Sunday, December 30, 2007

Seriously, who killed good Kannada cinema?

"If you want to learn English, read Keats, Shelley and Shakespeare."

Thus goes an old adage. With the works of these great poets-dramatists of yore being rather cumbersome and boring to read in their original form(a Shakespearean comedy? Come on.), people have turned to other sources for obtaining a good command over the British mother tongue. Pop fiction, cheap magazines, movies, plays, television programmes etc., have formed the primary source of information for people. A section of society which seems to have been impacted deeply by these media of instruction is the Kannada film industry. Yes, continuing from here, from what was a very self-indulgent post, in today's discussion, we will focus on the usage of the English language within our films.

For some reason, people who spoke English in our movies were(and still are) considered much more cool and 'knowing' than the ones who didn't. However, they are also endowed with evil qualities like greed, avarice and a blatant disregard for the local customs, culture and heritage. This is stereotyped by the heroine who comes to a village from the city, and the bumpkin villager hero falls in love with her. She is a wild, bucking bronco and he must, therefore, tame her(William chauvinist Shakespeare). As soon as the heroine arrives in the village, she greets everything in the village with disgust. 'Oh sheet!' is her constant refrain, with a few threatening 'Youuuuu!!!'s thrown at the hero, when he makes his attempts to 'change' her.

Or, if both parties are rich, they will both converse in English. I remember on segment in the Dr. Rajkumar starrer "Trimurthi" where he goes to the heroine's house. Her father, the villain, played by Toogudeepa Shrinivas(I think), is hosting a huge party(with "frends" all attendant) and whiskayyy is flowing. Dr. Raj is introduced to T. Shrinivas.
"Hello. My name is Raj." (Pronounced 'Rawj')
"Hello. My name is Shankar." (Pronounced 'Shunk-her.' I'm not sure about the Shankar bit. But the heroine's father is most often an industrialist. And "Industrialist Shankar" was a popular name for heroine's-father-cum-villain.)
"Wheresiver dawtter?"
"Oh she is sick. She generally doesn't attend this sort of functions."
"Oh? I would like to meetther."
"Sir Ton-ly. Thee next time, I will introducer."

And for the next twenty minutes, the English went on. Didn't stop. For a Kannada film, it certainly had a lot of English. And no subtitles either. After this, though, when the heroine finally arrived, despite her threatening illness, the "My name is Rawj. Whatsiver name, please?" song played and everybody was happy.

Coming back to the rural theme, after all this happy camaraderie, the villain of the piece spots the city-bred, always fair-skinned heroine. After observing her carefully for a while, and noting her movements and routine with an eye for detail that would have made a surgeon proud, he finally makes his move on her, when she is alone at home. Conveniently, she is always having a bath when he enters the house.

"Ey!! Yaaro neenu? Illyaak bande??"
("I say! Who art thou? Wherefore didst thou come here?")

At this point, someone loses the script and the villain, not knowing what to do, ad-libs.
"Dayavittu kshamisibidi-mma. Heege hogtidde jeevanada haadiyalli. Aadre kela kaTukara kaige sikki heegaagbitte. Naan badlagtini, nannanna naanu tidkotini, neevu nambi, dayavittu nannanna nambi!"
("Kindly forgive me, good lady. I was traipsing along the path of life, leaving myself to the vicissitudes of Fate. But I fell prey to the wiles of a few loutish rogues and scoundrels and became thus. I will change, I will now redeem myself in your eyes, good woman. Please believe me.")

Then they find the script and he returns to normal.
"Baa illi, darling! Ninnantha beauty-na nodkond hogona anta bande." (evil laugh)
("Come hither, darling. It is with an ardent wish to behold a beauty such as yours that I have made my presence felt herein.")

"You bleddy!!"

Now, this has no meaning at all, but she says it anyway. It is her expression of extreme indignation, of anger at having her privacy invaded by this ruffian.

He emits one more evil laugh and grabs her hand. Several scenes of family-viewing follow.

After this, it is the turn of the hero to obtain his revenge. He learns of the non-consensual deflowering of the city-bred heroine. Though he has been teasing her, taunting her and troubling her himself, with a selfish end in mind, no doubt, he is flabbergasted that the villain gets there first. Therefore, he swears vengeance and goes to the villain's adda/house. If it is a poor villain, he will be under a tree, but he will speak no English with the hero except words of abuse("Hogo, fool!"). But the rich are well-versed in the English. So, when the hero arrives, the bad man shall be surrounded by several Jayamalini-type women and, if he is lucky, by Jayamalini herself. They will be sitting around him and ministering feather-light touches to his face, to get his attention. He turns to each one of them and whispers something in their ear. Each of them then must say:-
"Chee! You naati!"

