The Late Show

Let’s get it to it then. The week that was, with yours truly.


Now that everyone has decided their wedding must resemble a Bollywood Musical, I get to watch many dance performances that were choreographed by a creative cousin or an out-of-work choreographer. So this is how I came across the Punjabi rap song Wakhra Swag (Unique Swag), in which, to nobody’s surprise, two men talk about their unique swag. While doing so, they decide to hate on youth (read women) who run behind fast fashion and branded consumer goods. They single out Gucci, Armani, Aldo and Audi for their cause. The men, naturally, are true sons of the soil, wearing black kurta-pyjama, locally sourced shoes, and driving a 350cc Yamaha motorcycle. Of course, women serve other purposes in the music video – like trying out sexy steps every twenty seconds or pretending to put on make-up, because these are things that women typically do. They are also paid to smile as rappers get in their face to tell them off for their poor choices. As the video draws to a close, the girl under fire walks about wearing a patiala suit, no doubt the rap song showed her how wrong she was. The man watches her, and shows her the universally recognized hand sign that means Super! But he’s wearing Jimmy Choo shoes as he does this. Maybe they are fake Jimmy Choos he bought in Delhi-6.


Having got that out of the way, we shall move on to more pleasant discussions, such as my day at The Hindu Lit for Life 2017. I would like to talk about two sessions in particular – Poet Vairamuthu’s seemingly extemporaneous speech on Words, Music and Meaning; and Dr. Perumal Murugan’s conversation with A.R. Venkatachalapathy, whom he fondly called Chalapathy. As Vairamuthu recalled familiar anecdotes, involving at least two musical geniuses and some extraordinary directors, I started smiling to myself. Do you think he talks this way at home, to his family, I wondered. Would he speak to his sons in chaste Tamil? What if they picked up that Chennai slang from playing in the streets and called him Naina, would he ground them? It is not imperative to know these answers. If Vairamuthu reminded me of a teacher we are openly in awe of and secretly a little bit in love with; the author Perumal Murugan reminded me of an affable friend of our father’s, whom you might want to confide in, you imagine he could tell you the kind of stories that make you feel guilty for not having a story to give him in return. There was one point that Perumal Murugan made, and he said this thought came to him on completing Koola Madhari. Where earlier he thought his life to be one of hardships, of straining to overcome new and strange obstacles, he now thought of his life until then as a happy one. Why do the good parts desert us faster, he asked. I am going to make an effort to remember the good parts more often, even if the bad bits change me in unforeseen ways and make me want to open up to strangers. This is a fairly simple idea, but it is entirely possible that my recent laps in the waters of self-pity had blinded me temporarily.


The Late Show ends here, owing to general lack of sponsors and abysmal rating points. If you are interested in frequent updates, please write in.


10 thoughts on “The Late Show

  1. Great piece as usual. I loved the part about the Bhangra rap. Recently, I was watching the Senthamil Naatu Thamilachiyee song and what bugged me was all the extra dancers were in itsy bitsy clothes and we have directors like Suraj saying openly that he will reduce the length of his heroine’s dress because that is what they want. What hypocrisy I say that the film industry wants to cater to our fantasies of our youth and parade women in tiny clothes and at the same time blame women for not wearing Sarees and while they are at it, pile up million other rants as well. How often do our Tamil Magangal wear veshtis:) Anyway off topic, but keep writing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. All rants welcome here!
      About the whole Dir. Suraj controversy, to me, it seemed like a case of one person saying out loud (in a crude manner yes) what I’m sure countless other men in the industry think. Even the actresses’ responses didn’t seem satisfactory..They called him out, of course they should, but maybe they have to keep working so that their outspokenness doesn’t upset the establishment..


      1. Yes I completely agree. Suraj only voiced what everyone in the Indian movie Industry thinks. A couple of heroines spoke out but what is going to change? Will we ever see a heroine speaking out that she objected to being stalked, objectified and continue to be a reigning numero uno actresses. We will only hear statements like it is their choice, script demands it etc. Conviently scripts will have dream sequences in Foreign locations where our heroines can practice their empowerment.

        Sadly this is pan India phenomenon. Was watching an interview of Diljeet with Anupama where she was asking him about why in most of his movies he plays the role of an uneducated sort of couth guy who manages to make the sensible, educated heroine fall in love with him and he was saying something like that is what the audience likes.

        I am not sure at what time in point our film industry started degrading from meaningful cinema with meaningful roles for women to the current state.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Vairamuthu’s “seemingly extemporaneous speech” — 🙂 that made me smile because I don’t think he is ever extemporaneous. I once heard him talk about his father in a “Koffee with Anu” episode. He said that he is estranged from his father, that he would like to convey a message to the latter which went, “Ennai Thandha Thandhaiku, Thandhai Thandha Vairamuthu.” Nice alliterative line but I said to myself, “Is he being sincere? Or, is he just showing off?!” You could say it’s both but I found the late poet Vaali to be a lot more fun, casual and even irreverent in his interviews and speeches.

    “entirely possible that my recent laps in the waters of self-pity had blinded me temporarily.” –> In (Singaravelan) Vadivelu baashai, “Only you possible!” Jokes apart, these kind of phrases are what elevate your writing from something simple to something snappy, and you do this without losing the substance part of it. Excellent!

    Liked by 1 person

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