Dhating Naach: What have we done to deserve this?
This poor dude is being turned into a fruit. A fruit! And a totally unglamorous fruit.
By Chicken Khurana
Well, feminists, I hope you're happy. We finally have an item number in which the item is a man.
No, I'm not talking about Zanjeer even though judging from Ram Charan's acting talent and real-life eloquence (he's more about swelling muscles and making khaki stretch. Plus he offers us insightful bits of info like "Vijay means victory." Who knew?), the criteria for choosing him were probably the same as those for selecting an item in an item number. But that's not the point. I'm talking about our desi mausambi, Shahid Kapoor.
What the hell is up with Phata Poster Nikla Hero's obsession with fruits anyway? First there was "Let's go bananas" and now there's a mausambi in this Dhating Naach song. Both times, the fruits are connected to Shahid Kapoor. And you thought only women get objectified. This poor dude is being turned into a fruit. A fruit! And a totally unglamorous fruit. Bananas are fully plebeian and who gives a mausambi a second look? Maybe if he was rambutan or a pomelo or a passion fruit, you could bat your eyelashes at this hero. But a "desi mausambi"? What is that? It's probably not even as cool as the rangrezz banana (bananas bananas bananas bananas bananas bananas bananaaaaas).
As if all this wasn't bad enough, Shahid Kapoor is the one who has to do all the work in the video. Neither the choreographer nor the director trusted Nargis Fakhri to be the centre of attention for more than three seconds consecutively.
Still, after seeing the Dhating Naach song, the one that I'm filled with admiration for is Fakhri. It takes a lot of guts for a woman who can't act, can't speak Hindi and can't dance to decide she's going to become a heroine in Bollywood. I raise my glass of sweet lime juice to you, Ms. Fakhri.
You'd think the svelte girl in harem pants and sparkles, baring her belly button in a Hindi film song is the item, but Fakhri is about as comfortable in Dhating Naach as Queen Elizabeth II in Glastonbury. She can't swivel her hips, she's about as flexible as a ballpoint pen refill, her dhak-dhak makes you want to duck-duck-go for the ageing Malaika Arora Khan. Plus, it looks like the wardrobe guys basically flung different pieces of costume jewellery at her. Whatever was caught by the material is there, dangling apologetically. And maybe some of you are turned on by the sight of a woman biting a massive, fake nail. Me, I'm wondering is how much chipped nail polish is in her mouth.
The point at which you've got a pretty girl in a video but it falls upon a fully-clothed dude to ride a fake horse in order to add some zing, you know things aren't going well.
But the real slap upon the face of humanity lies in the lyrics of Dhating Naach. Years ago when Remo Fernandes mangled Hindi words and grammar while singing Humma humma, we snorted with laughter (and then focussed our attention upon Sonali Bendre, because it's just disrespectful to not do so).
What we didn't realise was that it was a slippery slope down to the garbage dump of gibberish, which is where we're at now. If you thought the Dhadang dhadang song or "Chinta ta ta chita chita chinta ta ta taaaa" from Rowdy Rathore was bad, hold your horses. Because truth is, if you tried, you could sniff out some vague sense of logic floating around those songs. But what is the point of this opening verse:
"Udan chhoo chhoo, Main chidiya firangi
Balam tu tu, Tu desi mousambi"
So first, something is being made to disappear (udan chhoo chhoo), and then we're being told that there's a foreign bird sees a love interest in an Indian fruit. Why? Then there are poetic explosions like, "Chiki chiki chubby chubby, Batein kare lovey dovey" and "Chiching phaak, Chiching phaak"?
What have we done to deserve any of this?
While the first half of the film is at least filled with dialogues aimed at making audiences laugh out loud, it seems Santoshi, who wrote the film, forgot that he was writing a comedy when he got to the second half.
Santoshi's most admirable skill is to be able to shift registers continually, from zany silliness to sentimental appeal, and back again.