Back when there was only radio - and the dinner bell was the Gopal PalPodi advertisement, there was Vividh Bharathi’s varthaga olibarappu. And there were songs from black and white Tamil films – songs about liberty and new worlds from MGR movies channelling Captain Blood and the Prisoner of Zenda, tearjerker and rail against the universe songs from Superham Sivaji Ganesan, sensitive love songs from that King of Love, Sambar. There were some lovely songs from that time – before colour and Kamal and Rajni changed the face of Tamil cinema beyond recognition.
There were other heroes from those days, the days before Balachander and Sridhar – when Apoorva Sagadharargal was not the Kamalahasan egofest but a swashbuckling sequel to Chandralekha where drumspawned M.K.Radha and Ranjan duelled for the affections for T.R.Rajakumari.
And then there was this movie called Veera Thirumagan – starring a guy called C.L.Anandan – whose two initials were too little and too late. It had this song called Roja Malare Rajakumari, one of the loveliest I had heard. It was a song that I would always associate with the Modern Hairdressing Saloon, on Village Road, where my father would take me for my quarterly shearing. He would busy himself with the Ananda Vikatan while I would fidget until my turn on the barber’s chair. And this song would play, on All India Radio.
It was a total ear worm, and one of the first songs I noticed that I actively liked.
A few days back, I remembered the song, apropos some scarlet roses that had sprung up in my cousin’s garden. I went looking for the video on the web and I could only come up with this.
The first thing I see was this guy point to the camera with a shit eating grin on his face going “My Beauty Queen”. Then in the next minute, accompanied by a ridiculous synth, a woman wielding a shaker, a reefer changing hands, a few item number extra types taking a few tokes and a lot of jiggling. My jaw hits the floor and my eyes bug out. Then the original visuals start and then I start beathing easier.
It doesn’t last though. Before you know it, theres a berk smoking a cigarette and there’s a lot of smoke behind a terrible CGI bullet.
My first instinct was to rage quit, but I was in a mood for reflection. After all, the remix was a symptom of our culture now. We have come far, from the time when a calf was enough to get the repressed masses – who were busy at work booming the population – in the mood for a good boinking. Isn’t it better now, where “Tonight I’m Fucking You” plays in the mall and this is what we are today. We are the new India, we are out there, competing with Flo-rider and Snoop Dogg. This is us, uncloseted and sexually liberated. (the guys of course. the women are, after all, sex objects).
Then I thought “Naah.” This is just some wanker laying a huge turd on a beautiful song.
So I did quit. And soothed my senses with the original.
And washed that down with this