There is a pronounced cultural bias, when it comes to appreciation of the parts of the human anatomy. The Japanese people go ga-ga over long necks; Audrey Hepburn, if you recall, was a hot favourite there. The Chinese had a fetish for tiny feet and girls had to wear tight shoes for years to prevent them from growing further. Tiny feet had such sex appeal.
And Indians? Ha, we get turned on by swaying bottoms.
This truth dawned on me, as I was channel surfing on my TV, the other day. Whichever channel I hit, I saw nothing but swinging bottoms.
On Channel A (name changed to protect its identity), Shah Rukh Khan had climbed on to the top of a moving train, in complete violation of Sec 19.1 of the Indian Railway Rules, and swinging his hips wildly to the chant of ‘chaiya, chaiya’, and instigating other passengers to follow suit.
On Channel B, to the beat of a Telugu song, a dozen men were shaking their bottoms vigorously, dressed in pink trousers and green jackets. Cut to the next frame where a dozen women were gyrating their torsos, dressed in green skirts and pink blouses.
On Channel V (original name retained), some exuberant teenagers were sending their bottoms into a spiral whirl, as if there was no tomorrow.
You get my point.
To learn more about this “bum fixation “, and to get to the ‘bottom’ of the mystery, I met up with Dr. Shake Abdullah, an acknowledged expert on this subject and who had obtained his PhD on the strength of his seminal thesis “ the simple harmonic motion of swinging bottoms”.
Dr. Abdullah’s office was simple and the decor harmonious. On his table were photo alBUMs (bought, no doubt, from Higginbottoms) with pictures of starlets – no, not their faces, but their shapely bottoms. Adorning the walls were cutouts of animal bottoms and one could clearly make out what would have once formed the rear of a bison, an antelope and a warthog. He had hunted them down in Africa, but such was his commitment to his subject that, where the run-of-the-mill hunter would have taken out the animal heads as souvenirs, he had brought back the bottoms and hung them up in his office.
“As a nation’, he said, “ we are so divided, be it on religion, language, diet, etc. The only common thread that you can discern from north to south, west to east, is the Indian fascination for shaking bottoms. It cuts across all barriers and binds the nation together. Naturally, this obsession is reflected in the movies that we produce “
“Do you know “ he continued “ that no longer does Bollywood or Kollywood call aspiring actors for an audition? A good voice is not important, as other artists dub most of the dialogues anyway. Good looks also don’t matter, as any make-up artist with a little bit of help from a plastic surgeon can convert an Ugly Jane into an Aishwarya Rai, in a matter of minutes. But, what is a pre-requisite and what will get you the job is the ability to swing your bum. An eminent panel evaluates both the amplitude and the frequency of the 'shake' of the candidates. The Indian audience can be demanding and high standards have to be maintained”
“ Lest you conclude that there is no practical use for all this shaking, let me point out that every dancer is fitted with a dynamo at the hip so that the energetic movement can be converted into electricity. All Bollywood studios are self-sufficient in energy use thanks to the captive-power from the inter-connection of all the hip dynamos.”
As I left Dr Abdullah’s office, he offered to take me over to witness the shooting of a film scene. About thirty young actors and actresses were in tight-fitting clothes and ready for the shot.
“Silence” cried the director.
And the swinging began.