I’m totally fascinated by trashy TV shows like Rakhi ka Swayamvar. And Bigg Boss. And MTV Roadies. And Splitsvilla. And I even tried watching Mujhe is Jungle se Bachao.
I really think deep inside me resides a leopard print wearing, hill road plastic bra strap showing wannabe. Maybe in my next life I want to hang around Lokhandwala Barista in tight track pants with Bebe inscribed across my ass.
Which is why when I got a chance to direct an item video four years back, I jumped out of my oily in the T-zone skin, and grabbed it.
The song was a remix of a popular old number. The producer was a fat man from Lucknow who I was given to believe had a long desk that housed four computers and four phones. Each computer and phone was a different company he owned. He was putting up the money because the remix singer, a rasgolla resembling Bengali was his friend.
Actually Rasgolla’s gujarati friend, who resembled a greasy Puri was the Producer’s friend. Greasy Puri was a fixer, and had somehow convinced this guy to put up the money with promises of fame, glory...and other things, of which I knew nothing.
My co-director was a south Indian pavam guy, who desperately needed a break and a film on his showreel.
Rasgolla was to star in the video. We needed a item girl to partner him, and save the video from being the stuff nightmares are made of. So we started with auditions, where our assistant would stand in the corner of a small empty room holding a two-in-one, while various women danced, slithered, shook, heaved to the song. After two days of doing this, we finally narrowed it down to a girl with dimples and a mop of curls.
Just as we were about to confirm her, the producer landed up. He sat next to the assistant on a stool. Wearing his dark glasses, and sweating copiously into his polyester shirt, and looking like someone I would not want to run into in a dark alley. No, actually I would not want to run into him even in broad daylight. My co-director showed him the girl’s audition. I noticed some head shaking and nodding. And then co director comes to me and says, “ he likes girls with straight hair.”
That should have told me something. Like get out of this while you are alive. Or still have your sanity intact. But I’m a fool who cannot read signs. And wants to be a leopard print wearing wannabe in her next life.
So I stuck on. And we changed the girl. To one with straight hair. Then, we get set to find the choreographer. Rasgulla has his heart set on one. Some guy who cheoreographs all Salman’s movies. Dude, have you seen Salman dancing? Like moving his feet, not his shirt?
Anyway so baby Sallu arrives. And she’s a woman who only knows two steps. One, throw yourself on your partner and both simultaneously heave your chest. Two, lie down, throw yourself over partner and roll...together.
Okay. So that’s what we do. We hold rehearsals for hours, where Rasgolla and Straight Hair roll around the dirt floor all day, while Baby Sallu runs after them yelling A one, A two, A three...A fantastic!
Errr? What exactly are we doing there? I don’t know about the others but I’m too stupefied to move. This is better than any reality show I’ve seen.
Especially the day Rasgollas wife arrives at the rehearsal and Rasgolla begs Baby sallu to give them some other steps so the wife doesn’t see them rolling around from one end of the room to the other. But the wife isn’t stupid and she spends two hours glaring at Straight hair, who keeps filing her nails. Rasgolla of course suddenly pretends like Straight Hair and he have nothing to do with each other.
Anyway, so now we’ve decided to go to Kerala for the shoot. The producer is coughing up just enough for us to travel by train. The rumour is that he and Straight hair are checking into Kumarakom Lake resort....in one room!
While, the rest of us are staying at Brother’s Hotel. Ya, that’s right next to Mother’s Hotel. I kid you not.
Everything is a mad frenzy. The dress designer is called. She’s fixer (Greasy Puri’s)friend. Or so he claims with a wink.
Rasgolla wants red corduroy pants with a white tie up shirt and red corduroy jacket and boots! And he gets it. The girl of course does not need so many clothes. She gets a rhinestone bra panty with a transparent white cut up kaftan!
We decide they’ll be floating on a raft in the backwaters as they lip-sync the song. Only problem is we have no money for a set designer, so we hire two guys who do small ganpati mandaps ka decoration.
What happened next?
The raft looked like a fucking matchbox. The ganpati guys had carried plastic flowers and diwali lights with them. So now imagine a floating matchbox that looks like a el cheapo mandap with lurid plastic flowers trailing behind it.
The horny mallu men almost caused a riot when we shot. We of course had no money for police protection. So yours truly was beating the men back with a stick, as they tried to swamp the rhinestone bra panty clad item girl.
The item girl was unaffected and insisted on smoking throughout and strolling around in her bra panty set.
The minute Baby sallu started yelling a-one, a-two...we realised the raft was a bad idea. Because by the time they did two rolls they were almost in the water. So for the rest of the video they just lay on each other and we rolled the camera from side to side.
And finally it rained...and the camera got wet. Two large lights fused. And it was evident to pretty much everyone that this video would never make it to Cannes.
I for one have never been happier to have fat drops rain on my parade!
pic credit: prayasindia.com