Channeling reefer rani Zeenat Aman
Dum Maro Dum | दम मारो दम | Take another hit
Dum Maro Dum may be the most recognizable song in Bollywood history. It’s been covered and sampled endlessly, even making an appearance on Method Man’s 2004 single, What’s Happenin’, featuring Busta Rhymes. It also happens to be about weed.
(WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!)
The unofficial South Asian stoner anthem, loosely translated to “take another hit,” is the musical centerpiece of the anti-drug Bollywood blockbuster, Hare Rama Hare Krishna. The film stars the gorgeous Zeenat Aman as Jasbir Jaiswal, a young, South Asian American immigrant, who, estranged from her mother and brother, changes her name to Janice and falls in with a bunch of pot-smoking, long-haired malcontents in Kathmandu, Nepal. Things don’t end so well for Jasbir, who eventually kills herself out of shame. The obvious message here is, of course: drugs are bad.
Thing is, when we hear Charanjit Singh’s droney synths layered over driving drums, psychedelic strings, and singer Asha Bhosle’s ear-piercing vocals, we just want to throw on some giant shades, part our hair straight down the middle, and get blazed like Janice. Our eternal style heroine may not have survived Hare Rama Hare Krishna, but Zeenat Aman catapulted to fame following the film’s release, becoming a symbol of rebellion and independence for a whole generation of young South Asians.
We have a DVD of Hare Rama Hare Krishna coming to us via Netflix (yes, they still rent DVDs) in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, we’ll be wearing rose colored glasses in honor of Zeenat Aman and streaming Dum Maro Dum on repeat.