MJ in Mumbai

If The Beatles managed to convey the increasing dominance of machine over man — with their voice and script struggling to rise over the clamour and force of musical instruments, Michael Jackson’s songs, accompanied with his unbeatable mechanical body movements, went a step further to deliver a similar message — the human beings gradually turning into robots.

Thus, The Beatles and Michael Jackson crafted pop music into an enchanting lyrical philosophy, and a commentary on our present times, which an average person could relate to. This is how I would like to pay my personal tribute to a legend who is being mourned in my part of the world.

(Large crowds were gathering outside the hospital last night, with many carrying flowers and banners, and some mourners wearing fancy dress costumes. The sudden news of Jackson’s death shocked the world, crashed news websites, and prompted tens of millions of viewers to switch to rolling news channels. At one point, almost a dozen TV helicopters were hovering above the hospital. More here…)

A.R. Rahman, India’s music sensation and double Oscar winner, said that for most of our generation MJ was an icon who made uncompromising music.

“Recalling his meeting with Jackson, Rahman said he met Jackson after winning the double Oscars last February in Los Angeles and during the interaction that followed Jackson told him that he loved India and and the Indian people. (MJ visited Mumbai 13 years ago.)

” ‘He was praising the chord progression of Jai Ho’s chorus,’ Rahman said. He asked me to compose a unity anthem on the likes of We are the World’ for him. I nodded in awe …,’ he said.” More here…

Deepak Chopra recalls: ” Michael Jackson will be remembered, most likely, as a shattered icon, a pop genius who wound up a mutant of fame. That’s not who I will remember, however. His mixture of mystery, isolation, indulgence, overwhelming global fame, and personal loneliness was intimately known to me.

“For twenty years I observed every aspect, and as easy as it was to love Michael — and to want to protect him — his sudden death yesterday seemed almost fated.” More here…

Neeta Kolhatkar, a journalist, recalls how Mumbai was taken by storm when Michael Jackson visited the Indian city 13 years ago. “Waiting for Jackson to arrive was thoroughly entertaining in itself. Lakhs of people had thronged the airport to catch a glimpse of him. Before he landed, I moved around trying to catch hold of all people I knew, so that we could get a closer glimpse of the King of Pop.

“Among the celebrities and dignitaries present there, I remember actress Sonali Bendre clad in a nine-yard sari and a Maharashtrian nathni (nose ring), standing with an aarti thali to welcome MJ, along with Raj Thackeray, Sharmila Thackeray and innumerable politicians who were there to receive Jackson.” More here…

Cine Blitz wrote: “Guess what Michael had for breakfast (in Mumbai)? On his first morning here, he ate (South Indian) masala dosa and the day after that, he had spicy (North Indian) alu paranthas with butter. His other meals mainly comprised of butter naans, butter chicken, tandoori chicken and spicy vegetable curries.

“His personal chef is of Indian origin and she co-ordinated his meals with the other chefs at the hotel. Michael Jackson definitely has a predilection for Indian food but wait till you hear this. According to the hotel staff, he got naans (Enough for an army), tandoori chicken, dishes cooked in butter gravy and lots of paranthas packed, on the morning he was flying out of India.” More here…

Rabbi Shumley remembers his association with MJ: “Michael’s death is not just a personal tragedy, it is an American tragedy. Michael’s story was the stuff of the American dream – a poor black boy who grows up in Gary, Indiana, and ends up a billionaire entertainer.

“But we now know how the story ends. Money is not a currency by which we can purchase self-esteem and being recognized on the streets will never replace being loved unconditionally by family and true friends.” More here…

The Rolling Stone’s MJ archives here…

And here’s New Yorker’s postscript: “Thursday night in New York was hot—after weeks of rain, it was one of the first real summer nights of the year. Car windows were open all over the city, and just about every station on the radio dial had switched to an all-Michael Jackson format; for the first (and, for all we know, the last) time, it felt as if absolutely everyone was listening to the same songs.” More here…

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SWARAAJ CHAUHAN, International Columnist
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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
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