12 April, 2021

Ara Ra Ra! Go For The Gujular

Bhangra is out, Dandiya is in. Gujarati is everywhere, on the tube and in the halls.

Ara Ra Ra! Go For The Gujular
Overheard at a Delhi multiplex: girl says grouchily to boyfriend, "Why don't you whisper something soft, nice and sweet into my ears for a change?" Boy smiles and says: "Dhokla". They both break into peals of laughter.

Welcome to the age of Gujaratification. Slowly, "Kem chhos" are replacing the "Ki haal chaals" of the world. Punjabi popstars croon about Gujarat di kudis snatching away their hearts. Hindi films contain songs that start with Gujarati and end in a bhangra. Gujarati characters are generously sprinkled all over TV serials and films. Vadodara's lads make all of us proud when they play cricket in Pakistan. And Navratri, for the entire country, is time to Dandiya.

Indian TV's leading soap, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, revolves around a Gujarati clan: the Viranis. Explaining why he decided on setting his story against a Gujarati backdrop, Rajesh Joshi, Kyunki's ex-scriptwriter, says: "Gujaratis are a very vibrant people, deeply rooted in their culture. They have an entire anthology of folktales, songs and dances for every...

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