Monday, February 21, 2011

On President's Day, Remembering Richard Nixon --- 10 Bollywood Songs in the Missing 18.5 Min

One of the most enduring mysteries of Watergate is what was in the "Missing 18 & a half minutes". Recent advances in technology enable us to take an educated guess about those highly controversial contents. It is quite likely they were Bollywood songs, although it is not known how they got there.  Maybe President Nixon liked to listen to all kinds of music. Perhaps this is what those bugs in the Democratic party HQ in Watergate recorded. 

I think someone was trying to associate events in President Nixon's life with songs from Bollywood, and here are 10 possibilities.

Event :- The so-called "last press conference" of Richard Nixon took place on November 7, 1962 following his loss to Democratic incumbent Pat Brown in the 1962 California gubernatorial election. Appearing before 100 reporters, an embittered Nixon lashed out at the media, proclaiming that "you don't have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference."[

Linkage :- Keying  on "Last Press Conference", implying leaving politics; the song means I am forever leaving this gathering. 

9) Hippies/Flower Power/Drugs/Vietnam-Oppn ---
    Dum Maaro Dum

Event :- The hippie movement encompassing sex, drugs, rock & roll, freedoms,  distinct appearances, Vietnam War protests, counterculture.

Linkage :- The song "Take Another Toke" is from the movie Hare Rama Hare Krishna, depicting the hippies lifestyle in Kathmandu Nepal.

8) Moon Landings --- 

Event :-  The first successful man-on-moon mission (Apollo 11) occurred during President Nixon's  first term. Apollo 13, the third mission, developed a crippling failure and was unable to land on the moon, and there were serious doubts about its safe return.

Linkage :- President Nixon was supposed to have prepared two speeches, one for a successful return, and the other in case of a tragedy. The song ("The Moon appeared but you did not") could be used instead of the 2nd speech, 

Event :- As the title suggest, this is the Creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Linkage :- If you do not believe Jeetendra as an environmentalist, try President Nixon as the one who signed into law the creation of the EPA.

Event :-  President Nixon met with Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and did not believe her assertion that she would not invade Pakistan; he did not trust her and once referred to her as an "old witch".

Linkage :- President Nixon in one of his best "Tricky Dick" avatars, claiming he did not seek any troubles or breaks in relationship with India. Song translation is "I did not seek a breakup".

Event :- The Nixon Shock was a series of economic measures taken by President Nixon in 1971 including unilaterally canceling the direct convertibility of the US $ to gold that essentially ended the existing Bretton Woods  system of international financial exchange.

Linkage :- Perhaps President Nixon later regretted eliminating US $ to Gold convertibility, hence the song lines "I learnt your value too late, I made a mistake, please do not get angry." (Sona means Gold).

4) Nixon To China ---
   Tumne Pukara Aur Hum Chale Aaye

Event :- President Nixon's 1972 visit to the People's Republic of China was an important step in formally normalizing relations between the USA and China. It marked the first time a U.S. President had visited China, who at that time considered the U.S. one of its staunchest foes. This is arguably President Nixon's greatest foreign policy achievement, worthy of current President Obama's "We do big things".

Linkage :- As the song says "You called & I came", is an uncharacteristically humble President Nixon.

3) Spiro Agnew ---
    Do Diwane Dil Ke .... Chale Hai Chale Hai Chale Hai Sasural

Event :- Charges of extortion, tax fraud, bribery & conspiracy were leveled against Spiro Agnew, President Nixon's Vice President. He was allowed to plead no contest to a single charge of income tax evasion, and in exchange had to resign the Vice Presidency.

Linkage :- President Nixon was also getting embroiled in his own possibly criminal scandal, Watergate; and must have thought about prison terms for himself & his Vice President. The song implies "Two crazy people going to their father-in-law (jail)".

2) I am not a crook --- 
   Mujhe Duniyawaalon Sharabi Na Samjho

Event :- President Nixon's infamous press conference where he claims innocence re: the Watergate Scandal.

Linkage :- As the song from the movie "Leader" says "People should not consider me a drunkard, since I do not really drink on my own, but have been plied by others."; perhaps President Nixon was trying to claim others made him do it.

1) Deep Throat --- 
    Gumnaam Hai Koi

Event :- Deep Throat is the pseudonym given to the secret informant who provided information to Bob Woodward of The Washington Post in 1972 about the involvement of President Nixon's administration in what came to be known as the Watergate scandal. His identity remained undisclosed for nearly thirty one years after the scandal.

