This was so close to ending up in our Light starters, however it may have veered uncomfortably close to being perceived as ethnic mockery when robbed of context.
As one of our Fusion entries, however, this thing is absolutely spellbinding.
The questions that run through the mind upon first viewing typically start with “Where on earth did this come from?” Soon enough that question fades into unimportance as the troop and that downright magnetic lead hypnotise you with their hyper-coordinated dance. It’s a no-brainer that this is riffing in some way from Thriller, but it completely veers into what-on-earth-am-I-seeing territory so far that by the end you catch yourself saying “Michael Who?”
This was, naturally, a viral sensation around the same time that wedding parties inexplicably began performing Thriller at receptions. Lest it be suggested that Digestible are so far behind pop culture, what makes “Indian Thriller” worth a semi-nostalgic glance back are those elements that have been cooked together just right for a taste sensation.
Front and centre is Michael Jackson’s Thriller as the seed which the filmmaker looked at and said “I need exactly this in my crime-romance-soap opera film.” Donga is actually a Telugu film from 1985, with no supernatural aspect to the plot. But the “Tollywood” sensibility transforms what might have been a cheap knock-off into a bizarre treat. Then comes the contribution of Mike Sutton, whose phonetic approximation into English has both given this piece of work it’s new title of “Girly Man”, and led the whole thing into comedy gold.
More than most other Fusion pieces, the final product here really is the result of multiple cooks riffing and tinkering and outright stealing, until the whole world begins singing “Girl my old calculator ain’t got no bow…”