You probably expect to read something about the election results. But what is there to say that I didn't say before
I shall therefore take this opportunity to present to you my new Favorite Thing Ever. Drop everything you had planned to do during the next six minutes. Be warned: Many people feel compelled to watch this sequence more than once. Some people play it six, seven times in a row.
Everything you need to know about politics, life, art, sex and spirituality is embedded in this video clip. Who would have thought that the Ultimate 60s Artifact came from India?
Some background: "Jaan Pehechaan Ho" was the opening number in a 1965 Hindi-language epic titled Gumnaam
, an Indian version of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None
. (Yes, it was filmed a year before
the Adam West Batman
series appeared on TV.) This song has little or nothing to do with the rest of the story.
I first learned about "Jaan Pehechaan Ho" from Glenn Erickson's review
of Ghost World
A selection of deleted and alternate scenes are mosty dull and uninvolving, but the special features page has a killer selection, one worth buying the disc for: the uncut (6 minute!) musical number from the beginning of the film. It's from a 1965 Indian picture called Gumnaam, a rockin' song called "Jaan Pehechaan Ho". If you haven't seen its use in the titles of Ghost World, you won't believe your eyes. Uncut in 'music video' form, it's even more unbelievable. The weird choreography is Shindig Meets Busby Berkeley: a female lead in a golden dress shimmies and jerks frenetically, surrounded by a pack of thin male dancers, all with bandit masks. The energy expended in the silly dancing is enough to raise the roof - it's like 50 Beach Party dance numbers rolled together, only better. Not shown in the title sequence version are angles featuring the grinning lead singer, who looks like a demented John Waters. The only downside is that the number goes on a bit too long, with the music seemingly recycled ... otherwise it's the party-play disc chapter of the year. I'm surprised the song didn't get radio airplay, it's so brain-numbingly infectious.
"John Waters" is actually the choreographer. Yes, I know that many of the dancers seem under-rehearsed (as is commonly the case in Indian musicals) -- and I'm fully aware that the name of the club is misspelled. None of that matters. Laxmi Chhaya, the lead dancer, may be the most adorable -- and certainly the most energetic
-- creature ever to step in front of a camera. She was all of 18 years old when this scene was filmed, and she genuinely seems to be trying
to give herself a brain concussion -- albeit in a very charming way. You may say that other films have featured other dancers who were more skilled, but can you point to anyone else who had this much fun
Nearly half a century after the release of Gumnaam
in India, "Jaan Pehechaan Ho" has begun to gain popularity in America. Western bands have covered the song. (Which is only fitting
.) A beer company
restaged the number. People try to imitate Laxmi at parties. (I presume that these contests are sponsored by the people who make Excedrin.) Sociologists have even analyzed this film clip
and its place in modern American culture.
(Have I ever told you people about my Bollywood phase? One of these days, we must discuss the strange case of the gorgeous and mysterious Parveen Babi, India's Marilyn Monroe. She was, among many other things, a claimed mind control victim.)
Laxmi was more traditionally Indian in her other numbers. In the clip below, she performs what must be the
kinkiest dance scene ever filmed, complete with bondage, blood and bisexual knife play. You'll fall in love.