Jamba Lakidi Pamba: An Underrated Classic that Foretold the Woke Epidemic

An in-depth analysis of the 1992 Telugu blockbuster, Jamba Lakidi Pamba, which tangentially predicted the Woke phenomenon.
Jamba Lakidi Pamba: An Underrated Classic that Foretold the Woke Epidemic

THE PRE-CLIMAX SCENE of the Telugu superhit movie, Jamba Lakidi Pamba was an eerie prediction of a sinister reality that is exploding out of control in the United States. In the scene, a Swami foretells how society will hurtle into utter degeneration and collapse in five phases:   

1. Women will become men and vice versa

2. Children will behave like adults and vice versa

3. Dressing, language and speech will become bestial, demonic and unintelligible 

4. Everyone will go crazy to the extent that craziness becomes the new normal

5. Bodily organs will undergo bizarre transformations: female body parts will appear on male bodies and vice versa. 

Thirty-one years after Jamba Lakidi Pamba was released, almost all these phases have become part of what we mistakenly call “reality.” These five phases constitute the combined definition of the degenerate Woke phenomenon. It’s also the most accurate definition.      

Back then, the audience laughed uproariously. It was still a naive and untainted audience which actually believed that the world depicted in Jamba Lakidi Pamba could only exist in the realm of fantasy. Little did this audience imagine that this fantasy could ever come alive and consume its own children and grandchildren who are slowly being sucked into the Woke vortex. In urban India.   

Released in 1992 on a shoestring budget, Jamba Lakidi Pamba is a highly underrated classic made by the late E.V.V. Satyanarayana. The movie is solidly anchored in the Jandhyala School of filmmaking given that E.V.V. was not only mentored by Jandhyala but was his most distinguished legatee. Jandhayala stands tallest among the handful of Telugu filmmakers who have delivered such compelling social and cultural commentaries using classy humour as a powerful medium. One Jandhyala and one E.V.V. have landed multiple knockout punches on the jaws of depraved Leftist moviemakers seeking to overturn society through miseducation, perversion and violence.

THE PLOT-SEED FOR Jamba Lakidi Pamba originated when E.V.V. was working as Jandhyala’s assistant. It sprouted after he read Madireddy Sulochana’s play on the same theme and after substantial modification, developed into a full-fledged screenplay. 

The basic theme of Jamba Lakidi Pamba is breathtaking in its simplicity: what happens to society when time-honoured gender roles are literally, physically reversed?

When Jamba Lakidi Pamba was conceptualised and released, feminism had neither acquired the aggression nor the political clout that it has acquired in the last fifteen years. Which is also why a Jamba Lakidi Pamba cannot be made today… In fact, a rip-off of the same movie with the same title was released in 2018 with catastrophic results for the producer.

Which is also why Jamba Lakidi Pamba endures as a futuristic and visionary classic. There was no way E.V.V. could know in advance that something called a Woke “culture” would emerge in the near future. However, like all sane observers of society and popular trends, he spotted the long-term dangers of toppling social structures, which are the products of millennia of evolution. The social trend that was steadily gaining steam in India in the 1990s was feminism. In hindsight, it is clear that feminism was indeed the original ghoul that pioneered the path for today’s Woke insanity.   

Jamba Lakidi Pamba works at multiple levels. It is primarily a social satire housed in the genre of fantasy-comedy. Apart from its opening and closing minutes, the whole movie is both unreal and surreal. Which is its greatest strength and also the reason for its popular success and repeat value. It is also a dire warning. The Indian society depicted in Jamba Lakidi Pamba has eroded at a rapid pace in an astonishingly short period. Two human forms taken at random best illustrate this erosion: the conspicuous attention and popular infamy that Sri Reddy and Pavitra Lokesh have received in recent times. The irony couldn’t be more pronounced: Naresh, whose name is linked with the selfsame Pavitra Lokesh, is the protagonist of Jamba Lakidi Pamba

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Jamba Lakidi Pamba: An Underrated Classic that Foretold the Woke Epidemic

THE FANTASY WORLD OF Jamba Lakidi Pamba is located in Vishakhapatanam but it could be set in any Indian city or town. Its society is what is today known as the oppressive patriarchal Hindu society. All men are lazy wastrels busy playing cards and drinking and smoking and debauching and generally beating up their wives. All women are helpless victims of this male-dominated society. Not only are they victims, they are also oppressors of their own miserable sisters. 

Until one “city-educated” (unmarried), firebrand woman decides to completely reverse this situation. She’s the female protagonist of the movie. One day, she is led to a forbidding cave inhabited by a Swamini (female monk) who had renounced this male-dominated society decades ago, seeking vengeance against men. After years of hard penance, she has prepared a magic potion named Jamba Lakidi Pamba. She’s waiting for a kindred soul to put her potion to work. The female protagonist takes the potion and mixes it in the tank that supplies water to Vishakhapatanam. 

