Cinema promotes medley of dialects

Cinema promotes medley of dialects

Under the starry sky in the amphitheatre, author Mayank Shekhar sits as a moderator among known personalities, namely,  – actors Saurabh Shukla and Vinay Pathak and screenwriters Sanjay Chouhan and Anusha Rizvi.

Shekhar asks them questions in English, the panellists reply to them in Hinglish and later the audience participates in the discussion in different dialects.
While one would think that the evening must have been quite dramatic, the session in progress was titled ‘Kahaani Filmi Nahin Hai’!
The literary session conducted as part of ‘Samanvay: IHC Indian Languages festival 2014’ was, needless to say, houseful due to the presence of popular personalities. It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that the space that different languages get in literature can probably be compared with only cinema in India. Also the impact of both literature and cinema on the masses is well known. Therefore the addition of a session on the writing practices in the film industry was quite justified.

While the actors shared their life and starting years in the film industry, the screenwriters spoke out about the challenges that a writer faces due to the pressure of the film producers. Sanjay Chouhan (co-writer of Paan Singh Tomar) narrated anecdotes of financers asking him to replicate successful films from other countries such as Korea, Spain and France.

Shukla supported him with incidents from his life. While Rizvi (of Peepli (Live) fame) brought the aspect of women working behind the camera to the fore, Pathak mentioned about the onset of a new era for small budget films post Bheja Fry.

One of the pertinent questions raised by the moderator was – ‘Why isn’t there focus on writing in Hindi films?’ which lead the panellists to discuss about the changed concept of Hindi film Hero from what it was in 70s and 80s and the changing image of Heroine in the present. The debate on art cinema vs commercial cinema remained a favourite through most of the session’s duration. But between all this, Chouhan as a scriptwriter somewhere mentioned, “At times I feel I am a character in (Gabriel García) Márquez’s novel living in magical realism.”

The statement is an eye-opener for the audience which   is highly influenced by Hindi cinema and the unforgettable characters that it creates.

But amidst these serious talks one finds it difficult to focus on the question of ‘language’ which was supposed to be explored through this discussion. More so, because the basis of the festival is languages and one feels that nothing should disturb the organisers from concentrating on the real agenda, even if it is cinema!

Many other sessions through the four days that the festival ran were organised under the theme of ‘Bhashantar Deshantar: Translation Transnation’ and focussing on Indian languages which have a transnational presence. Each had its own audience which enjoyed debating on the issues that the Indian languages face at present.

To sum up, the high octane sessions were performances in different genres (classical, folk and even dastangoi) to soothe the literally charged minds in late evenings.    

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