I have never made it is a secret that I find Bollywood unbearable. But I have to confess that I have watched the 1975 blockbuster Sholay a dozen times at least. Why? Because one particular sequence in it cracked me up something wicked. It is a traditional joke — someone ostensibly speaking in favor of a person but actually doing everything possible to undermine that person’s case. As a rhetorical device, it is deliciously persuasive because the humor hammers home the underlying message more effectively than straightforward speech.
In that particular scene in the movie, Amitabh Bachchan’s character is pleading his friend’s case to the aunt of a girl that his friend is keen on. He slyly reveals that his friend is actually a worthless layabout and general debauch. The aunt is understandably disgusted and in the end she says that the last thing she would want is to throw her niece into the clutches of such a monster. End scene.
What brought to mind that sequence is that there’s a new parody of it on YouTube. In this version, the Bachchan character is canvassing the old lady to vote for the Congress/UPA government. Just give the government one more chance, he pleads. Let me not spoil it for you. Just watch it.
(Sorry to those who don’t follow Hindi. Perhaps someone will subtitle it in English soon.)
The old lady’s voice is clearly not that of the original actor’s but the man’s voice is unmistakably that of Amitabh Bachchan. I wonder how the makers of the parody got him to do it. Be that as it may, I am thrilled about it. The form of the message is funny but the content is devastatingly accurate. People who support the Congress/UPA government despite their terrible deeds are purposefully blind to the obvious. What they gain from this blindness will have to wait for another day but for now, just enjoy the little skit, which unfortunately for us, is not a parody. You cannot parody a government that is a parody itself.