Priyanka Chaturvedi

It's all about me!!My people, my favourite things, my raving and my ranting too!

The Munni-Sheila Influence

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(From my column in DNA dated 1st May 2011)
Before I start my rant about television and Bollywood, I have to say that I’ve always been a huge fan of Bollywood. I still am. Only, these days, due to lack of time, I barely manage to get my weekly dose of Bollywood masala.
I remember how, as kids, we used to wait for Sundays to watch a movie on the one and only — sometimes loved, mostly hated — Doordarshan. Another must watch on the channel was Chitrahaar.An occasional trip to the movie hall completed our quota of Bollywood.

The actors used to leave me mesmerised. They all seemed larger than life because their appearances were few and far between. I tell my kids that they are lucky to have access to so much more than we did. But in my heart, I believe we had it better, in spite of the ‘Rukhawat ke liye khed hai’ messages on DD. Yes, our kids do have the access. But do they understand the bittersweet pleasure of waiting to watch their favourite song on television, or watch a dance performed by their favourite actor/actress? I am amazed at the speed with which channels (some news channels included) are getting Bollywoodised! The exposure to Bollywood for our kids has been total.
My not-yet four-year-old daughter can sing every new Hindi song however raunchy the lyrics may be. She can dance with all the jhatkas and matkas the item girls do. She can even name every Bollywood actor — so what if she calls Shahrukh Khan ‘Kharooshan’. She is totally in love with Ranbir Kapoor and thinks she is a miniature Katrina Kaif. Her heart flips whenever she catches a Ranbir Kapoor ad on television.When I took her for a haircut and the stylist asked me how short I wanted it cut, my daughter said she wanted a haircut like Katrina’s in Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahaani. I found that very cute and asked the lady to give her the Katrina fringe.
But this obsession was to get worse. My daughter started asking everyone to call her Katrina and would ask every guest or friend who visited if she looked like the actress. You can all imagine what happened when she heard ‘Sheila ki jawaani’ and watched Katrina dance to that song! Yes. Her fixation for the actress only grew stronger and she tried to imitate her dance moves too. She was fascinated with ‘Munni badnaam hui’ as well.
One fine day, when someone asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, she replied ‘Munni’. That was it. I realised that her interest in Bollywood had gone a bit too far. I couldn’t go into a ‘no movies, no TV’ phase, as that would just make her more stubbornly inclined to watch TV and movies. But I felt something had to be done.
I have now started working on getting her to learn more about icons from other fields, people she can identify with. I keep talking to her about Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Saina Nehwal, Vijender Kumar, Mahesh Bhupathi, Leander Paes, and so on.
Of course, as of now, she listens with polite interest but soon gets back to talking about her favourite topic. I am sure she will, with age, grow to look beyond Hindi movies for inspiration and find her own icons. Our kids have all the knowledge they need at the tips of their fingers, but the easiest accessible medium for them — the television — has sadly limited the information to Bollywood and badly-dubbed Hindi cartoons. Have you watched ‘Tom and Jerry’ in Hindi yet?
Even as I write this column, there is a new Hindi song playing on radio called ‘Character dheela hai’. Oh no! Not again.

Written by Priyanka Chaturvedi

May 3, 2011 at 11:46 am

Posted in Column

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