Monday, July 02, 2007

Himesh Reshamiyya : North India's Rajnikant?

In India there is a section of media ecosystem that will try to propogate how India is westernizing at a rapid rate. They would give you examples like:
Kids now want to see more of English Premier League than watch Tendulkar swat flies on the field.
Most youngsters just watch Friends and CSI and not Indian idol.
How Himesh songs are heard by only auto rickshaw wallas.
But never have the ratings or any research proved such things. Saas bahu dramas and stage managed music mahayudhs dominate ratings and popular psyche. Channels like Star World and other such premium English channels have ratings in decimal places. Indians may have pasta and sushi with their foreign investors but return home to have alu jeera and dal chawal. They are keen to watch Ash-Abhi wedding photos than know about Rihannas latest album or Paris Hilton's post prison look.
Two releases have proved this beyond doubt.
First, the spectacular release of Sivaji the boss which had a pan Indian appeal with even North Indians watching the movie without any subtitles just to see what the Rajnikant phenomenon is all about. Rajnikant in most of his movies has a sequence where he will speak English and mock it at the same time ( popularized by Big B in Namak Halal) and the masses just love it. In Sivaji he uses words like 'cool' to contemporize himself and stay relevant but still has an earthy touch to it. Sivaji gives the best of Rajnikanth in a movie whose story talks on populist lines about weeding corruption and black money. Masses love such movies and not stories about a racing driver in the US and an Indian-Pakistani romance in Birmingham station. Hardly 5% of the junta can identify with such themes.
Second, the stupendous opening of Aap Ka Surroor: The Moviee . Analysts are saying the movie has got an opening better than Shootout at Lokhandwala a movie that had stars spanning several generations. This proves that mass appeal is still much higher than the so called class appeal in India. The unprecedented opening has shocked all film trade analysts. The movie again proves that there is no trickle down effect but a trickle up effect like gangsta rap and other genres. I was a regular traveller in auto-rickshaws in Mumbai and they swore by Himesh. Soon autorickshaws with the best sound systems with extra jhankaar beats made more money while passengers sweleterd in Mumbai's traffic jams.
I believe the tipping point occured when snooty pubs in Bandra where the so called high income westernized junta come to pay Rs.250 for a small peg were forced to play Himesh songs due to unprecedented requests. There were some DJs who swore by their R&Bs, but they were shown the RDBs by the people who started thronging places which played Hindi music after 10:30 pm. Once the floodgates opened, it was Kajra Re and Aashiq Banaya Apne which made lead-footed Indians to dance away to glory.
The Himesh story is a story of true guts. Guts to stick to a style in singing, dressing and what not. Guts to take on the entire establishment by making a movie which is unabashedly self-propogating but at the self-effacing. Witness the dialogue ' Arre Himesh agar humari naak kat gayi , to gaana kaise gaayenge'.
Hats off to Himessh..........


At 11:01 AM, Blogger Parth said...

Go Himesh. Love him or hate him, he is shaking the star system :-)


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