by Vimala Ramu
(Bangalore, Karnataka, India)
Laughter is the best medicine they say. What if one man’s medicine is another’s poison? I am not talking about the laughter that is whipped up in laughter clubs where you see senior citizens standing in a circle in parks laughing their guts out as a therapy in the mornings. I am talking of the natural (!) laugh that emanates from a person spontaneously as a result of encountering something funny.
Some people howl it out setting up a tremor all around. Their ha-ha-ha can be heard by the whole neighborhood which is shaken up wondering as to what set off the explosion. As opposed to this some laugh as if they are dispensing gold coins every time they open their mouths. There is a third category who keep giggling along with their conversation (which may or may not be about a funny topic) forcing their listeners to become more staid and stiff wondering as to what was there to laugh about!
Well, I now come to the main part –that of our heroines laughing on shows like ‘Koffee with Karan’ in which quizzes and gift hampers are included.
Don’t get me wrong. I do like to watch these lively shows as they feed a wholesome dose of youthful spirit into the aged couch potatoes. But what happens actually when a lady ‘star’ walks in? As the cue is given , she walks in elegantly dressed in form- fitting black evening dress, precariously balancing herself on the stiletto heels, and sits down demurely showing her well waxed legs (and sometimes a delectable bit of her thigh too) on the couch alone or sometimes with a male star.
She will have a tight, smug practiced smile on her face in the early stages. But as the interview progresses she relaxes and HOW! In the midst of her interaction with her interviewer and co-interviewee she lets forth a scream or a cackle, hyena like guffaws, gleefully clapping her hands or beating her thighs and sometimes her male companion’s thigh or whatever part of his anatomy is close to her. Probably this is to show that she is a ‘naturally hearty’ and ‘genuine’ person not given to airs. I am not saying that everyone should sport an obviously synthetic, inscrutable facade or a cultivated veneer of propriety like Simi Garewal or Madhuri Dikshit Nene. But at least they should be careful not to behave in such a way as to completely shatter the mystique that has been painstakingly created for them on the screen by the directors through monitored emotions including tinkling laughter. On TV screen, in comparison to their exaggerated outbursts the laughter of the male members of the show sound more controlled as perhaps no ‘shrieking’ is involved. On missing the gift hamper (due to her low IQ or lack of general knowledge) she even sulks in a most unsportive way and her genial laughter would have disappeared completely by then or would be replaced with an ugly scowl. You are left with a totally different image of your favorite heroine.
Laughter is an art. One need not meticulously practice it. But if only one is conscious of any untoward effects set forth while laughing, that is good enough. Please do not stop laughing. It is still the best medicine for the ‘laugher’. ***