One of the greatest contributions of Shah Rukh Khan, to this joke-starved world, has been his extravagant 150-crore initiative to revive interest in that old campus art form called ‘Bruce Lee’ jokes. Couched as a science fiction superhero movie - SRK’s Ra.One - is well and truly an elaborate 154-minute surrogate commercial to peddle the infectious cheesiness of the Iski Lee, Uski Lee & Sabki Lee sub genre of Made-in-India puns.
For the dim-bulbs who still don’t know what I am alluding to, the Bruce Lee Joke (BLJ) is the rite of passage for any Groucho who wants to be a Marx. It’s the adolescent brand of DIY drollery that’s about creating a Chinese character by playing on the word LEE. To put it in a Tamil context, it’s about inventing the mother of all mokkais.
A BLJ is very much like a sneeze. It just happens effortlessly. And when it happens, at least one person in the room will be able to see the humour in the hatchoo. The beauty of it is, anyone can join the fun. The template BLJ is always about coming up with punny names by posing bizarre questions.
Questions like ‘If Bruce Lee were to reincarnate as a naive Indian woman, what would you call her?’ The answer to that would be Bholee Bhalee. That didn’t amuse you, eh? Okay, here’s one more. What would be the name of Bruce Lee’s married Indian sister? Sumanga Lee. His epileptic Tamil uncle? Kaka Va Lee. And his kanjoos brother? Miser Lee!
The trick is to play it like ping pong. First you serve a dolly such as ‘What is Bruce Lee’s favourite delivery? Goog Lee.’ The moment someone hears this, they’ll think, ‘Ah, I can do better!’ And an old PJ will tumble out. That’s a signal for you to try an original Chinese chop. You should reply: “What car does he drive? Bent Lee!” Before your opponent can collect himself, you must go for the kill with “His favourite Bollywood movie? Dellee Bellee!” Deed done, battle won, you must khiskofy via the patlee galee and shout: 'Teri Lay Lee’!