“Kutte kaminey main tera khoon pii jaaunga” screamed the nostril-flaring Dharmendra eons ago, taking the mantle of legendary abuses like “Kalmoohi”, “Karamjali”, “Naaspeeti”, “Chudail”, “Kulta” and “Paakhandi” further. Dharmendra was perhaps the first to upset animal lovers, who chose dogs over human anatomy.
After the dogs were done to death, Amjad Khan yelled “Soowar ke bachho!” Guinea pigs, anyone? Ajit, instead of calling others by animal names chose to christen himself as Loin read Lion. Thank God Maneka Gandhi wasn’t around back then. Else, she’d have sworn to bring them to book for their animal instincts. And we (or rather our parents), as audience, weren’t complaining too. As for the songs, ‘Saala mein to saahab ban gaya’ was the farthest Dilip Kumar could go in the film Ram aur Shyam.
If the seventies and eighties were about animals and witches, the nineties raised the bar with liberal usage of euphemisms for human anatomy with words like “Peechwaada”, “Golchowki”, “Danda”, etc., courtesy: Dada Kondke, Paresh Rawal, Kadar Khan, Sadashiv Amrapurkar, Shakti Kapoor and Co.
In those days of “Cholis”, “Khatiyaas”, “Rajaayis”, the mute button of TV remote control finally found its utility, when parents would embarrassingly use it, to avoid kids listening to them while watching TV together. Well, in theatres, they’d have no choice but to ask, “Popcorn khaaoge Beta?” Like the cliché goes, the rest is cusstory oops history, where words related to sex, prostitutes and pimps, and what-nots came to the fore.
The year 2000 heralded a no-holds-barred era, where swear words found their pride of place in songs. Words like ‘Bhootni ke’, ‘Maa ki aankh’ ‘Fati padi’ have become commonplace in our films and songs. Suddenly, Ishq became Kameena, making us wonder where we were heading forth. Well, the best, or rather the worst was yet to come, with Omkara, which made the dialogues of ‘Bandit Queen’ sound kosher. The film spared no one, right from sister, daughter, human anatomy or anything crawling on earth. The justification: To depict reality. Oh really?
The other excuse to abuse is that if Hollywood films can have them, why should we left behind? You’d applaud when Al Pacino mouths the F word in almost every line, but can you imagine Amitabh Bachchan doing the same back home? Remember how he was condemned for signing films like ‘Boom’ and ‘Nishabd’? After all, he’s a father figure, and fathers don’t mouth expletives or salivate at the sight of their daughter’s friend watering the lawns (no pun intended). He had to apologize to his fans for doing ‘Boom’.
So the verdict is out – we as Indian cinema audience are different from the west. It’s not about playing holier than thou or they being superior to us, but just being ourselves. Having indulged in Chinese, Italian, Thai and Lebanese cuisine, it’s Daal Chaawal, Sabzi-Roti that we eat everyday. No matter how modern we’d like ourselves to be called, but the fact remains that we still stay with our parents, dine together, watch television together and indulge in movies at multiplexes on weekends in herds.
We just can’t pretend to be okay with the G-word that Rani Mukherjee mouths to depict fear in ‘No one killed Jessica’, the C-word by Kangna Ranaut in ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ and camouflaged cuss words Kareena spells out in ‘Golmaal 3’ (wasn’t it supposed to be a Diwali family entertainer?). Kareena went ahead to reprise her Golamaal-3 role in ‘RA1’ and upped the ante, by mouthing cleverly disguised expletives targeted to men like ‘Tere baap ka bochda’ and so on. The film ‘Shor in the city’ had an overdose of ‘tere maa ki’ at the drop of a hat. Thankfully, they stopped there and avoided going into the details.
As for the songs, the classics like Dum Maro Dum, too, wasn’t spared from the radar of this trend, with ‘additional lyrics’ like “Oonche se ooncha banda potty pe baithe nanga” and the song, “Pyar do pyar lo” is laced with lines like “Dil tharki ho jaaye to pyar do pyar lo”. The film titles like ‘Kameeney’, ‘Yeh saali zindagi’ and songs like “Karma is a bitch” are taking us closer to the terrains of cussland.
The next to join the fray was the song “DK Bose” of ‘Delhi Belly’, employing the old gimmick of “Maraa Maraa Maraa” that Aamir Khan chants in the film ‘Ishq’, while balancing himself over a water pipe between two buildings to save his friend, Ajay Devgan. The “Maraa maraa maraa” ultimately sounds “Ram Ram Ram”. The same Ram Ram chanting Aamir wants us to croon DK Bose DK Bose.
And it’s not just about films and songs, the trailors, too, haven’t spared the families. The Ishqiya trailor where Vidya Balan responds to Arshad Warsi with an expletive as a prefix to the word ‘sulphate’ almost became the very reason for people to watch the film. In the same theatrical trailor we watch a teenager informing Arshad Warsi “Yahan log apni c***** dhone se pehle tamancha chalana sikhte hain.”
In terms of marketing strategy, the expletives worked wonders for the film’s producers to draw the crowds but what about a family who came to watch a ‘clean’ film at the multiplex and were embarrassed to watch this trailor along with their kids and watch the ‘beeped version’ repeatedly on TV everyday after returning home?
Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Buddhha hoga tera baap’ is indeed an example worth emulating. He mouths an expletive, by saying “Beep” to Makrand Deshpande. When Makrand Deshpande asks what he said, he replies, “Abey tereko gaali di hai. Jab bhi mujhe gaali dene ka dil kare mein ‘beep’ bol deta hoon. Isse meri zubaan bhi saaf rehti hai aur saamne waale ki izzat ka bhi ‘beep’ ho jaata hai.” Way to go Mr. Bachchan!
Hope those ‘realistic filmmakers’ take a leaf from this legend and say beep instead of ch…cheesy swear words. Tigmanshu Dhulia’s ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ starring Irrfan Khan is the perfect example of a realistic film sans gaali-galochs. So when you say you can’t make realistic films without using swear words, we’re not buying it anymore.
Once while buying tickets at multiplex, I noticed a child singing “Bhaag bhaag DK Bose DK Bose” to perfection, while his parents weren’t even bothered to ponder over the damage already done. Agreed, the film is for adults, but the song is for all to hear on TV and FM channels. The next one to follow suit is the song, ‘Keh ke loonga’ from Gangs of Wasseypur. The song has instantly become part of our daily lingo.
So it won’t be surprising if we find a child threatening his schoolmate with a loud caveat, ‘teri kehke loonga’ or a teenager dancing to the tune of ‘I am a hunter she wants to see my gun’. Even if ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ is a film for adults and the gaalis might be an integral part of the lingo, why subject families to those gaalis or ditties replete with sexual innuendoes via trailors and songs?
With each passing year, we seem to be already getting accustomed to the swearing, often escaping them by changing the TV channel, buying a separate television set, walking out of the drawing room or merely ignoring when our kids sing the cuss words. And when all these don’t work, we always have the option of asking, “Popcorn khaaoge Papa?”