At this point, the hero barges in and spoils the party. He kills the villain, more often than not, and bashes the women around a bit too, if he's in a foul mood. Then, the police somehow arrive, despite no one calling them. I mean, the hero couldn't possibly have called them and informed them he was going to murder a prominent industrialist's son before he actually did it. Ooh, maybe he did. He's a model citizen, after all. The hero is dragged to court. There, without any provocation, if he is Tiger Prabhakar(this is the coolest guy ever. He has English in his name.), he says "The sem man who killed the terrist killed mawwife." Then the judge lets him with a slight reprimand, he(Prabhakar, not the judge) gets back together with the no-more-a-virgin heroine and everyone is happy.

Police investigations give ample scope for displaying English skills. After the top cop arrives at the crime scene and gives it the once-over, he turns to the lowest constable and says, "I want enquiries made. I want a report on my table at 9 0'clock tomorrow morning. We must not let him escape! Hmm!"

I'm sorry, my heart wasn't in this while writing. It isn't at all as funny as the scope the subject offered. I just wanted to get it done with. Perhaps Harish or the Monkey man could give it the treatment it deserves. Speaking of whom, I bought Cat's cradle yesterday at the Strand festival. I must now go to Blossom's, find out it was available for much, much less and bleed internally.


Arvind said...

I still liked it. I thought it was brilliant.


Harish said...

Chennaage ittallo haasya! Aa Prabhakar dialogue sarrig ittu. Enthenthavru iddru noDu namma Kannada chitrarangadalli(cinema-theatre anta iden translate aagutte...). Medhavi naTaru, aangla bhaasha praveeNaru, haasya kalanidhigaLu, shreshTa tantrajnaru ellaa iddru. Aa dinagaLu (illen pun illa) elli?

Idu ond-tara visual-haasya. Baryodu kashta. Alva?

Karthik D said...

"Several scenes of family-viewing follow." Well put.

The scenes were pretty much like this...
Some amount of chase accompanied by the shrieks of the heroine, the villian trying to kiss her on her cheek, the faded kumkum signifying the end of it all.

Chanag ittu maga.

Nish=) said...

Superb it was. Brilliant :) You seem to specialize in kannada cinema. Good alternative career option I sai.

Anonymous said...

are you CRAZY???? hero getting together with non-virgin is a crime as far as indian movies are concerned! if she was a self-respecting woman, she'd throw herself into a well/lake/river or hang herself.
hero rescues heroine from near-molestation.
it's the sister who get violated. either she commits suicide and hero swears to avenge her death, or if she doesn't, hero reforms the villain who finally marries the woman he violated.

Spunky Monkey said...

"My naym is Rawj, Rawj, Rawj, votsyuvar naym plees plees?" is from Haavina Hede, where our man romances with 17 year old Sulochana.
Speaking of English and Kannada cinema, there was no better concurrence seen than in the form of Sampat, the character actor. The man would insist on speaking in propah Brit accent, and would look sufficiently distressed at having to play village bum characters.
And who can forget namma Annavru getting carried away teaching "Romeo und Jyuuliett" in Eradu Kanasu?

Also, so far as taming the shrew goes, one must acknowledge the scene which is where our village bum hero meets with his prospective bride, who is currently of course being Miss Notoriety, and insists on calling her father nothing but "Djajjy". The scene is when, she freshly arrives in the village and passes her car (more often than not a Contessa Classic, sign of wealth) over this pile of muck which then splashes all over hero. He yells,
"YaavoLammi neenu, tindiTT yechhaagaytha?"
Car stops. Back in reverse gear in top speed, and does the same thing again. Then, Shrew gives him a look of sheer disgust and moves on, thus making our hero woozy with infatuation.

(Shit. This was very long. I get carried away when talk is of Kannada films)

Parisarapremi said...

ಒಳ್ಳೇ ಮಜ ಇತ್ತು ಆ ಇಂಗ್ಲೀಷು. 'ಮಂಕಿ' ಅವರು ಹೇಳಿದ ಹಾಗೆ 'ಎರಡು ಕನಸು' ಇಂಗ್ಲೀಷ್ ಪಾಠ ಇನ್ನೂ ಮಜವಾಗಿದೆ. 'ಅನುರಾಗ ಅರಳಿತು' ಚಿತ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಸುಮಾರು ಐದು ನಿಮಿಷ ಸತತವಾಗಿ ಇಂಗ್ಲೀಷ್ ಡಯಲಾಗು ಇದೆ.

ಆದರೆ, ಬಹುಶಃ ನಾವು ಆಗ, ಆ generation ಅಲ್ಲಿದ್ದಿದ್ದರೆ ಇಷ್ಟ ಆಗುತ್ತಿತ್ತೇನೋ. ಎರಡುವರೆಕೋಟಿ ಜನ ಮುಟ್ಟಾಳರು ಇದ್ದರೇ? ನನಗೇನೋ ಅನುಮಾನ. ಆಗಿನ ಸಮಾಜ, ಆಗಿನ ಜನತೆ ಇದನ್ನು ಮೆಚ್ಚಿತ್ತು. ಇದನ್ನು ಕೇಳಿತ್ತು. ಆ ಚಿತ್ರಗಳು 'ಓಡಿಸಿದ್ದಲ್ಲ'. ವರ್ಷಾನುಗಟ್ಟಲೆ ಓಡಿದ್ದವು.

