This post is very Chennai centric. Apologies to those readers who might feel a little left out.
Jillumadrasi asks me,
will someone please explain this “saroja samaan nikalo” funda to me. I am completely out of it, I know ..
(For the completely and hopelessly uninitiated, that is an expression uttered before a popular song from the cult movie about street cricket, Chennai 600028)
I turned to good old Google, and it turns out she doesn’t have much of a clue either. Not one to give up wasting time so easily, I even tried the new Google Tamil on-screen keyboard widget:
No luck with that either.
But, after some devious and cunning use of Google (I bribed it with 2 Marina beach Chilli bajjis), Balaji did lead me to this excellent trivia blog on Kollywood which informed me,
According to SP Charan, this line is inspired from a piece of dialogue from Mudhalvan, when the one-day CM, Arjun, asks a Saettu (colloquial reference to a north Indian businessman) to vacate the flat which was originally allocated for a slum-dweller. The Seth tells his wife, “Sushma, saara saamaan nikaalo…“
As a concerned citizen of the blogosphere wondering why some responsible blogger has not expounded far more on the origins and symbolism of this sophisticated piece of Chennai verbiage, I took it upon myself to put this matter to motion (In the blogosphere, no matter is put at rest, everything is renegotiable)
The origins of “Saroja Saamaan Nikaalo” – The unanswered questions
We know Sushma is the wife of the Saettu (Tanglish reference to opulent North Indian (usually Marwari) living in TN) but why did she metamorphose to Saroja?
The Saettu in Mudhalvan clearly instructs Sushma to nikaalo (remove) saara (all) saamaan (stuff). But PremG Amaren very clearly skips the “saara”. A rudimentary knowledge of advanced calculus tells me that the difference between “saara” and no “saara” is “some mysteriously missing stuff”. What is that? Where is it hidden? What hidden message is being conveyed by the deliberate deletion of that word?
The context of “Saroja Saamaan Nikaalo” – The unexplored obtuse angles
To begin to answer the questions above, one needs to understand the broader socio-political context in which the two movies were set. Mudhalvan was a 1999 Shankar potboiler set in an era when it was fashionable for a Tamil hero to show the big bully North Indian who the boss was. “Saara Saamaan Nikaalo” was a rallying call. It was an outcry of suppressed Tamil chauvinism. It was, in true Tanglish style, a polite reminder to those pesky Northies to take their saamaan and move out.
Ofcourse, in 2007, things have changed. The pointless anti-Hindi aggression of the 90s has been replaced with the Jalsa-laced sarcasm of the new Chennai millennium. Nobody wants to be heard mouthing jingoistic phrases such as “Saara Saamaan Nikaalo” any more. The cult heroes of Chennai 600028 aren’t the crass types who shout their voices hoarse at Anti-Hindi protest marches. They simply want the “Saamaan” (items) to come out (Nikaalo) and do jalsa. And the item girls do come. And note, our heroes don’t want “all” (Saara) of them. Just the ones who are game enough to dance to a gaana-song.
As they say, North South bhai bhai. South baays North gaals oh-boy oh-boy.
Which leaves us with why Sushma turned into Saroja? Simple. Proper speakers of Tanglish will unfortunately pronounce Sushma as “Susuma”, which, as we all can agree, sounds ridiculous. Thus the change to an earthy item-girlesque name – Saroja.
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