Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Godmen of Small Things

There was a time when honorific prefixes and suffixes were appended to names only after a lifetime of consideration. Paramahamsa was one such lofty title. Only the enlightened metasouls who could sift the truth from the illusion were conferred this spiritual knighthood. Recently while watching Vinnaithandi Varuvaya, the cinematographer’s work caught my eye. I discovered it was by one, Manoj Paramahamsa! With all due respect to the man, I wonder how his parents bestowed him this coveted surname without going through the contortions of acquiring the black belt of Yogahood. I am almost certain the genuine gurus who slaved away all their empty lives in pursuit of such mystic honorifics, will be collectively scowling in their saintly samadhis.

But they must be used to it now. After all, they have seen so many godmen take so many liberties and bring so much disrepute to so many guru names that they would’ve stopped counting. Like our newest sensation, Paramahamsa Nithyananda (born as Rajasekaran).

Son of a farmer, the young lad did his studies in Tiruvannamalai (Ramana Maharishi’s abode) and one fine day discovered the stairway to heaven and the short cut to nirvana. That’s when he decided to switch over to the saffron garb and appropriated the aura of a sanyasi by attempting a naming technique, we call fusonyms. He just sliced the ‘ananda’ from Vivekananda, diced ‘Nithya’ from Nithya Chaitanya Yati and added a sprinkling of the reverential P-word and thus was born Paramhamsa Nithyananda. That one masterstroke changed his destiny and the rest is television history.

The ingeniousness of Rajasekaran has inspired me to create a whole new cult of Fake Godmen names. It’s royalty free. So feel free to partake of my holy prasad. Up for grabs first is Swami Twistananda, for the dancing guru. With such a name, one can give Shiamak Davar, a gambol for his money. Laptop Baba can be a brilliant way to make nubile chicks, plonk on your lap. Football Maharaj is for disciples in search of a guru who can help them kick their bad karma. I have a lot more monikers. I shall preserve them for my salvation!

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Doctor Balki Syndrome

Doctor Balki is an honorable man. After giving us India’s first diabetic-friendly movie (Cheeni Kum), he followed it up with a flick on the Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome. The ingenious choice of a rare disease gave the audience a reason-to-lap-up the monkey dancing antics of Auro, and more importantly, it provided Amitabh, a new medical condition to milk an award (flash back: Alzheimer’s fetched Big B, the National for Black). Inspired by Balki’s award winning template, KJo injected doses of the Asperger Syndrome into the MNIK script, to resuscitate the thespian in Star Rukh Khan. Now I hear the search is on for even more obscure diseases and syndromes for creating roles-to-die-for, for the other Khans, Kumars, Deols and Khannas. Let’s raise a toast to the gentlemen who started this trend.

To aid my fellow miserable scriptwriters, the black humorist in me, thought, it would be a nice idea to share a few ‘zara hat ke’ syndrome names that can serve as a neat fig leaf for the lack of a plot. Here’s the deluge with suitable pointers on the cast…

Leriche’s Syndrome will be ideal for a Mukesh Bhatt production starring the serial kisser Emran Hashmi. Leriche is a disease that causes impotence due to the paralysis of the Lumbar spinal nerve. Goodpasture’s Syndrome can serve as today’s Lymphosarcoma of the Intestine (Rajesh Khanna dies in ‘Anand’ because of this condition). Goodpasture results in death by renal failure and it offers immense scope for Guru Duttesque melodramas. Marfan Syndrome can fulfill Aamir’s long cherished desire to play a tall character! Because this genetic disorder is known to lead to extra long limbs and long thin fingers. Marfan can also seriously impair the eyes causing Astigmatism and Nearsightedness. These touches could enhance the glycerine quotient in the poignant climax.

Bipasha would love the Takayasu’s Syndrome as it is known to cause pulselessness. Imagine a Ram Gopal Varma horror film where the protagonist is assumed to be dead because Shiney Ahuja can’t feel the pulse! Do you sense the possibilities? So go on. Abuse the syndromes. And blame it all on Balki.

Extracted from my Nama Sutra column, featured in Indulge, the Friday lifestyle tabloid of New Indian Express.