Mithun Chakraborty - Bappi Lahri Classic Hit “Jimmy Jimmy” Becomes Unlikely New Anthem in China To Protest COVID Lock-downs
Moneylife Digital Team 03 November 2022
Nobody would have ever imagined that Hindi music composer Bappi Lahiri’s superhit track 'Jimmy Jimmy Aaja Aaja' from the 1982 movie 'Disco Dancer' starring Mithun Chakraborty would one day be used by the people of China to protest against the government’s 'zero-COVID' policy. Frustrated and angry residents, who are under a strict COVID-19 lock-down, are now grooving to Bappi Lahiri's “Jimmy, Jimmy” track sung by Parvati Khan. In the videos, people can be seen mocking empty vessels to show how they are deprived of essential food items during the lock-downs.
 
In Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, the song composed by Bappi Lahiri and sung by Parvati Khan is sung in Mandarin “Jie mi, jie mi”, which loosely translates to “Give me rice, give me rice”. 
 
 
Observers say that the Chinese have found a smart way of using "Jie mi, jie mi" to make soft protests in their bid to highlight the public plight over the zero-COVID policy. Recently, many videos have come up on social media where officials have cracked down on people protesting the strict lock-downs.
 
Bollywood movies have always enjoyed huge popularity in China, from the days of legend Raj Kapoor in the 1950s and 60s to recent years when films such as "3 Idiots", "Secret Superstar", "Hindi Medium", "Dangal" and "Andhadhun" performed exceptionally well at the Chinese box office. 
 
Before authoritarian leader Mao Zedong’s death in 1976, the Chinese were cut off from the rest of the world. The media was stifled, crackdowns were rampant, and there was no presence of western goods, culture or information.  China at that time was starved of any world entertainment and music due to the dominance of the communist regime. ‘Disco Dancer’ — the rags-to-riches story of a wedding and street singer from Mumbai slums who metamorphoses into Jimmy the disco dancer — found popularity with the Chinese when the country began opening up a little post 1976. That is when the  Chinese began viewing movies, and listening and grooving to music from the rest of the world. Thus the Chinese loved the ‘Jimmy Jimmy’ song back then and its presence in pop culture at this point is not new. However the track is being used this way as a protest song for the first time in China.
 
Even today, the Communist Party of China (CPC) closely monitors social media and posts criticising the government and top brass are quickly censored. This trend, however, seems to have evaded the censors until now.
 
A video from the Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou—which is Apple’s largest iPhone assembly factory—has also surfaced where workers walked out of the factory following a virus outbreak and complaints of unsafe working conditions. Reports said workers started leaving the Foxconn factory after some of them fell ill in mid-October and received no treatment.
 
On Sunday, China reported 2,675 cases, up from 802 from the previous day. Under the zero-COVID policy mandated by President Xi Jinping, the cities and localities have to undergo strict lock-downs and people of the area are shifted to quarantine centres if any positive cases are reported.
 
In almost all cities, including Beijing, testing is mandatory for all residents. Without negative test results, people in the cities cannot enter public places including restaurants and markets.
 
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