18 Sep 2015

Ganpati dance

It is Ganpati time. It is the time of big Ganesh idols being magically balanced on juxtaposed thelaas (hand carts) and squeezed through narrow by-lanes of by-lanes.

Every year a new pandaal sprouts up. Every year a new team of youth assembles and decides to have their very own Ganpati pandaal. Every year is promised to be bigger than the last year.

To be fair, it even is.

Fireworks are passe. They now hold a matchstick against a big red can of HIT cockroach repellent or any other inflammable spray. Gulaal is old world. They now have party poppers in glittering colours. Head bands and blue coloured glasses are no longer in. Honey Singh was so last year. Nashik band and dhol was ubiquitous a couple of years back. The vehicle that accommodates the idol is led by another one which holds only huge speakers. The bulbul tarang and the banjo has made way for the music CD operator (aka DJ) who makes himself comfy somewhere behind the tall speakers.

What hasn't changed much is the trickling stream of faithful crowds that join the processions at regular intervals of a few metres.

What has not definitely changed at all is the Ganpati procession dance.

What is Ganpati procession dance, you ask? Now that is a difficult one. How can one even start to explain in words something that is inimitable? Once someone performs a step in the this style, it is difficult for even that person to repeat it.

This dance form has only one motto - "dance like no one is watching". Ironically, there are hordes gathered just to watch the adrenaline junkies make their killer moves.

Here is my humble attempt in jotting down some of the things one might notice in this form:
1. streams of sweat profusely flowing down the face of the dancer
2. first 3 buttons of the shirt are unbuttoned to show a bare chest or a bright coloured vest
3. if the eyes are open, the dancer's gaze is not looking anywhere in particular; definitely not the crazy flickering cameras
4. the beats of the song are for the listeners and not the dancers
5. choreography is for the meek
6. follow the leader and mind it, everyone is a leader; no can-do what others do

Still don't get the picture? Hmpff! Let me show you the epitome of all that I attempted to put in words.
Presenting the one and the only... Anil Kapoor.

Exhibit 1: Anil Kapoor has been let loose in from of the camera and they turned on some music for the rest of the people in the frame. The choreographer was on a leave. The camera man kept yelling to let Mr Kapoor know where he is. Mr Kapoor gives a damn. Notice the buttons on that expensive designer shirt. Notice where the trouser hangs. This was the song 'Inshaah Allaah' from the movie 'Welcome'. As if he cares which song it is.

Exhibit 2: You could say that in Welcome, Anil Kapoor plays a gangster and he was just in character. So, here is an example where Mr Kapoor plays a suave uber rich character in 'Dil Dhadakne Do'. This is a single shot song where the choreographer and director have taken great efforts to make sure that everyone knows what to do. Each character has been made to rehearse well choreographed steps. In comes a lady trying out some thumkaas and that is enough for Mr Kapoor to break loose. You can keep your money, Mr Producer and I will show some moves, Mr Choreographer. I mean, look at Farhan Akhtar and Parmeet Sethi and the usually loud Ranveer. Everyone is following orders. But there is Mr Kapoor, pulling out the pelvic thrusts. Look how close he gets with them. The shirt buttons are magically still fastened.

That ladies and gentlemen is all for now. See you at the visarjan procession.