ಪ್ರಭಾಕರ್ ಕಥೆ ಸಕ್ಕತ್ ಮಜವಾಗಿ ಚಿತ್ರಿಸಿದ್ದೀರ. ಇಂಗ್ಲೀಷ್ ಇಲ್ಲದೆ ಪ್ರಭಾಕರ್ ಇಲ್ಲ ಅನ್ನೋದು ಇಂಗ್ಲೀಷರಿಗೂ ಗೊತ್ತಿರೋ ವಿಷಯ ಬಿಡಿ. "ಕಮಾನ್... ಐಯಾಮ್ ಟಾಯ್ಗರ್..." ಅಂತ ಅವನು ಹೇಳುತ್ತಿದ್ದುದು ಇನ್ನೂ ಕಿವಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಗುಯ್ಗುಟ್ಟುತ್ತಿದೆ.

ಇನ್ನೊಂದೇ ಒಂದು ವಿಷಯ ಬರೆಯಬಹುದಿತ್ತು. ಆ ಕಾಲದಲ್ಲಿ ಸೊಗಸಾದ ಇಂಗ್ಲಿಷನ್ನು ಬಳಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದ ಕೆಲವು ನಟರಿದ್ದರು. ಸಂಪತ್ ಅಂತ ಒಬ್ರು. ಇವರು ಪ್ರಭಾಕರ್‍ಗಿಂತ ಹೆಚ್ಚು ಇಂಗ್ಲಿಷನ್ನು ಬಳಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದರು. ಆದರೆ ಸೊಗಸಾಗಿರುತ್ತಿತ್ತು.

ಆಗ ಓದಿದವರು ಕಡಿಮೆ ಇದ್ದರು ನೋಡಿ. ಈಗ ಕಾಲ ಬದಲಾಗಿದೆ. ಚಿತ್ರರಂಗ ಬದಲಾಗಿದೆ. ಪ್ರೇಕ್ಷಕ ಬದಲಾಗಿದ್ದಾನೆ. ವಿಮರ್ಶಕ ಬದಲಾಗಿದ್ದಾನೆ. ನಾವು ಬದಲಾಗಿದ್ದೇವೆ. ಏನೇ ಆದರೂ ನಮ್ಮ "ಆ" ಚಿತ್ರಗಳನ್ನು ಪ್ರೀತಿಸುತ್ತೇವೆ.

The Paradox said...

Brilliant !!
waiting for part 3 ..

Arjun Sharma said...

[Arvind]Aww. Dude!

[Harish]He he, cinema theatre-u. Channagide. En visual hasya-no.

[Karthik D]Ah, the faded kumkum. How could I have forgotten that?! Slap on forehead and "Smack my bottom and call me a whore for forgetting that!" and all that. Thanks.

[Nisha]Thanks. Yes, having watched quite a lot of them in childhood, I have a scarred past now. This is my therapy. Sad thing is, no one'll pay me for it if I choose this as a career option. You know somebody?

[Wanderlust]Shh, don't out me now! They're all saying it was brilliant! Let me have my moment, please!

[Spunky Monkey]Haavina hede? I'm sorry. Of course, factual accuracy is the biggest concern when it comes to them old movies. "Djajjy" was brilliant. As was the mud-splashing scene. Neenantu namginta scarred childhood undergo maadidiya.

And dude. 'Woozy'? Really?

[Parisarapremi]'EraDoovare koTi jana muTTHaLariddare?'

Arun avare, tumba tempting aagide, idanna affirmative aagi answer maadakke!

Adalla, aagina tastes heegittu, adakke avaru maadtiddru annodu ashtu sariyalla. Janara tastes-na ivre eneno anta assume maadkondu, English-nalli maatadidre in-some-weird-unfathomable-way cool athva superior anta cinema-davru ankondiddru. Adu sakashtu heeyaLikege guriyagide, aagatakkaddu. Aa haLeya kaaladalle, BeeChi, Na Kasturi, ivarella eshtu saarvakaalika krutigaLanna rachisiddru. Cinema-dalle togondre, Kannadadalle 50s-nalli, 60s-nalli 'brilliant cinema' anno gay-sounding expression use maadi classify maaduvantha chitragaLanna tegeetiddru(Lagnapatrike, Bangalore Mail, HaNNele chiguridaga, Sandhyaraga etc). Adyaake ee English dhaati shuru aayto gottilla nange, especially in the 70s. Bidi, no regrets, we have an evergreen source of fun.

Prabhakar vishaya sakkatagi heliddira. Sampat-raddu ashte. Ivribbru andre aa Englishare hedrtiddru, houdu.

And you've hit the nail on the head again. Aa chitragalu andre namagiruva preeti, avugaLalli doreta maja, endigu naavu mareyalu sadhyave illa.

[The Paradox]Dude, that was it! Maybe we can have individual move send-ups next.

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