Since just too many people had asked me what we were planning for the new year, I felt we ought to do something that was expected of a young couple. When Mohan asked me if I wanted passes for the new year bash event being organised by Country Club I grabbed the chance. The highlight of the event was a live performance by Koena Mitra, the bombshell from Kolkata who had featured in an "Item Number" in the movie "Musafir". The pass mentioned her as the "Saki Saki Saki" girl. The original "Saki", HH Munro must be turning in his grave.(That was his pen name).
We reached Palace grounds, the venue for the bash at around 9 in the night. There was a huge turnout. What surprised me was that there were a lot of families also, by families I mean, mom dad, grandma, grandpa, kiddies, the whole gang. This was a bit unusual at a "bash" and I failed to see the warning signs. Anyway, what I was interested was in Koena Mitra and what the heck if there was a crowd.
As we entered there were filler items going on. Some chap dressed up as Rajesh Khanna was slamming the public with PJ after PJ. What made them worse was the fact that the guy was more concerned about imitating the Rajesh Khanna mannerisms rather than the quality of jokes. Sample this.. Rajesh Khanna is arguing with a police man who accused RK of having kicked his dog. This goes on and on with RK saying "Nahin Babu Moshaay..." etc etc etc. U get the picture right? The punchline of the joke was RK saying "Babu Moshaay, main apni pyaari Dimple ko kabhi pyaar se chaanta bhi nahin maarta to tere kutte ko laat kaise maroonga re?.......... Dhanyavaad doston". And he was off.
But .. I still had Koena Mitra to watch out for...
Next, the MC comes to the stage and builds up the hype for the next item. Lots of arbit questions aimed at getting the audience to guess the identity of the next performer(Salman Khan). What made the whole thing very funny was that all the while this guy was shooting these questions at the public trying to generate hype , the performer was standing meekly behind him sans his shirt. The MC was not aware of this and kept asking "Do you know who it is ....???", and then with a huge wave of his hand towards the curtains announced "I welcome Salman Khan.... Junior!!!!", only to find the chap right there. There were some muted claps. welcoming Salman Khan Junior. I began to get a bit apprehensive here, if they could have a joker double up as Rajesh Khanna , and a short muscleman as Salman Khan, they might as well have some nursery kid narrate some rhymes and announce her as Koena Mitra.. junior !!
The people were getting restless, the babies and the babes included. But me the optimist, waited for Koena Mitra.
Next the MC spoks about a guy who had acted in Tamil movies and had received state government awards for a folk dance he performed. I love Tamil music and was sure that the next item would be the catalyst for some action. The curtains lifted to reveal a guy dressed up in traditional temple attire with a collection of "kalashas" on his head. Balancing these he began to dance on the stage to the rhythm of classical music. This was too much for the maamis as well and slowly the sardars in the crowd began to loudly vocalize what they thought of the whole affair. The event organisers sure had no idea about what the crowd expected out of the whole event. I told my wife that if the next item was as bad, we would call it quits Koena or no Koena. I must mention that being a girl and a wife, she did not share my enthusiasm for Koena.
The next item was a classical dance. This was announced straight, no scope for any optimism. A typical dance it was, lots of girls doing some classical stuff. The optimist in me said that there was Koena Mitra amongst those girls. Hiding under layers of clothing that she would suddenly take off in a flash announcing her arrival and then the party would begin. But no such luck and the girls completed their number.
I must also mention that the theme of the party was supposed to be a "Hawaiian Experience". The only thing that reminded me there of Hawaii was a guy walking proudly with an "Organiser" badge wearing a hat with a floral decoration. Booze was available, a 300 ml can of KF beer was priced at 50/- and a pack of popcorn available outside for 5 bucks was being sold for 20 bucks! I was pretty sure that the combination of frustration and alcohol would soon get too much for the organisers to handle unless they did something fast.
And they did, suddenly Koena Mitra came on stage with some other girls. A couple of fireworks and then her "performance" began. The crowd became hysterical and the ones close to the stage knocked down a couple of speakers and began to rush towards the stage. The guys at the back since they could not see the stage climbed atop chairs to get a better view. Net result... I was unable to catch a glimpse of what was happening on the stage.
As I mentioned while this number was on, the crowd was getting mad and as soon as the number finished, the MC came back on and requested people to move back or else "we would have a law and order problem". The crowd had however tasted blood and was in no mood to move back. Next another song was played, some fast number I do not remember but the response of the crowd was similar. Now the guys really seemed to be having a "law and order" problem. Requests to move back, once again fell on deaf ears. Having no option the MC then played his trump card. The next item was a BharatNatyam rendition by Ms XYZ. This seemed to have an effect akin to the one that Asterix fans would associate Cacofonix with. The crowds began rushing back and soon the area was clear.
After this we got really bored and decided to head back and have dinner on the way. We shook hands with the friends there and wishing them a "Happy New Year" in advance, walked out with "Dhoom machale" from "Dhoom" playing in the background.
Dinner was at Ramana's, they are having a Rajasthani feast this week. I had the "Pachmale ki daal" and "Bhati". Nothing too great. Wifey had the "Methi Malai Mutter", that was good. And after demolishing a GajarHalwa-IceCream combo we started for home. The clock struck 12:00 en-route, and there were a lot of fireworks. Jungle law seemed to prevail on MG Road and DoubleRoad with hooligans stopping cars and bikes just to say "Happy New Year". One look ascertained that these were not college punks or the richie-rich types. It was the local "Siddesha","Venktesha","Lokesha" etc etc who till a couple of years back would have been happy watching Kannada Doordarshan at home for new year. The desire to be "with it" seems to have rubbed off on them. Give me back the laidback Bangalore any day...
Reached home, wished my mom a Happy New Year and switched on the TV. Gurdas Mann was singing "Tootak Tootak ". At least some things seem to last forever. Wish you a happy new year guys!!