FILMI FIX!

Way back in October 2009, I’d just arrived in India for the first time and was trying to get to grips with various complicated aspects of the culture, like threading a drawstring through a new pair of salwaar and taking a shower with a plastic bucket. As I was also very new to all things Bollywood, another confusing thing about India was the whole business of films having music videos randomly slotted between scenes. This strange idea took a bit of getting used to, but fortunately I was able to tune into channels like UTV Bindass, Zoom and 9XM and quite happily educate myself in the realms of sequin-encrusted filmi musical interludes.

Paisa’ (‘Money’) was THE song to have stuck in your head that month. I didn’t see the film it came from (De Dana Dan) until later as I’d gone to Australia by the time it was released, but I remember either hearing or watching that music video at least once a day the whole time I was in India. And it was weirdly addictive.

But what made something that was basically a blatant rip-off of that song by Usher so good? Was it the blinged-up Katrina Kaif in her desi diva outfit? Or Akshay, the action hero in Aviators? Perhaps it was the abundance of 1000 rupee notes flying around the under-dressed backing dancers while Katrina, in English, declared the hard truth, that “my love is priceless, baby – no money can buy me”. Who knows?

I spent those early days in Delhi zooming around Paharganj in an autorickshaw with a group of recently-befriended Dilliwallahs who wore a strict uniform of faux-designer sunglasses, Reebok trainers and jeans from Palika Bazaar. We’d crank up the volume (the auto had a CD player and speakers, obviously) and sing along to our favourite song while passers-by watched in awe and/or bewilderment. Apart from a few staples like ‘namaste’ and  ‘dhanyavad’, I didn’t know any Hindi at that point, but I still managed to join in with the chorus. I’ll always remember speeding around Connaught Place, wailing, “main baarish kar doon paise ki, jo tu ho jaaye meri…”, which translates, I now know, to something like, “I’ll shower you with money if you’ll be mine.” It goes without saying that doing the corresponding hands/thumbs/elbows dance move was also essential.

I must have looked very stupid indeed. But I was happy, so I didn’t care.

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4 responses to “FILMI FIX!

  1. Oh My Gods!! I am sure you got away with it because of the ‘Gori’ license! This is the first time I have heard this song (My ears!) but I admit I am not that crazy about every loony toon that comes out of Bollywood. Didn’t the autorickshaw driver ever protest?

  2. i was redirected to your blog when i was trying to look up your good bye to Delhi letter on TOI… love the way you write…
    – homesick desi in videsi Austin, Texas

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