Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mind your language

English is about widening of horizons, being a part of a larger global family, about social acceptance, about civilized mannerisms and about being modern. No wonder today’s Bollywood movies have protagonists who go beyond the boundaries of Indian languages to embrace English.

Gone are the times when dialogues had to be grammatically correct, when lyrics to songs made poetic sense. We live in an era where ‘Hinglish’ has evolved as a hybrid to satisfy the need to express in a better way. With English Vinglish all set to release on 5th October, we reminisce the journey of this ‘phunny’ language called English through the reels of time, across various classrooms over time and space . Beware, if you thought Bollywood characters were satisfied with speaking Hindi, the following memorable examples may just change your mind and tongue.

Amitabh Bacchhan as Arjun Singh in Namak Halal 
If you’ve ever heard that English is a phunny language, you heard it here first. As Amitabh sets off on a verbose journey to claim that he knows the language, his knowledge turns out to be quite a humorous headache for the listener.

Dharmendra as Dr. Parimal Tripathi in Chupke Chupke
Dharmendra who is disguised as a driver, tries his hand at the English language in a bid to spend more time with his lady love Sharmila Tagore. His capers add to the comic elements in the movie. His line “Agar T O ‘to’ hota hai, D O ‘do’ hota hai toh GO …” one can figure the rest out and smile at his innocence. And if you still don’t get it, try reading the line aloud.

R. Madhavan as Ramnarayan a.k.a. Robert in Ramji Londonwaley
The film is the story of a brilliant chef who goes abroad, driven by circumstances and tries to learn the language for the sake of his survival. Madhavan’s chocolate boy features combined with his efforts to learn English makes his performance endearing to the viewer.

Uday Chopra as Ali in Dhoom

Ali’s desperate tries to win a girl’s heart or show his smartness is accompanied with the need to use broken English. It not only helps pepper the otherwise action-oriented movie with humor but also relates to any and every boy next door who wishes to impress a girl with his language skills.

Jaaved Jaffrey as Crocodile Dundee a.k.a. Jaggu Yadav in Salaam Namaste
Trying to emulate Paul Hogan’s character in Crocodile Dundee, Jaffrey tries to add ‘s’ to every English word he speaks. This style of speaking English became quite a craze with the movie’s success at the Box Office. It is still identified as the funniest rendition of English in Bollywood. Recollect those coolly dressed country-attired boys with huge hats waiting outside colleges with flashy pick-up lines? Eggjactly!

Supriya Pathak as Sid’s mom in Wake Up Sid
A mother makes attempts to speak the language to be a good friend to her son. Her broken English captures a broken soul trying to cope with modernity and also invokes a sense of wanting to belong to a new space. She sounds humorous but the viewer manages to empathize more, than laugh at the mistakes. 

Supriya Pathak and Rajeev Mehta as Hansa and Praful in Khichdi
“Hello! How aar?” No one murders the language as beautifully as they do. They have a dictionary of their own when it comes to figuring out the meanings of complicated English words. And they leave the viewer in splits with their myriad interpretations. You might actually forget the real meanings of some words if you have an overdose of this laugh riot.

Ajay Devgn as Prithviraj Raghuvanshi in Bol Bacchhan
Ajay's character tries hard to talk in English, but ends up doing literal translations of famous Hindi proverbs. He translates "Bagal mein chhora aur sheher mein dhindora" as "Boy under armpit and hypercity noise pollution", and "Tujhe paakar meri chhaati aur bhi choudi ho gayi hai" as "My chest has become blouse.” And the joke is not lost in translation but the translation itself.

(features this week in the Blockbuster magazine) 

1 scribbling(s):

Anonymous said...

How can you forget the English coaching class in Phas Gaye re Obama. "You together thinking English like rice plate eating, never, not. English speaking is not a children's play it is an undertaker play: Taj Mahal create"

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