Rann, Baby, Run!

11 May

Hmmm. Things have been noticeably – and predictably – quiet on the filmi front now that it’s all kirkit all the time, no? The elections were supposed to fulfill the pyrotechnic requirement and the odd politician has tried his or her best but as it turns out, the Great Quest for an Indian Obama is not exactly the thriller that was promised by the trailers – mainly because that mythical beast does not exist.

But phikar not! Ram Gopal Verma is back and, baby, does he have plans for you! Look what he hatched up: an creative update on the national anthem. Why? Because he loves to see The Crazy go up in flames just like the rest of us. Not that he said so, of course. Those crazies might want to take in a movie with the missus sometime and you don’t want to piss off the people with the lovely monies in their pockets! No, the official line is that it was, er, integral to the integrity of the interpersonal nitty-gritties of his movie or something like that.

You figure it out. It’s actually a pretty entertaining little interview – the person asks him the same question five different ways (“Hey! How come you did this dumb thing here that’s getting you burned in effigy all over town, RGV?”) and he finds five different things to say (all of which boil down to, “Coz I’m RGV bitches!”). What? You expected the guy who made RGV ki Aag to be broken down by some kid on MSN?

However, I have to say I didn’t have any idea that people needed to get clearance from the Law Ministry before they could so much as look sideways at the national anthem. I mean, Bharat Bala needed permission?! This Bharat Bala? What kind of kooks are they fostering at the Censor Board these days? Did they feel all tingly inside when they saw A. R. Rahman’s luxurious locks flowing in the oceanside breeze? Or were they having naughty thoughts watching Hari Prasad Chaurasia play the flute? The most bizarre part of that story is, that video was commissioned by the Ministry of Culture! What the hell?

It almost makes me want to cheer for Rann. Almost. Well, it’s hard to get 100% behind a song that wants to bludgeon you to death with cast iron anvils like these:

Punjab Sindh Gujarat Maratha

Ek Doosre Se Ladd Ke Mar Rehein Hain
Is Desh Ne Humko Ek Kiya
Hum Desh Ke Tukdey Kar Rahein Hain

Which roughly translates as:

Punjab Sindh Gujarat Maratha

Are all fighting each other to the death
This country made us One
We’re cutting it up into pieces

Yes, it’s basically a “clever” song that has all the finesse and elegance of a burning man belting out a soulful ballad about how he’s on fire, delivered with all the conviction of a man in the throes of terrible constipation because patriotic angst will jam up those bowels something terrible. Why do you think Gandhi was so interested in everybody’s bowel movements? It’s how he ferreted out the British sympathizers, fool!

It’s also doubly depressing when you’ve heard the version of Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna that Piyush Mishra wrote and performed in Gulaal – a snippet of a song that was about a hundred times more genuine and clever but got about a fraction of the publicity this assault on poetry is about to get. But that’s beside the point.

Which is this: Indians should own their national anthem. Even if it gives you, me or Rabindranath Tagore a massive tummy ache when he listens to the remix.


Posted by on May 11, 2009 in Celebrity, Entertainment, Movies, Music, News, Video


12 responses to “Rann, Baby, Run!

  1. pitu

    May 11, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    I gotta disagree with you on this one hun. Morons like RGV are precisely why the Natl.Anthem should be sacrosanct and you should hafta jump thru legal hoops in order to tweak it :-p And also, I am VERY happy you can’t wear the Tricolor on your clothing. Here, people cavort in Stars and Stripes wala g-strings. It’s the Star Spangled Banner, not the Star Spangled Bikini for gawd’s sake :-p Anyway, ever since RGV’s little sight-seeing tour of the Taj Mahal hotel in the wake of the terrorist attacks, I have a keen desire to punch him in the face! grrr

  2. Kokonad

    May 11, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    Hmmm, this is a tricky one. Can we really ripple the waters of the National Anthem sanctity? The answer cannot be given objectively. Well, it can, but *subjective* people cannot look at it objectively. I feel that deep down, everyone knows that the song pretty much delivers the real truth of the “unity” of our nation. There are two things happening here – but the occurrence of one does not necessarily make the other untrue.
    First, I think it is the fact that RGV probably did orchestrate the song to create a media hype(=moolah). Second, the song “desecrates” the anthem with today’s truth. But like I said, even if RGV did use it for economic reasons, it doesn’t make the song untrue! So, heated public reaction is pretty much pointless.
    People might be burning effigies portraying their discontent with his desecrating the anthem, while exhibiting the very chaos which the song sings about.
    Now we come to this – should he have used the anthem to deliver a message that could have been delivered using a different melody? Personally I feel that the song gained supreme strength The message comes as a crushing blow if India’s unity being blown into smithereens is incorporated into the very anthem glorifying our unity.
    That’s just personally speaking. But I do think, he could have let it go and used a nice melody composed by the best composers in India.
    Whoa. Long comment.

  3. Jawahara

    May 12, 2009 at 2:32 am

    I am all for freedom of speech but this was so heinous I could only make it through one and a half verses. Not because it hurt my patriotic sentiments but because it took the anthem and did nothing clever, let alone profound with it. Horrible, simplistic yet look-at-me-I-am-so-deep lyrics, terrible melody and a weird breathy male voice that tied it all together in a bow of pure crap. *shudders*

    Can we just withdraw freedom of speech from RGV? Surely just doing it to one person out of a billion can’t hurt, can it?