The consequence: overnight, the gender roles are reversed in the whole city. Men become women and women become men.

For the next hour or so, we witness the real-life consequences of this reversal. Men wear bindis and mangalasutras and cook and draw rangolis. Men also get pregnant with bloated bellies and experience labour pains but women deliver the baby with zero pain. Women play cards and smoke and booze and have rollicking affairs and rediscover old flames. Women also visit brothels where the brothel-owner lines up the most delectable male whores for selection.

The irony in this upended society is stark. In the old order — i.e., the time-tested gender relationships and social structures — both men and women are aware of their respective roles. In the surreal new order, both men and women are no longer aware of their gender: they have become automatons, dehumanised and controlled by the external agent known as Jamba Lakidi Pamba.

The whole thing is shown in graphic detail leaving nothing to the imagination. In fact, Jamba Lakidi Pamba is a fine example of Vaachyata (explicitness) that actually works. It works because it is Vaachyata dipped in splendid humour. And it is humour that’s tasteful. But for this, Vaachyata can easily slip into disgust and vulgarity.

And when this “society” really becomes unhinged, the avenging female protagonist finally admits to her folly and takes the male protagonist to the aforementioned cave. Which is when another layer of storytelling brilliance unfolds. The Swamini who had prepared the original Jamba Lakidi Pamba potion is dead. Which means there is no antidote to reverse the reversal. The Swamini character is actually a superb symbolism for all the mindless and irresponsible feminist cheerleaders of the past and present. Two random names come to mind: the pioneering feminist sicko, Virginia Woolf, and the manic-depressive Sylvia Plath. The Swamini who dies in Jamba Lakidi Pamba mirrors all such unchained feminists who evade responsibility for the horrors they have unleashed by creating a monster that hurts others and not them.  

It is at this juncture that we arrive at the pre-climax sequence mentioned in the beginning of this essay. The Swami in the cave is her male disciple who delineates the five-phased destruction of society. He also prepares the aforementioned antidote, and the movie ends on a happy note — i.e., the old order is restored. 

But before that, the society has tottered to the very brink. It is no longer limited to gender role reversal. Now we witness children behaving like adults and vice versa. Parents attend kindergarten wearing shorts and frocks. Kids have become stick-wielding teachers. In the next phase, male and female voices have been transmuted. And the male protagonist warns that in the succeeding phase, men will start breastfeeding.

WHILE THE OLD ORDER IS RESTORED in the movie, it appears that contemporary American society has entered the third or the fourth phase shown in Jamba Lakidi Pamba. Misguided or avaricious medical science is now being used for dangerous, experiments on live human beings like gender transformation and deadly hormone “therapies” with unpredictable but disastrous consequences. Male children as young as six are being fed with drugs to make them more “feminine.” Puberty blockers have become normalised. There is an entire body of research trying to find out ways to make men pregnant. YouTube videos showing adult males breastfeeding are garnering millions of hits. A leading American university published a “research paper” that tries to “prove” that lactating mothers need “consent” from their own infants to breastfeed. 

The nightmarish list is endless. Even George Orwell or Aldous Huxley couldn’t have envisioned this dystopian hell. 

And this American virus has already crept into and is infecting Indian youth. And every voice calling for reason and sanity is ruthlessly suppressed by this Woke mob. 

This is Jamba Lakidi Pamba in savage action in real life. Except that there is no saviour Swami or his antidote. 

THE WHOLE MOVIE is a great metaphor by and in itself. The term Jamba Lakidi Pamba has no meaning. It is a string of rhyming and alliterative sounds. Like an incantation of insanity. Which begets kindred sounds. In the movie, these become Pamba Lakidi Jamba, Pamba Jamba Lamba Lakidi and so on. What is notable is that all these sounds are actually potions, which have specific uses and outcomes. Another brilliant metaphor. Likewise, Vishakhapatanam is a metaphor. Its water tank is a metaphor. The deeper we dig, the more artistic and storytelling nuances emerge. 

The unstated brilliance of Jamba Lakidi Pamba is its awesome use of satirical humour to deliver a serious message. We know we’re watching arrant nonsense but for example, like Alice in Wonderland, it sucks us into its world making us simultaneously, connoisseurs, observers and participants. It makes absurdity enjoyable because the absurdity is painted and beautified by the brush of art.  

Jamba Lakidi Pamba was and remains a film far ahead of its time. By satirising a destructive and soul-less political ideology like feminism, it has shown its intrinsic nature: silly, absurd, toxic and disastrous. And indirectly, E.V.V. Satyanarayana has provided us an emulatory model for aspiring filmmakers who want to combat the Left-Liberal ecosystem on its own turf. 


Here is a data point related to Jamba Lakidi Pamba. This was the maiden venture of its co-producer D.V.V. Danayya, who went on to produce the 2022 monster hit, RRR. 

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