Bollywood Ear Candy: O, Mama
By Laura Witkowski
‘O Mama’ is a little different than most of the songs I present to you in this here column. While I earnestly love even the cheesiest and most insipid songs I’ve written about, ‘O Mama’ is kind of a terrible song. And yet I’m sort of obsessed with it. Mostly due to how perfectly both the song and video clip illustrate Indian appropriation of American culture gone wrong. Apparently in writing a part for a rock star, and a subsequent ‘hard rock song’, some things got lost in the translation. It’s all so close, but still so far off the mark! I am 90 per cent positive that the character, song, costuming and sets were all inspired by and developed after only one viewing of this clip:
The guy singing this song, Jimmy Stetson (played by John Abraham) is a ROCK STAR. And ‘O Mama’ is his BIG HIT! Look at the way the ladies just throw themselves at him. I mean, there’s really nothing hotter and than an Indian man in a long blonde wig. It is not at all ridiculous. And in case you were not totally sure if Jimmy rocks, one quick look at that bitchin’ stage set up will answer the question. Because it says it. In huge letters. So it’s true. Also, the translations I’ve found of the chorus all point to the lyrics basically being, “O mama/Hit me with marbles/One with cat eyes/A girl like meow”. I realize this translation is probably not totally accurate, but I am now convinced that ‘O Mama’ was originally a Shonen Knife song.
‘O, Mama’ comes from the 2011 film 7 Khoon Maaf which chronicles the life of Susana (Priyanka Chopra) and her subsequent marriages to several less-than-stellar dudes. Dudes who all end up dead under suspicious circumstances. I wrote about the film in great detail here. Although it wasn’t a particularly good movie, it is one of the weirdest Bollywood movies I’ve seen and I still seem to think about it a lot. Because nobody I know has seen it (and since it wasn’t good, I can’t in good faith recommend it to anybody), I have no way to talk about it and get some closure. So 7 Khoon Maaf will probably haunt me forever. As will ‘O Mama’.