The title of this song, written for the movie “R…Rajkumar,” rarely makes fans of Indian films of other nationalities and cultures think twice. Many of them simply listen to the exotic melody, which helps them to be “transported” to the exotic red world. Others see the title as a reference to the famous Gandhi family, known to any attentive schoolboy absorbed in the study of twentieth-century history. Indeed, for India, Mahatma Gandhi is not only a great political figure, but also analogous to Socrates or Leo Tolstoy, a sage whose revelations are compared to sacred scripture. But in this case, the word “Gandhi” has nothing to do with Mahatma, nor with his determined and commanding daughter Indira, nor with his grandson Rajiv. What, then, are we talking about here?
The story of the song “Gandi baat.”
To understand the meaning of “Gandi baat” and, by the same token, the intention of the filmmakers, you need a good knowledge of Indian culture and, preferably, the Malay language, from which this commonly used expression comes. “Gandi baat!” – mothers, grandmothers, and nannies say to naughty children when they see that mischief is about to lead to trouble. The meaning of this expression is difficult to translate literally into Russian, it means something like “Beware, tomboy!” Fathers, tutors, and grandfathers rarely repeat the warning more than once; then they simply take a cudgel in their hands to admonish a young rascal who is about to play havoc and dishonor not only himself but also his family’s sensitive sense of family honor. Such traditions reign in India, a country that has not yet been reached by new-fangled pedagogical theories, much less juvenile justice!
As Sonakshi Singh, the film’s director, explains, he had no idea that this song would raise questions from foreign audiences who are fascinated by Bollywood productions. Until recently Indian movies were watched either in India itself, with its huge and thirsty audience, or in South-East Asian countries, where the expression is also in fashion. But in the last years Indian films became the strong competitor even to the almighty Hollywood, not to mention the losing influence of the European cinematograph, and triumphantly conquered the whole world! This song, performed by the temperamental Mika Singh and the sensual beauty Kalpana Patowari, sounds not only in the Indian, but also in the European, American, even Australian hit parades, capturing the imagination of listeners and making their hearts thump madly.
The Meaning of the Song “Gandi baat”
However, this song is not addressed to a promiscuous kid or even a mischievous teenager, but to the film’s adult protagonist, a simple guy with a hard-spelling name, Rajkumar, and the girl he’s in love with. Like hundreds of thousands of other Indian youths from poor families, Rajkumar tries to make it “in the world” and succeed, but instead he gets caught in the net of criminal bosses searching for village simpletons for their sinister affairs. And poor Rajkumar not only agrees to eliminate a rival and an old enemy of his sinister chief, but in addition desperately falls in love with his charming niece, himself signing his own death sentence. Moreover, his boss himself has sights on a burning beauty and hopes that the girl will get him after the elimination of his powerful uncle. But, as the plot develops, simple-hearted and ardent Rajkumar is not so simple and not harmless at all, especially when he is obsessed with love. And it soon becomes clear that his boss may be in trouble!
This tune is first heard in the scene where Rajkumar and his girlfriend meet, and is addressed as a warning to both the young man and the girl, not yet aware of the dire dangers they face. And since the amateur translation of this song into English is very imperfect, the meaning of the text of this song is also difficult to translate into Russian. But judging by the references to the protagonist’s noble behavior “like a royal son” and to the girl’s “captivating heart and mind”, we can expect an exciting, temperamental spectacle which will keep both the Bollywood fans and the art house film buffs busy, who often want to relax and have a good time too!