Via the lens, evenly
My Disco Dancer recollections got here speeding again final week, not as a result of the enduring movie, India’s model of Saturday Evening Fever, will flip 40 subsequent month, however as a result of a reel abruptly went viral: in China, one of many film’s songs — the very foot-tapping Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy — had been tailored to Mandarin and was being sung as Jie mi, jie mi, jie mi (it means “give me rice”), and getting used a protest tune in opposition to the strict lockdown within the nation.
I’ve vague but particular recollections of the time when Disco Dancer was launched. It was 1982, and some video prints had been instantly made by a neighborhood video parlour chappie within the neighbourhood I grew up in in Calcutta. He was doing a tough promote by telling all his purchasers that the town’s “Bengali boy” has lastly hit the jackpot in Bollywood. Ergo, watch Disco Dancer; the prints, he stated, weren’t originals clearly (it took months after launch for that to occur), however they have been nonetheless “excellent”. All this I heard from my aunt, who was the Bollywood buff in our household and would watch a minimum of a few films on the VCR participant that had been newly acquired. Not one of the different adults within the family have been into Bollywood, and we, the children, have been banned from watching something to do with ‘Hindi cinema’. “Corrupting affect,” my father would fume.
However a humorous factor occurred with Disco Dancer. It was deemed an exception and we have been allowed to look at it. Possibly it was as a result of Mithun’s gyrations have been thought of — by the mother or father physique — to be extra athletic relatively than filmi (aka, crude, vulgar, take your decide). So we watched it as soon as, our jaws dropping in wonderment when Mithun sang ‘I’m a disco dancer’ and set the template in my thoughts (irretrievably) for the time period “disco”: D for dance, I for merchandise, S for singer, C for refrain, O for orchestra — and I swear I didn’t must Google that, it’s so firmly entrenched in my head. I then re-watched it a number of occasions over, with my aunt, who would smuggle me into the TV room that was normally past the children’ ken. I feel I watched it about 10 to 12 occasions. She claimed she watched it 30 occasions, and had saved the video cassette effectively past its permitted ‘borrowing’ time.
However the very best factor occurred with my cousin, who was round two or three years outdated again then, and who had watched Disco Dancer together with his mom (the identical aunt I used to be speaking about) with unwavering fidelity. He, my brother and I have been taken to look at (the musical) The Jungle E book that was taking part in in a number of theatres in Calcutta as a part of a Walt Disney retro — proper after our Disco Dancer binge at dwelling. The theatre was full of excited youngsters, and because the film began, all of them started to clap their arms to the songs, some have been singing alongside. After which abruptly, my three-year-old cousin started to bawl loudly.
“Shhhhhhh,” his embarrassed mom — my aunt — reprimanded him. “What occurred? Aren’t you having fun with the film?”
“No,” he sobbed, “I’m hating it. I wish to watch Disco Dancer.”
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