Who killed MJ? Those who’re killing Rakhi Sawant

Rakhi

S.R. RAMAKRISHNA writes from Bangalore: Who killed Michael Jackson?

No, definitely not his doctors. Nor his rivals. Nor the sharks to whom he reportedly owed money. It is unlikely any of them would have wanted him dead that badly.

Michael Jackson began as a heart-wrenchingly sweet singer. Looking at his innocent early pictures, you wouldn’t imagine he would grow into the freak that many thought he became in his later life.

MJ’s music was nervous, frenzied, jumpy. It was almost atonal, and you won’t find much in his oeuvre that you could call mellifluous. His music and dance went together.

One didn’t mean a great deal without the other.

mikol jksoncThe beats, many of which he mouthed out before his musicians put them down on paper and played them, are cut, broken, hyperactive. This may sound blasphemous, but like Pandit Kumar Gandharva, who sang in short bursts to make up for a single lung, MJ created an art he and only he could perform.

It couldn’t get more idiosyncratic, more individual. MJ created his art from his neurotic twitches.

What happened in his early days—his troubled childhood when his father took up with his third woman, and his youth as a member of the family band, when he had to share a motel room with older brothers making out with groupies—wrenched him painfully out of his innocence.

His love life was doomed.

He came to be accused of child abuse.

He lived in hell, and his art could never be respectable.

It was street-like, it was exaggerated, it was fascinating.

All of this must have made him king of pop. Perhaps pop, when it needs to be as successful as it was with MJ, needs freaks. The largest selling artiste in history was also the unhappiest. He didn’t like his looks, he didn’t like his colour, and he tried to change all that with the help of modern medicine.

As the police are now telling us, he had nothing but pills in his body when he died. No food. Just medicine. That’s a stark metaphor for his broken world.

MJ made a fortune out of being neurotic, and the pop world fuelled his success and made its own fortune out of him. It takes a smalltown Rakhi Sawant, dreaming of taking on the suave, English-educated stars of Bollywood, to create a freak who sells.

She is today’s freak, checking out her grooms on television, creating hysteria for the moment when she ties the knot, and raking in some millions in the process. Who knows what emotional misery awaits her and the boy she weds on prime time TV?

So who killed MJ?

Could it be those merciless accomplices, pop and commerce?

S.R. Ramakrishna is the resident of MiD-Day, Bangalore, where this piece first appeared

Photo montage: courtesy Ashish Bagchi

Illustration: courtesy Jairaj T.G.

Also read: Michael Jackson‘s oh-so-slight Mysore connection