How to Sing Your Way to Manhood

Pop Culture

How to Sing Your Way to Manhood

Illustration: Cleon Dsouza


agga Jasoos, Anurag Basu’s upcoming film, which has been threatening to up and come for a couple of years now, promises to release enough songs to put the average fifties Hindi musical to shame. The saga of the film is already the stuff of a Shakespearean comedy – and “Galti Se Mistake”, one of its 29 songs, is likely to become one of the most interesting scenes in Much Ado About Jagga Jasoos. To the great surprise of absolutely nobody, Pritam has been accused of plagiarising a Mexican soundtrack for its melody.

Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics, however, paint a portrait of masculine rites of passage that is resolutely Indian. The song features Ranbir Kapoor as the man-child he plays best, singing about exciting things like stubble, flourishing chest hair, and body odour – all of which many Indian men continue to hold as definitive marks of masculinity. In doing this, Kapoor echoes several other filmic men who have sung about their burgeoning manliness with varying degrees of devotion to testosterone and sexual innuendo and taught generations of boys how to become men.