Wishing the readers a very Happy Holi with some songs of brazenness
Once a casual acquaintance, but who had a way of showing great familiarity, visited me. He started discussing something very animatedly, every second sentence he would look at me intently and ask, “Whose father’s what goes? Isn’t it?” I didn’t know what to say, because I had never heard this expression before, nor did it make any sense to me grammatically, until I had a flash. If you are still puzzled, try to translate it into Hindi. Of course, he meant: किसी के बाप का क्या जाता है?, or KKBKKJH. There are times when nothing but WFWG can convey what you want to say.
As I write this, my thoughts go to my two fellow bloggers who are also regular visitors to SoY: Madhu (Dusted Off) and Anu (Conversations over chai). They are writers and editors by profession; as such, they are sticklers for correct language. I wouldn’t mind if they red-ink my writings ruthlessly, but I would strongly urge them to accept ‘Whose father’s what goes’ as correct English. Else, please tell us, how does one say Kisi ke baap ka kya jata hai in English?
I have since come across its milder variant: What goes of you?, i.e. WGOY, or तेरा क्या जाता है?, i.e. TKJH. Whether you use one or the other is a matter of personal style – if you believe in moderation in language, you would use WGOY; if you are given to making your point with a sledgehammer, you would use WFWG. It is the difference between Prannoy Roy and Arnab Goswami. (If there is any lesson in this, Arnab’s WFWG was getting too hot for the Times Group to handle. They have thrown out the Voice of India, without caring who the country will now turn to at prime time for “The nation wants to know”.)
As an aside, ‘father’ comes for such irreverent references in several colloquial usages – Baap ka maal samajh rakha hai kya?, or Ye teri bapauti nahi hai, or Tum to uske bhi baap nikale. Leaving aside Punjabi expletives of Ma-Behan, mothers are at a high pedestal – Ma kasam, or Aayi shapath. The ultimate is Mere paas Ma hai against Mera baap chor hai in the same movie. However, the readers may recall, the Punjabi Ma-expletive, for once, saved the Indian cricket team from serious international embarrassment. That was when the hot-headed Harbhajan Singh called Andrew Symonds ‘monkey’, and the whole Australian team was up in arms at this racial insult. The sharp-thinking Indian team came up with a bright defence – Harbhajan had actually used the Punjabi Ma-ki gaali. When the Yudhishthir of the Indian team, Sachin Tendulkar, too, supported it, the Australians were satisfied, and the matter was closed.
Coming back to WFWG, Holi has become the ultimate festival of WFWG. बुरा ना मानो होली है is a license to stretch the boundaries. Holika Dahan on the eve of Holi is meant to symbolize the victory of the pious devotee over the evil; but, in many parts of the country, if you are not watchful, your wooden furniture, cots etc. kept in the veranda of the house, might end up in flames in the holy bonfire. University officials have a tough time maintaining order around girls’ hostels pre-Holi, as a famous politician once said, “Boys would be boys”.
The world of Hindi film songs is amazing – there is nothing they have not covered. There have been screen characters of defiance and brazenness. There have been outstanding WFWG songs, both on the occasion of Holi, and otherwise. Let us look at some of them.
1. Rang barse by Amitabh Bachchan from Silsila by Amitabh Bachchan from Silsila (1981), lyrics Harivansh Rai Bachchan, music Shiv-Hari
What is the limit of WFWG under the garb of Holi? Nothing can beat this brazen song from Silsila. If you are into a relationship with a friend’s wife, you would be discreet about it. Long ago, Dada Kondke was slammed for his double entendres. The Big B does not have to camouflage it. He says it straight in the face of Sanjeev Kumar, ‘खाये गोरी का यार बलम तरसे रंग बरसे’ and, leaving nothing to imagination, ‘बेला चमेली का सेज सजाया, सोये गोरी का यार बलम तरसे’.
2. Aaj na chhodenge bas humjoli khelenge hum holi by Kishore Kumar from Kati Patang (1970), lyrics Anand Bakhshi, music RD Burman
Holi is an occasion when you assume a right to throw coloured water, or even mud or paint on a stranger passing by. While playing Holi with relations like Bhabhi and Saali, it is fair game to test the limits of propriety. Asha Parekh is ‘known’ to be a widow, so she is not expected to join in the Holi revelries. But Rajesh Khanna would not relent.
3. Jab pyar kiya to darana kya by Lata Mangeshkar from Mughal-e-Azam (1960), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad
WFWG or KKBKKJH need not be confined to Holi, nor need it be always risqué. A kaneez challenging the Shahanshah of the Mughal Empire should be the ultimate in KKBKKJH. There is literally a Baap in the song; as a matter of fact Prithviraj Kapoor in Mughal-e-Azam is the Baap’s Baap. If I may be allowed to take off from the expression, his a lot goes. He can’t bear the thought of Salim getting enraptured by the charms of a lowly sculptor’s daughter. Salim’s protest is constrained by the father-son relationship, royalty’s protocol and the flowery Urdu dialogues. Madhubala stares the Alampanaah in his eyes – Yes I love him, and you may be a Baapon Ka Baap, but I care not for you. If you think of it, there is some Holi connection in this as well. Earlier, Madhubala danced to Mohe panghat pe Nandlal chhed gayo re on the occasion of Janmashtami, and Lord Krishna is integral to Holi folklore.