  4. Sue

    May 12, 2009 at 3:51 am

    Basically, that if something belongs to everybody, X, Y and Z have the right to make what they will of it? I think that’s fair and just. So, if we have a problem with X’s doings, perhaps we should show what we think should be done instead. If only to drown out the bad poetry.

  5. Prasanth

    May 12, 2009 at 4:19 am

    That one was really really bad. As far as lyrics go, I think only the PussyCatDolls’ consensual(why was Rahman babbling with them???) mangling of Jai Ho was worse. And the worse part was, unlike the dolls, Rann is so pseudo, so….and constipated hardly begins to describe that voice.

    That said, all the accompanying hype is such trash. I personally believe that protectivenesses about a flag or an anthem represents some kind of insecurity about the country these symbols purport to represent and am all for the American way of going about it. However, since it is difficult being a social libertarian in India, I would settle for restrictions on obscenity and nothing more and that too, only for reasons of public security.
    You should hear a typical Bengali rendition of the Jana Gana Mana. It’s much slower and more soulful….as opposed to the 330 kinds in an assembly massacring it.

  6. Gradwolf

    May 12, 2009 at 4:26 am

    Why RGV? Why?

    Didn’t you know there are many Amritas and Adithyas who would have seen the movie anyway?

  7. Amey

    May 12, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Things have been noticeably – and predictably – quiet on the filmi front
    I think there was some dispute or something, and hence there are so few movies. Right?

    But I do agree a bit with the censoring people. Passing this song will declare an open season on our anthem, and it is only going to end with numerous weird “remixes” plaguing us from every street corner on 15th Aug and 26th Jan. Know what happens in Maharashtra in Ganapati season?

    I do hope somebody comes up with a more subtle version of this song, which will surely slip past the scissors. The song has a beautiful theme, but all the subtlety of Madhur Bhandarkar movie.

  8. pitu

    May 12, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    @ Amey: Strike chal raha hai bhai. Also, regarding a version: Rahman can be trusted to do a swell job. I love his Vande Mataram.

  9. Amrita

    May 12, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Pitu – yeah, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot of other people to feel the same way I do 😀 I actually felt a lot more offended about his guided tour through the Taj than this song.

    Koke & Sue – I think Koke’s view of that song was way better than the song itself, so yeah! If someone out there with an actual idea of how to go about doing it could take a crack at it, it’d be pretty awesome.

    J – Sign. Me. Up!!! I can see it impressing a 15 year old trying to be deep but that’s about all there is to it. It’s so incredibly self consciously angsty. Blech.

    Prasanth – my school was Bengali so I actually learned that version first before we learned the Hindi one. Same for Vande Mataram. It’s really lovely, isn’t it? I think that Bharat Bala version comes closest in Hindi… I get what you mean about being a social libertarian in India. That’s pretty much how I tilt as well but that really isn’t going to fly any time soon. As for the hullabaloo, I think half of it is RGV stirring things up coz he was out of promo ideas and half of it is people just waiting around for a reason to scream about something. Everybody in this stupid story makes me want to vomit.

    Adithya – exactly! It’s like Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani on crack!

    Amey – lolz, no what happens in Maharashtra during Ganapati season? Is it anything like the disco dandiya menace of Navratri? This song is actually worse than a Bhandarkar movie because at least he doesn’t make people orgasm when they talk. yeesh.

  10. Lee

    May 12, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Why are people upset? An anthem is just a song – a symbol. Most people don’t even know the words of their anthem. I have heard many versions of the US anthem and nobody burns effigies.

    It is the people of a country that determines that country’s fate. There are more serious issues to focus on than a song.

    RGV may not have a subtle bone in his body but he at least got a discussion going on the ills of country. Apparently something the election could not so based on the low turnout and aparthy.

  11. musicthis

    May 12, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Well, the US government does not regulate the performance of the US national anthem other than the usual stand-up-when-it-is-played clause, as opposed to the Indian anthem rules suggesting how long and in what manner the anthem should be performed, which stanzas are appropriate for which occasions and so on. I agree that the Indian government could consider loosening up a little.

    At the same time, to say that the Americans don’t care about their symbols is not accurate. There have been major controversies here as well – I refer to the Spanish-language recording of the US anthem, some older improvisations by various artists, the unending discussion about the inclusion of ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance, understandable hesitation with okaying flag-burning. Granted, the outrage doesn’t descend into riots, effigy-burning, silly lawsuits and sms-polling but that may be because everything but peaceful protest is grounds for immediate arrest. You can’t get away with burning a firecracker, much less an effigy. And the tendency towards political correctness takes care of the rest – the government here does what appeases the most offended, and then it goes from there.

    As to the people of a nation, or of any group really, owning a symbol – I really don’t think that a symbol such as a national anthem, a flag, or say, a religious book, the name of a prophet, intra-racially permissible words/inter-racial slurs are truly owned by the constituents to the extent that they can do what they want with it. There is power in symbols, and people will always react violently to any perceived attack on it. A national symbol cannot be considered private property, which is really the only thing you ought to be able to use and discard as you will.

    Long comment! But, really, I wasn’t offended by the song other than that it doesn’t rhyme. However, the anger (less mock outrage for the sake of lawsuits, riots and such) is justified. I doubt RGV was aiming for anything less.

  12. DewdropDream

    May 15, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    And then there will be those who sort of half-heartedly listen to the song and go ‘meh’.

    Kokonad does have a point there but I am in full agreement with Pitu and Jawahara. It would be a great thing to take away RGV’s freedom of speech 😀

    Why can’t the man take early retirement already!

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