Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi

See this.

No, wait before you read the rest of the post. See the video first. (It’s in Hindi, sorry haven’t found a translation, for those of you who don’t know Hindi, see it anyway)

What is freedom of expression?

I think of the Ganguli brothers in this film and I allow myself to be transported to the late fifties (1958 to be precise). You may have often come across the obscure question of ‘what is that one thing that you would like to change in your past?‘. Not much, if you ask me, but yes, if such thing was possible, it would require a time machine. I’d rather use the time machine to transport myself to that era – the late 50s and early 60s or the late 70s and early 80s. Without going into my personal grouse against the changes in the world today that I detest, I’d like to use the time machine to transport myself to the sets of Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi. Take the song that you just saw. See Kishore and Anup Kumar and Mohan Choti in the video.

Tell me if you can script that; direct that.

The wonderful world of free expression is a lost world for us today. See the video a few times – and you will see some awkward actions (no retakes for the purpose of perfection). Ask yourself if it matters. If it does then you need to get back to some politically correct and scripted stuff of the 21st century. Let go of the rest of the post.

If the awkward actions don’t matter, again, ask yourself why.

I’ll give you my take.

It is because the action wasn’t determined by the future reaction of the observer, no polls, no ‘customer pulse’ – just pure passion. While the Ganguli brothers may have had a plan in mind while making this film, I believe it was the spontaneity from all the actors (oh yes, Madhubala too, how can you forget!) that made it the film that it was.

These moments are the ultimate cauldron of mixed emotions. I feel happy to see such a gay expression of performance, I feel sad at the constrained expression that I often exhibit and often see – the proper conduct, I tell you – gets to me. Is it who we are that inhibits us? Hardly! More often than not, it is what “they” may think of us, how they may feel, that dictates any action. Polite communication with hidden layers of seething anger or sarcasm is hardly free expression. Will the person on the other side feel bad? Will, what I say create a different impression of who I am? Will I become an outcast? What is the price to pay for being yourself? Is that expensive than the cost of my goals? Will those that allow me to reach my goals judge my behaviour or will they judge my talent? Will I be seen as a heretic, insane, a Bohemian – is that acceptable in today’s world?

There is better question than all those that may cross your mind:

Do I know who I am and do I know who I want to be?


16 thoughts on “Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi

  1. Oh I so identify this – I don’t remember the last time I was ‘myself’ – age, position and all that other rubbish that you add on with experience makes an absolutely lacklustre personality. Many times the bathroom singer in us also dies a slow death.


  2. in that sense i am yet to grow up. or be ‘fully’ grown up, if there is something like that. i maintain streaks of the rebellious teenager in me. and much like u say, i am but an outcaste, even among friends, simply coz i am what i am.

    the movie – dad made me watch it as a little boy and this post brought back fond memories. i don’t remember much of the details, except like u say, the spontaneity and the carefree happiness. and madhubala – i still maintain there is nobody quite like her. absolutely charming!


  3. ==Dharma:
    I do not believe that growing up has to be the cost of losing one’s self and identity – unfortunately it does happen sometime. In any case if you can still be yourself, irrespective, that is a great thing.

    This movie is cultish!


  4. I am me – to a large extent, I’d say. Don’t know how much it has helped me further my interests but its the Principal which matters, na?

    Enjoyed the post and the links!


  5. i am forever confused gaiza. sometimes when i am in a cab, and these are the profound moments in my life, i feel i am someone else. or why i am not someone else. its difficult to explain. or to come to terms with. that you have to live as yourself…for the rest of your life.

    i hate the times. and need something wordly, like the paaarp of a car horn to awaken me and tell me i exist. of late.


  6. ==Phish:
    Happens to me all the time.

    I sit on a bench on the opposite side of what I call home and its a beautiful day and everything around me is completely different – and yet I am the same and it’s a weird feeling.

    I sit in a taxi on the opposite side of what i call ‘rest of the world’ and its a beautiful day and everything around me is exactly the way i know it – and I am completely different and it’s a weird feeling.

    Hardly anything to hate, methinks. The cacophonous ‘paaarp’ is as much a reality, I believe, as the reality of those thoughts that are as much ours.

    Yet, I think, I know what you mean.


  7. There are times when I know who I am and know what I want to be, but these keep on changing (evolving) with passage of time. It is in between these times when I feel completely lost on who I am (not sure what I am doing) and so have no idea on what I want to be.


  8. But why should I want to know who you are or what I want to be… free expression and no free thought???

    I still enjoy the free flow of thoughts when I feel like I am riding waves or creating the next series of tom and jerry films or remembering friends… those with whom I have sung and laughed freely…


  9. ==3SC:
    Evolution is perfectly fine as long as you arent becoming someone that you aren’t. Evolution is a growth stage – not just change! 🙂

    Welcome to Gaizabonts! Your first comment – isn’t it? You lurker you!
    You make me read my own post again – where did the question of knowing someone and free thought come from? Do those free flow of thoughts of having laughed freely manifest themselves as free action, even today? If yes, then I envy you. If not, that is what I am talking about.


  10. I find more and more resistance to free thought and free expression around me… people expect you to subscribe to their code of conduct… and I havent done much about it yet… but climbing a tree and singing songs from pyasa is something I havent done in a long time… guess they dont make people like that here… Or even getting wet in rains…. what to do.. it doesnt rain like Mumbai anywhere on this planet!

    I sometimes wonder why do people write so much… and then there are all these people who read it all? Does it really matter to everyone what one feels about chalti ka naam gaadi??? 😉


  11. ==Rupa:
    The resistance is within – to conform to expectations – nothing else to it. Don’t make me nostalgic – people have grown up. Stop blaming the environment!
    People like me, you mean@write so much? Well, I write because people like you will read and relate and someday – we could still climb the tree and sing – from chalti ka naam gaadi, perhaps…

    You never know!

    (Put a pic in your avataar, then you will see the pic. In your Dashboard, Users-> Your Profile)


  12. I was refering to resistance from around me not within me – resistance which some people refer to as “growing up”. Waves, rivers and rains dont grow up … do they?

    I remember watching kids screaming and dancing in rains from local trains in Mumbai – I wish I could pull out those pics from my memories and show it to you all.

    I am impressed with the readership you have acquired – I always thought no one reads… so why write?
    But lurking is fun… so when I read the inspiration section on Jolly’s blog it made me smile … I still watch the think diff ad clip before I begin my day -everyday!

    As far as climbing a tree and singing and getting smashed … look forward to it.


  13. ==RC:
    Waves and rivers and rains do grow up – they are different when we grow up, therefore, in a way they grow up as much as we do and they grow up exactly the way we do. The rain that was once fun becomes romantic and then becomes irritating. It changes with us. If rain is always fun for us, it will remain that and won’t “grow”.

    Ah yes, will find a tree and keep it safe – for when we are all together!


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