March 03, 2012

Rediscovering: Devang Patel


Today's post deals with the stripping of our sophisticated exteriors to reveal what every 90's child is, inside: A Devang Patel fan. Especially if said child is Gujju.

There's something about a man who takes every conceivable song in (your limited) universe and turns it into something about, let's say, eunuchs. Or bald men. (Yes, in the 90's, no one gave a flying four-letter word for political correctness.) Then he sings it - almost raps it - in Hindi that has an unabashed Gujju accent.

A man like that is made for greatness. And for fame.

And boy, did he find it. I thought I was one of the few kids who actually listened to him between the tender impressionable ages of 9 to 12. Over the years, though, I've realised that there's hardly anyone in my age bracket who hasn't. The distinction only is in whether you admit to it or not. Those who found him uncool - and I'll give you this, he is definitely extremely uncool - dissociated themselves from him; and those who couldn't believe at the awesomeness of this man - such as your truly - tried to spread the Holy Word with all the zeal of a... well, of a zealot.

I lost track of The Great Patel for a few years. But recently through someone's Facebook wall, I was re-introduced to this gem of a video: Govinda, singing Meri Marzi, a song with probably the most creative lyrics of the 90's. You could (no, you should!) watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HnW7CGcFDw. There's Govinda, a bunch of kids from what can only be early editions of that terrible show Boogie Woogie, an old man who inexplicably is a wolf and the Bangalore palace grounds.

The voice is familiar until you have a blinding flash of realisation. Oh God, you say, (or OMG!!!!!! if you're so inclined), this has GOT to be Devang Patel. And then of course, you watch the other gem from the same movie: Stop That. (Here, feed your inner demon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXLewoJPXOM)

Both songs are the epitome of perfection to a 90's child. You have Govinda, prancing around doing his thing in a suit here, a Roman emperor's costume there, a black-white-stripes suit now, a golden shirt then. And you have Devang Patel doing his thing extremely well. "His thing" being singing the most crazy-ass lyrics of all time in the most matter-of-fact Gujju tone, a tone that is familiar to all Gujju kids as being that of their uncles at weddings while making jokes that aren't funny but get an insane round of laughter anyway.

What's also amazing is the match. No song fits Govinda better than one where you say a lot of rubbish really fast, with an equally crazy dance accompanying it. And Devang Patel is exactly at the same level of finesse as Govinda (i.e. extremely low) to make it work.

Finally, once you're done watching those two, you could take a look at Patelscope I, which is funny almost throughout, but the best part is, and always will be, the eunuch song (Aye Raju) - here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4BwdKtJj6I&feature=related

That's all for today, folks. Have a good weekend. :D