At the outset, let me make one thing clear: I have been eagerly waiting for Chennai Express hoping that it delivers the much needed solid-masala-box-office-success that has been eluding Shah Rukh Khan (SRK). In the absolutely busy graduate school schedule that I have, it takes a highly atrocious, moronic and ludicrous national event to make me blog about it—no, I am not talking about the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, but about The Lungi Dance. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kWLyInyjOE
Performed by SRK and Deepika, featuring Yo Yo Honey Singh this song claims to be a tribute to Rajnikanth. Far from being a tribute, the song and the dance sequence comes off as mocking south’s regional cinema and makes a caricature of Rajnikanth and the hero of regional south films, in general. Surely, the north indians will have a good laugh and south indians will just not be able to relate to this nonsense. To begin with, if this is really a tribute then why isn’t SRK wearing a lungi? Dressed in a dapper suit with pink shirt, the song set looks like the promo song for when SRK hosted KBC. The choice of lyrics and the accent further perpetuates existing stereotypes about south-indian heros. My complaint is not about the accent here; it is okay to make fun if that is the intention, but it cannot look like a mockery in the name of a tribute. That is just plain being silly. In my view, there is absolutely nothing in this song that would make a Rajni fan feel nostalgic or proud [I am guessing that is what a tribute is meant to be], instead the viewer is instantly repelled by the idea of watching Chennai Express.
As he ages and as his stardom fades, SRK is prepared to go to any desperate length to make his films earn a few more bucks. Keep in mind, Chennai Express is co-produced by Gauri Khan-Red Chillies i.e. SRK’s home production. I trust none of you even choose to remember the embarrassing tribute SRK gave Rajnikanth by making a fake-dummy Rajni do a cameo in a really silly film called Ra.One. May I also refresh your memory that in Ra.One either SRK or Kareena is a Tamilian and Kareena actually teaches him how to wear a lungi [check out Dil dara song]. Thankfully, Rajni Sir did not save the film and neither did his fans. Here is the link for the Rajni tribute in Ra.One; those with a weak heart should avoid this as I cannot take responsibility for harming your life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2RPAk2Tipw
Congratulations! you survived the video if you are reading this line. Fast forward to the present and now we have Deepika play a Tamilian and again a ghastly tribute to Rajnikanth. Seriously, when is this going to stop? Don’t get me wrong: there is nothing wrong with a tribute to Rajni Sir, but my problem is with the way the song has been conceived and delivered. It could have been so much more enjoyable. From what I see on youtube.com, this song looks like a stand alone item piece—meaning, a desperate attempt to earn a few more currency at the box-office.
I would be shocked out of my life if the actual song in the movie is shot differently and is well integrated into the story. I highly recommend that SRK and Rohit Shetty watch Nithin’s Gunde Jaari Gallanthayyinde [Telugu film] where he gives a tribute to his matinee idol Pawan Kalyan’s Tholiprema [Telugu film]—now, thats what I call a tribute: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R501pXJ45Ko
Let me add that the song by itself is quite catchy and I wish this was the item song with Priyamani albiet with different lyrics. With a couple of weeks more to go and with such an embarrassingly ghastly publicity gimmick called The Thailava Tribute, Chennai Express is all set to get derailed at the box-office. I would be happy if it is not, but the signs are ominous. But again, we live in funny times, right? The economics of movies today ensures that even Ra.One and Jab Tak Hai Jaan are massive grossers at the box-office. And the sycophants around SRK will never even allow him to know how the movie really is. The show goes on; and now with plastic surgeries and what have you…our stars will never age! LOL!