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Monday, 21 July 2014


It was a pleasant drive, I was on my errands. I had the car radio on; tuned to a station that plays golden oldies. Up came Rafi's "Badan pe sitaare lapete hue". I smiled and turned up the volume a notch---it is my favouriteShammi Kapoor song.So much so, that I often request it of the live performers at mellow parties.
In my mind's eye, I replayed Shammi's exuberance, Vyjayantimala's exasperation, the sheer vitality of the song (and the sheer sequinned saree of the heroine!).
Parts of the lyrics go like this:
"Hai banne sawarne ka tab hi mazaa, 
koi dekhne wala aashiq toh ho---"
Then suddenly out of nowhere, the thought came---he was teasing her, and after the mandatory refusal, she would capitulate. On the screen we all enjoy this. But in real life, when a boy whistles at a girl, or passes comments, they are always lewd, to be answered with lowered head and quickened steps, or these days with a pepper spray or Karate chop (way to go, girls!)
Has this behaviour really been learnt from the movies? Does life imitate Art, or vice versa? Are we to erase all those delightful songs in which there is "chhed-chhaad"?
My pet theory is that in our literature, "teasing" as a prelude to romance started with the Krishna legend. This carried forward into our movies, and seems to be the number one boy-meets-girl formula. In recent times, "Raanjhana" is the only movie I can think of in which the heroine spurns the advances of the "hero", right up to the end, and even makes sure he is punished. (Oh, and "Darr" in the nineties, of course) 
Does the "eve-teaser" (horrible word) imagine himself as the playful Krishna, or a film hero? I think not!
This is NOT a rant against film lyrics--notwithstanding the unspeakable ones of a certain Mr. Singh! I'm just trying to figure out the various psyches involved here.

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