4. Aasman se aya farishta by Rafi from An Evening in Paris (1967), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri, music Shankar Jaikishan
Shammi Kapoor has done many I-don’t-give-a-damn roles, but none as brazen as him dangling from a chopper in bathrobe in France (the Riviera?). You could imagine the shocked concierge telling Shammi Kpoor as he leaves the hotel wrapped in the bathrobe, “Excusez-moi, Monsieur, you can’t take the bathrobe out of the hotel.” And Shammi Kapoor snorting, Tere baap ka kya jata hai, I would return your damn bathrobe when I come back from the shoot. And the concierge meekly saying, “C’est rien Monsieur! Merci beacoup!”
5. Yahoo..Chahe koi muhe junglee kahe by Rafi from Junglee (1961), lyrics Shailendra, music Shankar-Jaikishan
There had been heroes before who chased the girl, but none who proudly proclaimed himself to be a junglee. Shammi Kapoor’s transformation from a thin-moustachioed, staid, serious hero to a livewire, dancing youth icon started a few years earlier with Nasir Hussain’s Tumsa Nahi Dekha (1957). With Yahoo, he goes full blast with this title song from the movie.
6. Ku ku…Mast baharon ka main ashiq by Rafi from Farz (1967), lyrics Anand Bakhshi, music Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Shammi Kapoor had many imitators. Farz became a colossal hit when the Jumping Jack Jeetu lit up the screen with this unabashed imitation of the Yahoo song, the scream replaced by ‘Hu hu’ or ‘Ku ku’ I can’t tell clearly. Rafi does the honours for both the original and the imitation. SJ have now been replaced by Laxmikant-Pyarelal.
7. Pag ghunghroo baandh Meera nachi re by Kishore Kumar from Namak Halal (1982), lyrics Anjaan, music Bappi Lahiri
You would think a rustic Haryanavi, who has come to the city for the first time in search of a job and has been taken by his friend to a 5-star hotel party, would be awestruck by the surroundings. But you couldn’t be more wrong. When asked by the friend to come in proper clothes to cast a good impression on the boss for the job, Arjun Singh (Amitabh Bachchan) dresses up in the best he has for special occasions, making him stick out like a buffoon. His clumsiness causes mayhem at the party, knocking out the singer for the evening. Pushed on to the stage by his friend, the rustic Haryanavi dances up a storm. In between stanzas, he also buttonholes the Manager, Ranjit, and tells him in his face – Aap andar se kuchh aur baahar se kuchh aur nazar aate hain, Baakhuda shakla se to chor nazar aate hain/ Aapka to bas yahi lagata hai sapna, Ram naam japna paraya maal apna.
8. Khaike paan Banaraswala by Kishore Kumar from Don (1978), lyrics Anjaan, music Kalyanji-Anandji
The Banaras ka chhora has landed in Bambai, and his uncanny resemblance to the Don, whom the police of eleven countries could not catch, makes the DSP Saheb give him a makeover, and plant him in the Don’s den. However, that is not his natural habitat. With his cover blown, he is on the run, being chased by both the goons and the cops. But, once he is in the midst of his own people, and with paan on the side, he is uninhibited, and sings this terrific song with abandon.
9. Koi kahe kahta rahe by Shankar Mahadevan, Shaan and KK from Dil Chahta Hai (2001), lyrics Javed Akhtar, music Shankar-Ehsan-Loy
The three urban youth from upper middle class families – Amir Khan, Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan – don’t care a damn in the world. This triad song reflects their WFWG attitude towards life. A small incident would turn their lives upside-down, leading to their growing up in their separate worlds until they have an emotional reunion towards the end.
10. Budtameez kaho ya kaho jaanwar by Rafi from Budtameez (1966), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri, music Shankar-Jaikishan
Shammi Kapoor is the ultimate WFWG character. After Junglee, he had no qualms in donning the roles of Jaanwar (1965) and Budtameez (1966), and he didn’t bat an eyelid declaring himself to be one. In this song he is all that, and to show that he gives too hoots what the girl thinks, he also ends with Ho lalla ho lalla ho lalla ho lalla.
11. Ab chahe Ma roothe ya Baba yara maine to haan kar li by Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar from Daag (1973), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanavi, music Laxmikant-Pyarelal
There was a time when it was unimaginable to defy the parents in matters of marriage. You had the option to become a Devdas. But the younger generation believes in WFWG.