Saturday, August 30, 2008

Err...what was that?

Pollywood mein aapka aubhagat karte hain ji or Pollywood vich aapda swagath hain ji

The first sentence is the result of word to word translation from English to Punjabi online (did you know you have to pay if you have to translate entire sentences into Punjabi?) The second sentence is the sum total of the Punjabi I have learnt from watching Bollywood movies. Here are some more sentences I know.

Sadde naal ravange tho aish karoge
God Tussi Great ho
Chakde phatte
rab mainnu maaf kare
Gali de munde and sheher di kudiyaan
alu paratha aur sarson da saag and lassi malaiwala

Except for the last sentence everything else is from Bollywood. The last one is courtesy my friendly neighboorhood punjabi dhaba run by renjit chettan. Needless to say I don't know what most of those sentences mean (excpet for the last one of course) but the opening sentence of this post is meant to say "Welcome to Pollywood." I don't know if that's what it ultimately says.

Oh wait I do know what Chak De India means. (though still have no clue about the chak de phatte deal) When the movie released I was mighty confused as to why a hockey based movie is titled "forget it India." I honestly thought chak de means forget it. I assumed they were asking us to collectively forget about hockey (which we pretty much have but that's besides the point) Anyways while the whole world and its uncle was going ga ga over the movie, I happened to discuss it with some women journos at the press club. And there was one Delhiite (who's lived long enough in Bangalore to take offence to bad Masala Dosa at a certain darshini) enlightened me that chak de didn't mean forget it but buck up! That was a big Aha moment for me! The whole movie was put to perspective in that instant.

Let me tell you one more little story before I come to my point. Do you remember that horrendous movie called "Veer Zaara?" I was in Madurai back then and we invariably watched any movie that was running in "Maappillai Vinayagar" theatre every weekend (no movie ran for more than a week in that theatre) so one friday we went there and we saw veer zaara was running. Yes, they do run hindi movies sometimes, probably the only theatre that did so. And sometimes I don't blame them. The goddamn movie was bad, no doubt but to add insult to injury half of it was in Punjabi. I didn't understand most of what Amitabh was screaming. Neither did the other 13 people in the theatre or that Gujarati family of 19. (they were passing dabbas of dokhla, everytime they got bored of the movie and there was plenty of dokhlas that day). V was so furious that for the first time ever he was screaming in the theatre. "I didn't pay to watch a Punjabi movie!"

That was ok because the highest we paid for a ticket was Rs 30/- at Maappillai Vinayagar (I must be crazy to move out of that city you say?) But when we pay 170 - 250 and go to the theatre in Bangalore and end up not understanding the film; It is mighty pissing off to say the least.

I have nothing against Punjab or Punjabis. I love their parathas, lassi ,tandoori chicken and Bhangra. But just for that I have to learn the language? That is NOT FAIR. We don't hand out "learn Kannada in 90 minutes" along with every masala dosa we dish out, do we?

I was watching Bachna...recently and the part with Kunal Kapoor (he's delectable :) is entirely in Punjabi. In a theatre full of people only a handful were laughing, while the rest were wondering why the hell they were laughing. Yes, the script demanded it, he's a punjabi she's a punjabi all that I get. Then use your friggin money and put subtitles! Even the french put subtitles when they screen here.

Why is Punjabi the rage in Bollywood? A friend of mine thinks it is because of Manmohan Singh. I doubt that very much. Is it that Punjabi population is so high that only they watch it? Then make a punjabi movie with bollywood fellows no. Oh but that won't work. Remember how when Juhi Chawla acted in some Punjabi film with Gurdaas Mann they said her career in bollywood was over?

But then however huge the punjabi population is, it can't be more than Karnataka, Andhra, Maharashtra, Bihar and MP put together is it? (I am picking these states because I have first hand information that they most certainly watch a lot of hindi movies)

Even the Ads are in Punjabi these days! Have you seen the new Amir Khan ad of Tata Sky. I only understood Tata Sky from that ad. Guess that's the point eh? The essence matters. Language doesn't.

In that case, "Mittars, punjabis and des de munde" ("Friends, romans and country men" people c'mon) please shove off Bollywood and welcome to Pollywood.

Rab mainnu maaf kare!


Chaggoholic.... said...

Rab hi tuhannu bacchae. Loads mentioned on Punjabi and ppl not understandin a thing.Well same happened to ppl who went for Sivaji and cudnt understand a thing.I guess its about understanding and appreciatin the culture and then partly accepting the language....

Abhipraya said...


Sivaji was a Tamil film! You will watch it only if you either you understand the language or are a fan of the superstar (in which case language is irrelevant)

Punjabi in "Bollywood" films is not the same.

Kannan said...

Don't worry Abhipraya. There is a glimmer of hope for you. Of NDTV's story is to be believed, most of the regional languages in India is become endangered, and you know what Punjabi tops the list from North India. (But don't you think there is an easy solution? Avoid all Hindi films you wont miss anything.)

Santosh said...

I agree There is so much of overload of panju and north in the hindi films.. its like assumed the whole of india should fall in line !

Like till i saw Hum aapke hai kaun.. I had no idea "juta chuppana' was supposed to be such a big thing and since then i see it even in south indian weddings :) And What to say about Karva chatuh :) Raab mainu bhi maaf kare :o)