Michael Jackson’s oh-so-slight Mysore connection

Michael Jackson‘s impact on the Indian mind can be seen in the dance competitions on TV every night, where young and not-so-young Indians, male and female, flaunt the results of the rediscovery of their bodies, bumping, grinding and holding their crotches, with fathers, mothers and others applauding happily.

If anybody came close to meeting The Man before the phenomenon, it was Prabhudeva, son of the South Indian choreographer, Mugur Sundaram, whose family has built a marriage hall in Visveswaranagar in Mysore to reaffirm their links to their City of origin.

Prabhudeva met MJ on his only visit to Bombay in 1996, thanks to Anupam Kher. Not surprisingly, the theme of the meeting of the lord and awestruck devotee was silence.

“People repeatedly ask me, “What did Michael Jackson say to you?” “What did you say to him?” All I remember is that I was struck speechless, but that face-to-face encounter, however brief, sent a thrill down my spine, a rendezvous accomplished almost as if I’d completed a long-planned pilgrimage.”

In the video, above, from the Tamil movie Kaadhalan which also launched him as a movie star, Prabhudeva moonwalks to the strains of A.R. Rehman, Suresh Peters and the late Shahul Hameed, for a couple of seconds in Mysore (1:45). The film, directed by Shankar of Sivaji fame, had busty Naghma as the female attraction, with Girish Karnad playing her corrupt and cruel governor-father.