In a bizarre incident that oddly mirrors the protests in Karnataka over the Charlie Chaplin statue, residents of the town of Beverly Hills, California have taken to the streets over the proposal to erect a statue of Tamil film comedian Goundamani in their neighbourhood.
“We won't allow it! Goundamani is an outsider – he is not a part of Hollywood Industry! He is not a union member! He is not fair-skinned! He is not blonde! He is not even Christian! He is against American culture! ”, said a furious californian man named Brad, stating a number of blindingly obvious things about Goundamani, and sounding eerily like a member of the Assistant Director's Union. He soon urged the members of the mob to follow him, looking haughtily into the skies and hollering “Vaanga publics, now naanga yellarum togetheraa protesting – wokaaaay?” in a sing-song manner.
|Comedian Goundamani and Superstar Rajnikanth share a friendly moment at the regional semi-finals of the All-India wig wearing championships.|
Apparently, the move was proposed by the members of an obscure group called the California United National Tamil Sangam, for the noble cause of spreading Tamil culture in Beverly Hills. “These people in Beverly Hills are becoming too much attracted to American Culture, and are becoming completely westernized. So we want to do our bit to strengthen Tamil culture among them so that they will all become just like us.”, said Thol. Kaa. Thiruneermalavazhappazhaththaithinnavanthavan, the Director In Charge of the California United National Tamil Sangam, turning away from his computer terminal to give us a sound byte. “ Come on, Diana! Back to professional timepass!”, he added, before returning to typing furiously using his elbows.
Apparently, the statue, which is ready for installation, captures Goundamani in his trademark pose – kicking fellow comedian Senthil on the behind. The statue shows Goundamani in mid-kick, one foot on the ground and the other making contact with Senthil's enormous derriere. The comedian himself has reportedly given his approval, with a press release that stated “Statue of Libertyaavadhu, Statue of Pubertyaavadhu! Adhu yellam kadakkatumdaa, come on friends, bring the new stachoo and start kondattams! Yah!”
“Hey, I know that guy! He's the one who always kicks the other guy and calls him names! He's okay – I don't see a problem with a statue of him! It'll be fun!” said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, surprising everyone by actually recognizing Goundamani. “Hahahaha – what's that thing he says? Wait . . I got it . . . Dai Kaattu Panni! Hahahaha!”, he signed off, marking possibly the first time that those words were uttered by someone with a thick east-european accent.
Sparks are flying fast and furious, as is the case when any such 'culturally sensitive' issue crops up.
“Goundamani's body of work, unlike those of the poets Thiruvalluvar or Ilango Adigal, is not exactly the best tool to spread Tamil culture among the undoubtedly westernized denizens of Beverly Hills, even assuming you wanted to do so.”, said Shankar Sundaram, a noted proponent of Tamil culture, and a renowned Goundamani scholar. “Just imagine the results if you were successful – thousands of white American people walking around screaming “Dai Kaattu Yerumai!!” through gritted teeth, and kicking people who ask them simple questions about objects such as lemons or the half-moon. I doubt that anyone really wants this scenario.”
|Goundamani berates fellow comedian and sidekick Senthil for refusing to enter the All-India wig wearing championships.|
“Why would anyone want to erect a statue of Goundamani in the United States? Why would you want to prevent American people from following American culture?” asked an obviously annoyed wildlife photographer S.U.Saravanakumar, cutting through the clutter and asking the right questions as always. “Considering how often Goundamani spits, the only culture he might spread is Sputum culture!”, he grinned, getting the best lines once again.
“Why is everyone in this post spouting Goundamani-style lines?” asked an irritated Priya Krishnan, inadvertently breaking the fourth wall. “Just because they are speaking on an issue related to Goundamani doesn't mean they have to speak like him! What nonsense bloody disturbance yaa – come to me, Peter! Disco dance aadalam – start meezik! ”, she said, clapping once and making an expression like a constipated CBI officer.
“What's all this nonsense about statues of comedians in strange places? Chaplin in Karnataka! Goundamani in Beverly Hills! What next? A statue of Johhny Lever on the IIT campus? A statue of Advaniji on the moon?” asked BJP leader and Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, letting slip his true opinion of the party supremo. “And while they're making statues of comedians, they may as well do one of Eddie Blake and put it up near India Gate.”, he winked, smartly cornering the comic-book geek vote bank in the process.
Meanwhile, the proposed statue has also caused consternation and envy among other comedians in the Tamil film industry, such as Vadivel, Vivek, Karunaas and Prashanth. "We have been unselected.", said a visibly disappointed Vivek. "But who cares? At least I have a Padma Shri, unlike these other losers.", he added with a smirk, brightening up instantly.