Tuesday, November 24, 2009

taal se taal mila

If Gabbar Singh were to ever capture me, and Teja coming to the rescue was tied down hand and foot by Gabbar Singh's henchmen and put at gun-point, he would never ever have to flare his nostrils and shout at me, "Banno, in kutto ke saamne mat naachna." (Banno, don't dance before these dogs.)

For Gabbar Singh would himself clamber down from his high rock, put a shawl over my trembling body, untie Teja's bonds and tell Teja, "Teja-bhai, tum Banno-behn ko ghar le jaao. Hum ko koi naach-vaach nahin dekhna, Nahin dekhna naach-vaach hum ko." (Teja-brother, please take Banno-sister home. We don't want to see any dance. No dance we want to see.)

For a 10 second demonstration would have made it clear to him that Banno-style dancing goes like this: 1. Move right foot sideways. 2. Move torso to the right. 3. Lift right arm up. 4. Twist right hand. 5. Move left foot towards right foot. 6. Move torso to the left. 7. Lift left arm sideways. 8. Turn left hand round and round. 9. Stand still to listen to beat. 10. Catch it again and start motion in above sequence, now completely off-beat. Repeat ad-infinitum.

Is it any wonder then that anyone who can move arms, legs, shoulders, eyes, face, head, and other body parts in one continuous, rhythmic motion and stay with the beat, for any length of time mesmerizes me?

As if my own gracelessness were not enough, my ignorance about any form of classical Indian dance (or music) is shameful. So I am always hesitant to attend dance performances. But for once, I decided to diss the computer and the DVD player, and stretch my mind, if not my limbs a little.

The dance performances at the Bandra festival were meant for ignoramuses like me. The open air stage attracts a mixed crowd, street children, regular promenade walkers, young couples who've made their way up from the rocks by the sea after sun-down, friends and family supporting performers.

The performances by children from 2 NGO shelters, had me doing that thing I do to stop howling - gulp, gulp, close mouth, squeeze nostrils, stop breathing, face swelling up, getting red. Theirs was a dance I understood, because it was close to Banno-style dancing.

The three other presentations were Kathak, a duet of Bharatnatyam (performed by the male dancer) and Odissi (performed by his female partner), and a group of students performing Bharatnatyam. I was unable to capture the finer nuances of the performances, so I concentrated on watching the expressions, the costumes, the flowers in their hair, the sparkle of the jewellery.

And going on in my mind, "Why are they wearing black? It's showing the dirt. If she was wearing red and yellow, why is he wearing maroon? Her ghaghra is too stiff. It doesn't show me the play of her legs." And so on. Because of course, to me, commenting  is half the fun of watching anything.

What I also love doing during live performances is to watch the people who are watching. Some young boys  getting impatient. A little girl with dirty frock, matted hair and blond streaks. An old couple who really seemed to get it. Parents of the performers, whose eyes and cameras were focussed only on their kids.

There was also a school-principal type of MC who scolded all of us before and after the presentations.

Of course, going to Band Stand is never complete without shouting "Ee, ee, Shahrukh Khan's house." I almost never have to do that myself, because someone always gets in there before me. This time, it was Pu.

However, in my book, this is highly excusable, because just a few weeks ago, I met an old doctor who lives across Shahrukh Khan's house and he was pointing out of his window, going, "Ee, ee, Shahrukh Khan's house." And the old gentleman and his family have lived there for years before SRK.

After, a walk through Bandra, and then prawn curry-rice, fried surmai and fried bombil at Soul Fry.

Made me forget all my film woes, for sure. I was also quite pleased when I liked the same dances that Pu had liked, considering that she is studying dance since she was a child. Some hope for me, I say. And for Gabbar Singh.


SUR NOTES said...

ooof, and i did not go because i had no company. the male dancer is a college friend. and the odissi dancer, his wife.

by the way if you add some jumping and some white shoes to your dancing then you will probably be the next dancing sensation after the star who danced with shuttle cocks, pots and sarees.
why the hell is gabbar complaining???

Banno said...

Sur, oh. Wish I'd known. Next time I'm calling you, everywhere I go. :)

Not sure whether Gabbar wanted to see the star with white shoes, shuttle cocks and pots.

He was more into dancing belles, no?

memsaab said...

Oh Banno, how I love you. Am still giggling.

Wish I'd been there with you. SO MUCH.

SUR NOTES said...

me thinks gabbar was in a bad mood because basanti danced and not jai.

he was watching the charming jalal aga, his flunkies watched helen.

me thinks.

yeah, he would probably get irritable if you wore the white shoes. it has to be him, the one with the tight pants.

dipali said...

Ditto Memsaab, Banno sister:)

Banno said...

Memsaab, :)

Sur, now that's a new angle to the Gabbar story.

Dipali, :)

Dr. Ally Critter said...

You have company in the dance non-dancing business! My mausi used to say, "Alankrtia bahut zor laga kar dance karti hai, aur logon ko chot lag jaati hai".

Ashley said...

I bet you would dance perfectly for Gabbar Singh (and ultimately, Veeru and Jai Dev... and Teja)....

Banno said...

Alankrita, zor laga ke haiyya!

Ashley, you are too optimistic.:)

M said...

Just saw your reply to my comment! Also just read the post below too. :)

So i was right! Thank god. It saved me from a LOT of embarassment. :)

Am waiting for the movie badly!
She told me that the screening was a smash hit. :)

Lekhni said...

I've always thought that if Gabbar Singh really wanted to torture, then he should have danced :)

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