveals a search for "Gunmaster G9" from at least one country in that region EVERY ****ING DAY)

Till the day of the International Disco Competition dawns. Countries like Africa and Paris send their teams to win here. One look at their moves, and you start to get that inevitable itch to see Him dance again. All he has to do is wiggle his pinkies
to win this baby, you say. Really. The other dancers are *that* good.

Just when you are about to yell out your encouragement along with Kim who tries her damnedest best to get Prabhuji's feet twinkling again by yowling "Jimmy Jimmy aaja aaja aaja" till your fingernails shrivel, Kaka suddenly perforates your haze, with an awe inspiring "Gaa Jimmy Gaaa!!!!!" war cry on his fevered lips, designer polyester on his body and electric guitar in his hand.

Prabhuji's neuron blocks snap, and dance he does. Hoo boy. And how. Prabhuji gets his mojo back, the crowd goes apeshit, Kim is happy, Kaka can't stop gloating, and just when everything looks to be all right wit
h the world, the cold blooded reptile resurfaces and tries to plug Prabhuji. Kaka plays the bullet affinity card, and dies bleeding in Jimmy's arms.

"Vengeance is mine!" screams Prabhuji. And dispatches the evil snake to hell. No prizes for guessing how. It's quite shocking actually (lousy pun intended).

Thus, all karmic debits and credits being suitably balanced out in the cosmic account
book, the Lord goes back to doing what he does best. Like providing gristle for severely blocked blogger mills for instance...

posted by Tapan at 2:05 PM


Sunday, February 04, 2007
This is sheer, giddy camp gold. Check this link out and download the pdf. I was tripping for a whole day after reading it. "Why?", you might ask. This just brought to life a favourite childhood fantasy of mine, wherein Superman, Batman and Spiderman come together to fight crime in a single comic book. Only, I never ever imagined they would join forces with Nagraj. And keep on saying "Uff!".
Prepare to be amazed...

And just in case, go here if you want full body scans of good old Indrajal Comics.

posted by Tapan at 10:08 AM