The Original Jimmy

I netflixed the original Bollywood movie “Disco Dancer” so I could see the performance of the song M.I.A. covered, Jimmy. The movie apparently has become a cult classic, and I can see why. It’s pretty campy and definitely a fun watch. When you compare the original to M.I.A., I think a you’ll have genuine appreciation for what M.I.A. did with the song. M.I.A. added her own English lyrics which are different than the Hindi lyrics, except “Jimmy ajaa” which means “Jimmy come here” or “Jimmy come hither”. This movie is about a boy who is a street performer along with an adult mentor. Jimmy and his Mom meet a local rich man’s young daughter and are dancing and singing on the rich man’s lawn. The rich man gets all angry and beats Jimmy’s Mom and falsely accuses her of stealing. Jimmy and his Mom are teased by the village inhabitants, and have to move in shame. Jimmy vows revenge, and 15 years later seeks his revenge by becoming a more famous disco dancer than the rich man’s son has become. The rich man’s daughter ends up falling in love with Jimmy, and that is the girl in this video. Two hour movie made short, the rich man attempted to kill Jimmy with an electrocuted electric guitar, but Jimmy’s Mom found out the plot and leaped up on stage and grabbed the guitar to save Jimmy’s life. After Jimmy’s Mom died, Jimmy couldn’t play guitar, dance or sing anymore. This song is his love (Jimmy’s arch-nemesis’ daughter, remember) trying to convince him to sing again. After the song, Jimmy still couldn’t and she calls him a coward and runs off crying. Eventually he does sing again when the mentor suddenly comes back and sings for Jimmy too.

If you listen to the lyrics to M.I.A.’s version, it’s about her asking a man who is giving her mixed signals to be straight with her because he knows he wants her. Both songs are about asking a man to stop being a coward. Except M.I.A.’s idea of romance is going to Darfur. No, really…


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