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'I'm a chaloo girl'

Patelscope is a romp with Dewang Patel singing bawdy, funny, pointlessly rhyming Hindi parodies of the dance hits of Aqua, Vengaboys and Ricky Martin

Dewang Patel
Times Music
Rs 50 (cassette)

Wierd Al Yankowic has been doing since 1979 what Dewang Patel has just done -- take popular songs and write zany new lyrics for them.

Dewang Patel, of course, is closer home. He takes international pop hits and parodies them in Hindi. He seems to share the same demented sense of humour that makes Cyrus, that MTV scapegoat-VJ, so popular.

Dewang had earlier toyed with the mock cover version idea in Gambler (Apache Indian was the 'mockee' then).

Dewang acts in his own spoof videos and has become a minor hero on Indian television, where a majority of music videos can't be accused of too much originality. Funny remakes look like a fresh idea here.

Bamboo No 5 turns Lou Bega's Mambo No 5 into a Hindi song where Dewang Patel lists his desires -- a helicopter to travel to work, a car factory in Japan, a farmhouse in Switzerland, and ... "three lakhs underwear". Patel exaggerates Lou Bega's desire for many girlfriends into something that might be interpreted as a criticism of the modern obsession with size and quantity.

Aqua, masters of parody, are themselves parodied in Chaloo girl (based on Barbie girl). Can't say Dewang Patel can match the piercing wit of the Aqua original, which takes a devastating sweep at the Barbie world of falseness. The Hindi words tamely talk of offering ice cream to the "chaloo girl" and taking her to the cinema.

Ghoom ghoom, taking off on Vengaboys' Boom boom, is full of nonsense lyrics where many things -- towel, saboon, brother, wife -- go ghoom, or vanish! (Nonsense verse is a highly respected genre, with its own cult heroes like Edward Lear in English and Sukumar Ray in Bengali. It's not easy to write funny nonsense).

The sickeningly overused tune of Macarena comes back in Hat ke rehna. Other inspiration tracks: Vengaboys are coming, Tic Tic Tac, Cotton eye Joe, Mr President's coco jambo, La copa dela vida and Livin' la vida loca.

Bawdiness and pointless rhyming add to the overall hilarity. Besides parodying the songs, Dewang Patel, much like Wierd Al Yankowich, parodies the original videos too.

Patelscope features two original songs where again his flair for a comic singing style sparkles.

Dewang Patel is a comic talent to watch. He could well put more intelligence into his humour, and tickle us into thinking with our sides split. As Charlie Chaplin showed us, intelligent humour is something that's hard to achieve, and harder to beat.

Karthik S
Smriti Ananth

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