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Bappida’s Mangalsutra Incident Proved He Was Actually The First Metrosexual From Bollywood



An ostensibly unsavoury rumour has it that once the  legendary actor Raj Kumar went up to our  beloved gold-digger(he dug  gold jewellery)  Bappi Lahiri  during a flight and asked, ‘Where is your mangalsutra?’

Firstly this incident is  completely unverified. Like that other anecdote  about how Raj Kumar walked  up to Parveen  Babi at a  party and  chatted, “Jaani, you should be in  the movies.”

No one knows if it really happened.When I once asked Bappida about  the mangalsutra incident   he  said something very interesting to me, “Firstly  nothing  like this  happened.  It’s just one of those myths that are  circulated  to prove how eccentric Raj Kumar was and how  much jewellery I wore..Secondly, even if he did say this, what is wrong in it? Why is it an insult for a  man to wear a mangalsutra?”
The words came  back to me when I read read that actress Saira Banu  had confirmed the mangalsutra  incident. No  idea  how she is  connected to this  incident. But I  do know that once her  great husband Dilip Kumar had mocked the greatest Lata Mangeshkar about her ‘daal-bhat’  Urdu and she took it as  a challenge to  polish up her Urdu .

If Raj Kumar did  ask Bappida about his mangalsutra Bappida took is  in the right spirit. He  was never embarrassed  about wearing jewellery and  yes, wearing a mangalsutra  was never an  insult  to him.

And yet if he was made the  brunt of  ridicule for his  love of golden jewellery  all I can say is,  Bappida was  as  ahead of his times in his music as he was in his  love for  gold. For, now the alpha male  not only wears  ear and  nose rings he  is also open  to  wearing a  mangalsutra, and  sport the  sindoor, if he  so wishes. The argument   being, if women are supposed to wear the mangalsutra and sindoor  as a  sign of  their marriage  why not men?

Bappida was  never embarrassed  about his  love for  gold. “I love  gold . I wear it because it makes me feel good about myself. Some men may  think it to be funny. But  times change . One day they  will see that wearing gold doesn’t make a  man any less of  a man,” he told me.

So true, Bappida, so  true. Now when  so many of the gender walls are vanishing , and there are heterosexual  men wearing  even sarees , it is  disgraceful to talk  of the mangalsutra as an insult to  manhood specially when the man liked to  go for gold   is  no more.

Neither for that matter is Raj Kumar  with us. To  excavate his mythical eccentricities to make a story is  just plain unethical.

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