Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dear Bollywood, mind your language (and accent!)

The first thing that impressed me in 'Shor In The City' was the immaculate American accent of Abhay (played by Sendhil Ramamurthy). Ofcourse Sendhil being an American actor helps but the point is that his accent brought to life the NRI character he was playing. Compare that to the American NRI that Abhishek Bachchan played in 'Delhi 6'! Abhishek's accent was limited to rolling his 'R's and that too for about first 5 minutes.

Another standout example from the same film is that of 'Sawan Murthy', a young cricketer who belongs to AP but is in Mumbai from past several years. He speaks fluent Hindi but still has got that tinge of unmistakable Telugu accent.

Talking of contrast. In Ashutosh Gowariker's 'Swades' the poor farmer who (whose home Mohan visits) speaks not only extremely pure but even poetic Hindi, strikes extremely jarring note in otherwise spotless movie. Even his most perfect film to-date 'Lagaan' was sort of inaccurate on this front with characters in 'central India' speaking Awadhi dialogues but it went on fine with the setting of the story and nobody complained. Similarly in RGV's 'Jungle' even though the forest was based somewhere in South India, the bandits spoke in Haryanvi(!) but it was passable.

The importance of correct language and accent can not be overstated but due to some unfathomable reason our mainstream movie makers prefer to take us, the viewers, in a world where people speak chaste Hindi and are completely unaffected by their surroundings and the people living in those surroundings. Wherever they may be.

So in 'Patiala House' even though Bau Ji's whole family has lived and grown up in Britain, they still speak that Punjabi mixed Hindi which Karan Johar made trendy in his NRI films. And in Priyadarshan's shameful remake (if they gave due credits)/ripoff(if they didn't!) of 'Children Of Heaven', 'Bumm Bumm Bole' the setting was definitely a place where they don't speak that good Hindi. (But to be fair in Priyadarshan's asylum of movie making language is perhaps last thing to worry about!)

Can you imagine how depleted would 'Peepli Live' be if Nattha and his village folks, specially Amma ji, didn't talk in that characteristic western U.P. accent, or if the Deccan accent is taken out of the dialogues from 'Well Done Abba'? Or the Himachali taken out of 'The Blue Umbrella'?

Perhaps in mainstream Bollywood, such things as correct pronunciation and proper dialect are somethings not to be fussed about much. Perhaps they still think that public to hero ko 'dekhne' aati hai!


Vishwadeep Asthana said...

Turly said Bhai. Just watched Shagird yesterday and the accent and language played the most important part. Haryanwi mixed with the language of western UP added much flavor as the Movies was based on Delhi.

Smita said...

These are the finer details which bollywood doesn't take care of. Though We wish they did!

Kanupriya said...

Wow, quite astute observation. Agree to each one of it :) and ya special mention to Sendhil's accent in Shor in the city which made his character further believable.