Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Mind it, I say!
Mind it! Quick Gun Murugan might be the next funniest thing to hit Bollywood, but to someone like me, I’m not too sure that’s good humour anymore. In what seems to be a trend these days, television and the ad industry are cashing in on the supposed South Indian accent, and making loads of money at the expense of ridiculing a community. What’s wrong in that you say? Well, to begin, let’s talk about the concept. The idea of a South Indian accent, as has been endorsed so brilliantly by Bollywood over the last few decades, is a farce. I will agree that there might have been something similar that was spoken, which in turn was exaggerated beyond recognition into the ugly sounding parlance that is now passed off as South-Indian-speak. Why is that wrong you say? Well, it’s wrong because it’s factually incorrect, as factually incorrect as another existing notion that all Sardarji’s are stupid. The accents in the South are as interesting as accents get. Often as students of language, one cannot but marvel at the way these accents have evolved. Take for example phrases like, ‘Simply Adjust Maadi’ – a phrase that defines a whole generation and the ideology it stands for. Or for example the interesting ‘Tanglish’ (Tamil-English) words that have no English equivalent. I mean can the much-researched process of roaming around an area that houses one’s ‘heartbeat’ be more eloquently expressed than with the usage of the word ‘Suththify’? It’s just a joke, why take it so seriously, you ask? Well, I agree at some point it was funny. The days of the ‘ek chathura-naar’ being the funniest song on television have long gone and the accent that’s supposedly South-Indian over done with half a dozen Mithunda movies. Sridevi actually has a natural South-Indian accent and had to put on a fake, more identifiable South Indian accent for ‘Malini Iyer.’ Who even does that and more importantly why? Lola Kutty is funny and thankfully she’s appreciated for her sense of humour that is only made funnier with the Malabar-Twang, but cross your heart and swear that you’ve only heard Malayalis speak with that far-fetched accent? It’s not like movies haven’t ridiculed accents in good taste! Read ‘Thenali’ or the more recent ‘Dasavathaaram,’ where Kamal Hassan pulled off a brilliant Telugu accent, that was appreciated by several Telugites themselves. Shah Rukh Khan trying to be all South-Indian and funny on the other hand, the lesser said the better. Yes, all the North Indians in the theatre laughed their heads off, while one half of the South-Indians giggled just to please the crowd and the others, like me, swore that Bollywood was the last thing we’d turn to for comedy. Believe me that was a choice well taken. Rajnikanth might be an icon and his way of speaking at times hilarious. What Bollywood fails to realise is that South-India is evolving into a far prouder demographic. We love the way we are and some of us even see sense in our peculiarities, for good reason. With such a wave of newfound self-respect and love, Quick Gun Murugan might not be the best movie for us to be so excited about. Yes, we’ll still watch it and yes we’ll enjoy it, but that’s only cause we don’t mind laughing at ourselves and of course, Bollywood – will they ever get it? But for those of you who are planning to laugh in ridicule, all I’m going to say is – Mind it!