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Bhang de, Basanti goes bhang, bhang

WE ARE a pack of drifters. No, loafers. Actually, aimless wanderers. And since there was never any cause, we didn?t deem ourselves rebels, either. Life had been passing by us till one of our five-pack, Basanti, met this lady called Gaya Bachpan. One usually saw her on TV and in magazines, newspapers flashing a Guddi-goodie smile, but now she seemed a bit peeved.

india Updated: Mar 15, 2006 01:05 IST

WE ARE a pack of drifters. No, loafers. Actually, aimless wanderers. And since there was never any cause, we didn’t deem ourselves rebels, either.

Life had been passing by us till one of our five-pack, Basanti, met this lady called Gaya Bachpan. One usually saw her on TV and in magazines, newspapers flashing a Guddi-goodie smile, but now she seemed a bit peeved.

“I am making a documentary on the men of honour in politics,” she stumped us by saying the impossible, without saying anything about the questions being raised on her proud position, because she has one of her lucky fingers in another pie.

She couldn’t trust the acting talent of her son, AB’s-Shake, enough, so she was scouting for actors on the LU campus to play in her film the roles of Atal, Chandrashekhar, VP Singh and Lalu Yadav.

By a quirk of fate, the five of us landed up the respective roles—the fifth role, of Jayalalithaa, was carved out to squeeze in the not-one-to-be-left-out Basanti. “I’ll get my 48 suitcases full of Kanjeevaram sarees and another 20 full of fancy footwear, right?”

One dirty look from Gaya ji was enough to tell her that her project was high on ambition but low on budget and there was no funding from ex-brothers Panganis. Even the VVIP so close to Gaya ji and her family had been ringing up, if at all, from a PCO for the confirmed fear that his cell was tapped.

What an experience it was for us LU-chchas playing the national leaders! The masti ki paathshaala was as it is not taking us anywhere.

We never realized, but the film left us all changed. The characters had kind of got into our skins. So, the research scholar and wannabe-general secretary who had played Atal got into the habit of inflicting a poetic torture on even those who had done him no harm. Just in case! The B-Com 3rd year guy—it was his third year attempting to pass out of first year—who played Chandrashekhar, forgot his bike and got into the habit of taking a padyatra from Eastend Mall to Sahara Ganj, at least thrice a week. The MA-niac pursuing PG in Philosophy who played VP Singh developed a crazy itch for reservation and would kick up a row in Shatabdi even when his seat was confirmed.

And Basanti had sent all her fancy tops to the bottom of her trunk full of sarees.
As for yours truly, who played Lalu, it was a newfound love for everything Indian, if not necessarily Bihari. I continued to sport the gwala-cut hair I got for the docu-drama and even dumped my favourite butterscotch for…you guessed it! Rabri. The character fascinated me for the goldmine he saw even in cattle-feed and his revolutionary move of replacing plastic cups in Bharatiya Rail with kulhads.

In this nationalist stupor, we all sauntered intoa Holi party hosted by liquor baron the CEO of Clingfisher Fudgy Mal Liya. What a shock that free-flowing angrezi daaru gave us. For God’s sake, it’s a Holi party and there’s no sign of the traditional….

Something inside me screamed: BHANG DE, BASANTI! And a hush descended on the party. Actually, it was not just my inside that had screamed. Soon, the DJ was playing ‘Mohe bhang de, Basanti,’ and everyone was back to the dance floor. But we had heard the call.

“Let’s smear with Holi colours some famous person and get all Indians rid of this stiff upper-lip, West-aping, pseudo-liberated culture,” said the reel VP Singh.
“I know what time the DM comes out of his house with a jhaadoo in the morning to clean the world. Let’s give it to him,” said the guy who had played Chandrashekhar.

“Hail Basanti!” said Atal’s clone, correcting himself quickly with “Hail Holi, hail bhang!”

“Bhang De, Basanti will be our Holi chant,” I said, adding, “And Mal Liya will be our target.”

We plotted the assault and succeeded in dousing Mal Liya in every Holi hue. But the move backfired. He held a called a Press conference and End-O’-TV telecast live a picture of the coloured Mal Liya that would the mascot of his airline!
And the toast was being raised not with a kulhad of bhang, but a can of Clingfisher beer.

Our quartet hummed our way to the playground: Aye saala! Abhi abhi hua yaqeen, Gulaal hai jeb mein kahin…Roobaroooooo Holi se……

First Published: Mar 15, 2006 01:05 IST