Linkage :- As the song says "Someone is Unknown", truly summing up Deep Throat's role in Watergate.

a) Missing Richard Nixon --- Paul Krugman of New York Times
b) All The President's Men --- Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein
c) The Movie All The President's Men
d) The Final Days --- Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein
e) The Movie "Dick". An excellent satire on Watergate, suggested by Ava.
f) Wikipedia
g) The Washington Post

(Disclaimer --- The above piece is entirely fictional re: Bollywood song associations, and is intended to be a satire. However, on the slim chance that President Nixon appreciated Bollywood Music; we welcome him to our fraternity.)


Anonymous said...

And here's how we would welcome Nixon to our Bollywood-song-loving fraternity:

Samir, you're a genius! This is such a fantastic post. :-) And what a brilliant way to give a history lesson too. Loved every bit of it, and laughed all through it!

samir said...

Dustedoff :))
Thanks for the generous comment, however that description "genius" belongs to you; considering you came up with an apt song in a few minutes.
Really loved that Mahal song.
I think Bollywood songs are applicable to a variety of subjects, they being crafted with so much depth.
And I hope you liked "Nixon's" taste in songs, especially since he could have only known songs prior to the early 70's :))

Smita said...


Let me be honest, am quite ignorant about Nixon & his doings or rather wrong doingd but your posts is urging me to go search for him :D

loved "Take Another Toke" hehehehe

A brilliant piece from u Samir, the way you have linked the songs!! too good! :D

Bollyviewer said...

So that's where you've been since July - doing a much needed in-depth investigation into the "missing 18 and a half minutes"! Who'd have thought Nixon would turn out to be a good guy (if he loves Bollywood songs, he IS a good guy) with such great taste in songs?

Love this post! Yeh kaun chitrakaar hai suggests "Jeetendra as an environmentalist"? Priceless!!!

samir said...

Smita :))
Richard Nixon is one of the most fascinating US Presidents, certainly worth exploring.
Many aspects of HRHK are still relevant today, especially to parents of daughters.
Thanks for the wonderful comment.

samir said...

Bollyviewer :))
LOL @ much needed in-depth investigation, unfortunately was just too caught up with work.
Nixon had several other interesting facets, and as an "oenophile" I have to admire his taste in wine. As Woodward & Bernstein document in "The Final Days"; He would be served Chateau Margaux from a white towel wrapped bottle, while his congressional guests would be served a much cheaper wine. Shows the "Tricky Dick" side of his personality, one that ultimately lead to his downfall.
LOL @ Jeetendra portion, and thanks for the excellent comment.

Raam Pyari said...

lols! that was an inetresting post! quite unlike anythig I have seen so far

samir said...

Raam Pyari :)
Thanks for appreciating the post. President Nixon is quite unlike any other US President, and so he gets the credit. However, a phone check is recommended for any newly installed bugs :)))

avdi said...

I read this blog, but wasnt able to comment at the time. Its a fantastic idea.... I am sure Nixon would have liked you on his PR office, you could have done wonders for him.. hehe

samir said...

Ava :))
Thanks for the generous comment, this is partly inspired from the movie "Dick" suggested by you.

harvey said...

A hilarious post!
Was ROTFL throughout the whole post!
Thr pic to the song ' Teri Zulfon Se Judaai to nahi maangi thi' suit so well. Indira Gandhi's zulfen, 'uff yuma!'

One thing I am sure that nobody sang this song for him, when he left.

samir said...

Harvey :))
Thanks for the nice comment.
That song 'uff yuma!' is great.
The song "Teri Zulfon se..." did not have a scene where both DA & AP are simultaneously in it, so I took that photo from "Sau Saal Pehle". A little shall we say "improvisation" is hopefully OK, especially when writing about President Nixon.
And I am sure no one (including the Republicans) sang "O Jaanewale...", after his departure. Great pick.

Shilpi Bose said...

Gumnaam Hai Koi, Badnaam Hai Koi--- Deep Throat? HA! HA!. Found it quite amusing, was thinking of my father who was the Gumnaam in the film Gumnaam.

samir said...

Shilpi :))
Thanks for the wonderful comment.
I have seen at least 2 (if not 3) other versions of "And Then There Were None" made by Hollywood/English-Film-Industry, and I think your father's performance stands up with all of them. One of those other films even had Richard Attenborough in the same role.
Watergate was a fairly influential event for us students at a Bombay school in the 70's. Our Social Studies teacher would discuss it at great length. The identity of Deep Throat was one of those enduring mysteries that was open to a lot of speculation. My ex-boss' father used to work in the Nixon Administration, and I once asked him whether his father was a candidate for Deep Throat. Fortunately he had a sense of humor and laughed me off.