One of the things I have struggled to understand is the reason for the viral appeal of this man—-Himesh Reshammiya. You cannot surf channels without a glimpse of his visage: the faux-stud look, the beard, the baseball cap and the cockiness. If ubiquity is the measure of success, then this man has reached the top—from pan shops to discos Himesh Reshammiya’s music and his uber-nasal twang blares at you ceaselessly, like the agonizing moans of a freshly castrated donkey. (not that I have ever heard one–just an intelligent guess as to how it would sound like)
So what is it–what is the reason? Is it that nasal accent? Well if that was the case, then Kumar Sanu would be the reigning king today—-but all he got was the very healthy Kunika and a hysterical wife who comes on the telly and says “Sanu… bhogoban sob dekhta hain” in the worst Bongo Hindee.
Is it his sweet deal with T-series by which he is being aggressively promoted, much to the chagrin of people like Anu Malik? But wait—the last time T-series got behind a bearded, smart-alec music-director with pretensions of being a singer (think back to Nadeem in a pilot uniform violating “O Mere Dil Ke Chain”) it ended with a dead body and a fugitive. But not so now.
Is it his mixture of qawwali and modern beats? But even Altaf Raja tried doing it with “Kar Lo Pyar” , “Thora Intezar Ka Maza Lijiye” and the very groovy “Yeh Raat Hain Rangeen Sharabi” —-and what happened to him? Possibly doing live entertainment at Mithun-da’s monarch hotel along with Vikas Bhalla and Anaida.
Well finally, the real reason is out.
Himmesh Reshammiyaâ€™s hit number Jhalak dikhla ja, ek baar aaja, aaja… may set feet tapping at discotheques, but in Anand districtâ€™s Bhalej village, it seems to have set alarm bells ringing.
Why? Residents claim that the lyrics are an invite to â€œghostsâ€ who then possess residents. The person possessed – some put this number at five, others at 20 – run a high temperature and behave in a strange manner
â€œSince the last 15 days, weâ€™ve noticed this problem. There have been about 20 such cases since then,â€ says Malek. Mushtaq Thakore says there have been around five such cases, including that of a newly wedded girl Sartajbanu.
â€œThe lyrics are such that they draw the attention of the ghosts, after which the person starts screaming and also runs a high temperature. The only way out is to seek divine help. Muslims go to maulvis, Hindus to their godmen,â€ Mushtaq says.
Exactly. Firstly the lyrics: “Jhalak dikhla ja” is an open invitation for denizens of the netherworld to come and show their stuff. But similar songs have been there before—how come they never tickled the fancy of the bhoots/chudails? Simple. They never heard it. Only Reshammaya’s voice can reach the frequency range at which ghosts can pick up sound—–as we all know ghosts talk in high-pitched shrill voices themselves.
Those who have seen Satyajit Ray’s “Goopi Gayen Bagha Bayen” know that pleasing the king of the ghosts makes any musician invincible. For those who don’t know what I am talking about, “Goopi Gayen Bagha Bayen” is a story of a talentless singer (Goopi) who gets thrown out of the kingdom for his horrid voice. Joined by an equally talentless hack, Bagha (a drum player) they play their music in the deep jungles.
What is cacophony to the living world is high art for ghosts. So impressed do the ghosts become with their music that their king grants them three wishes: one of which is that their music will be irresistible (people wont be able to move it will be so good).
It is fairly evident that Himesh Reshammiya has also been granted a similar wish by the “dead people”—the only twist is that people have to start moving and dancing the moment he opens his mouth or composes a song—no matter how horrible it is.
[Some rationalists opine that the people who run a high temperature and start screaming are actually musically highly sensitive people whose musical immune system is reacting to the presence of a malignant presence—but of course that’s baloney]
So it is not that people all over India actually like his songs—it’s just that the supernatural compels them to.
My faith in vox populi is consequently restored.