Friday, June 26, 2009

frEEk in the Mirror: Michael Jackson

Namastes my freeklicious friends!

If u were as, this frEEk was, a child of the 70s /80s, u would have surely at some point grabbed, your crotch, attempted a falsetto scream and tried to shuffle ur behind, all in an attempt to imitate perhaps the greates musician, and undoubtedly the most unforgettable entertainer of all time : MICHAEL JACKSON.
Notwithstanding his phenom popularity in the West, Michael Jackson, uncannily enjoyed fame as perhaps the only "American" well-known to global audiences, right down to crafty "poster-sellers" in the sweaty bylanes of Mumbai, who soled many a poster of MJ in all his pelvic thrusting glory to the Indian teens, for whom MJ represented creative,aspirational and even cultural freedom.

Despite being musician, producer, dancer and inventor (yup, u read that right, check out his patent invention here) MJ, had a flirting relationship with cinema, and mastered the visual medium like no other artis before him had. watch his lavishly mounted music videos like smooth criminal, BAD and you will realise this. Let us then in our frEEky little way, pay tribute to ths legend, by taking a look at Michael's portrayal on celluloid:

Early Years: After breaking away from the Jackson Five (i distinctly remember an mtv promo which joked: Jackson 5 minus Michael Jackson = 0!), Michael's earliest attempts on screen,were the pathbreaking Moonwalker (featuring Smooth Criminal), the movie featured an awesome sequence (with 80s special effects) where Michael transforms into a Giant Robot, to destroy some bad guys..



In this escapist outing MJ (in an image that would haunt him him in his later years) as a friend to children, a sort of modern-day Peter Pan.

MJ, soon after even acted with his the "mentor" and "friend" Diana Ross, in a Motownesque adaptation of the Children's (a word we'll no doubt here again in this post!) tale: THE WIZ (based on the Wizard of Oz), while it did not set any cinematic milestones, it is remembered by nostaligc frEEks, as the one where Michael attempted to sing in a much lower (read masculine) voice than he usually does, take a look!

for best results, have a 'stash' at hand while watching this one!

MJ soon associated himself, with perhaps the greatest children's (there's that word again!) movie of all time E.T. by recording an "audio version" of the movie,

frEEks are us!

complete with a goose-bumply number called "Someone in the Dark" (it's not what you're thinking you pervs!) MJ would go on to win a Grammy (one of his 13) for this effort.


All the while, MJ was also subject to ridicule / caricature by other artists, most notably, Eddie Murphy who brilliantly pastiched MJ's mannerisms in his comedy routines; notably Delirious, from which the brilliant repost follows:



That Simpsons Cameo:

"Leon Kompowsky" - voiced by Michael Jackson on the Simpsons!

In the later years, MJ the music genius, hit the headlines for all the wrong movies, plastic surgery, child abuse allegations were what people knew him best for. Perhaps as rejoinder to all those, MJ made an uncredited cameo appearance on the Simpsons as "Leon Kompowsky" a mental institution inmate, who dances, sings, but unfortunately, looks nothing like Michael Jackson. Chaos ensues, when Homer Simspon, takes Leon to his town believing him to be the real Michael Jackson, only to be unceremoniously shooed away by the unbelieving townsfolk, in a touching moment, Leon tells Homer, to not be swayed by others, and only believe what his heart tells him to. Before leaving, "Leon" sings Lisa a birthday song, which is considered one of the best moments in the history of this epic television show, listen away!


In a frEEking twist of events, the "Leon" was credited to a "John J. Smith" and it remained an urban legend for several years, as to who actually "Leon" truly was until, almost 12 years to the date of the airing of the episode, it was revealed that the "Leon" voiceover was indeed provided by MJ himself, and was kept a secret as MJ was under forbidden under contract to record another television/media company, it remains one of televisions greatest "urban legends" to date!

All this while, MJ would continue to hold sway on pop and cinema culutre, not just in the west, but globally - check out India's own pelvic ( and i use that term loosely) thruster Govinda do his imitation of MJ's "BAD" dance moves..


Not to be outdone, India's southern superstar (and now wannabe politician) Chiranjeevi threw in his loose limbs in a frame by frame rip-off MJ's legendary "Thriller" dance..


For good measure, I have included the real deal below, take a look!


They say imitation is the best form of flattery, but I wonder if MJ would be proud!

Later years: In the later years, little was heard (cinematically) from our favorite one-gloved frEEk, MJ's last cinematic outing was the sci-fi extravaganza "Men in Black - II" where MJ, playing himself, and admitting he is an alien, requests to join the "men in black" and known as "Agent M" through the "alien affirmative action" program!

you cannot but admire the man, who gives in to his harshest critics, that too on screen!
Perhaps, it is indeed true, and MJ was not of this world, but was given to us, to entertain, enthrall and embolden us, and now that we had all grown up, and needed him no more, this eternal Peter Pan had whisked away in search other galaxies to entertain.

f
good bye MJ, they took you away, but they can never take away your music!


extra frEEky: "Billie Jean" is the greatest pop-song of all time, period!

3 comments:

reevi said...

hey man that was quite an awesome article. you really broke your back on this one. befitting one for the end of an era.

you forgot prabhu deva!

Gargi said...

excellent tribute! and the simpsons cameo was a revelation!

Phoenix Dentist said...

Its a remake of the King of Rock's death. The King of Pop has left his mark on history. But its still sad to see ANOTHER star OD on drugs and die. After a while its hard to fell sorry for the likes of Elvis, Heath, Michael etc. I guess money and fame don't really buy happiness - I'll just stick to being poor and unknown ... and happy! Good work Freek.

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