Monday, March 07, 2011

Fake will do.

Simply amazing! I'm referring to the perspicacity of whoever chose the Kishore Kumar number “Pal bhar ke liye koi hame pyar kar le, jootha hi sahi” from Johny Mera Naam (1970) as the finale of the “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore” episode of The Simpsons. This episode, by the way, happened to be the 17th of the 17th season. It was first aired in the US on 9 April 2006 and recently telecast in India. The song of which the punch line gives a grudging nod to momentary love of the fake kind is an apt and telling footnote to the American attitude toward exotic mysterious India (cf. Raiders of the Lost Ark: Temple of Doom) as well as the Middle Indian propensity to accept anything Western (especially American) as manna from heaven without bothering to determine its provenance and authenticity. In India, fakery even when tinged with mediocrity gets celebrated mainly by default. This was proved decisively once again by the gushing obit outburst after the recent death of the so-called pioneer of Indian comics. This worthy had the gall to unleash, in the late 1960s, on his unsuspecting compatriots a spate of badly written, shoddily produced, garishly and unimaginatively illustrated and tinted comic books based on simplistic and cliché-ridden depiction of Indian folklore, mythology, religion and history. This may well have done untold harm by conditioning an entire generation of Middle India particularly to think of Indian historical and mythological narratives and characters in two-dimensional (good/evil, hero/villain, virtue/vice) terms of reference insidiously implanted in their minds by years of reading these contemporary, seemingly canonical word-and-picture spin-offs.