Arre O’ Samba!
SANGEETHA DEVI DUNDOO
‘Aag’ hits the screens today, but without all of the immortal lines of ‘Sholay’. We take a look at dialogues that have outlived their films in the recent times – from Mumbaiyya one-liners to Urdu couplets.
Smart talk Stills from ‘’Aag’
Aag, what Ram Gopal Varma calls as his “interpretation of Sholay,” releases today. When Amitabh Bachchan takes centre stage as Babban Singh, the audience will pitch him against late Amjad Khan’s character of Gabbar.
For many, watching Sholay is a karaoke experience. Having memorised the dialogues (Salim-Javed), the Sholay faithfuls would join Dharmendra in echoing “Kuttey mein tera koon peejaoonga,” or Amjad Khan in “Kitne Aadmi The?” Varma’s Aag, on the other hand, will tear away from the original and according to Varma, will not replicate all of the immortal lines. “My film is a tribute to Sholay and not a remake. Babban is an exotic looking, larger-than-life villain and is as dangerous as Gabbar. But the way he speaks will be different,” reasons Varma.
Don – the chase begins
Keep it short
Munna Bhai MBBS
“Which film’s dialogues have stayed in public memory in the last 15 years?” asks Amitabh Bachchan, talking to Friday Review. If Shah Rukh Khan as Don is widely heard on ringtones and ringback ton
es of mobile phone users declaring “Don ko pakhadna mushkil hi nahin, namumkin hai,” that too cuts back to Amitabh Bachchan’s original Don (dialogues by Salim-Javed again) in 1978. Amitabh reasons t
hat the emphasis on dialogues has changed over the years. “This is the age of fast food; everything has to be precise and concise. If your laptop takes a few minutes to boot, you want to replace the hard disk. There’s no time for redundancy and rhetoric. We have to cater to this generation of youngsters. On the other hand, films in the 50s to the 80s emphasised on the written word,” he says.
The written word still rules, and blends to suit different contexts. Mumbaiyya language saw a revival thanks to Munna Bhai and Arshad Warsi. “Even today, many people on the streets call me ‘maamu.’ Mu
nna Bhai MBBS and Lage Raho Munna Bhai spoke in a language that people could relate to. It’s needless to add that only when the story, the concept and the film succeed, people remember the dialogues,” points out actor
A stark departure from Don, Aag and Munna Bhai are films like Fanaa and Rang De Basanti. An easy blend of Urdu and Hindi hooked the younger lot to Fanaa. An
d Rang De Basanti (dialogues by Prasoon Joshi and Rensi D’Silva) made both ‘masti ki pathshaala’ and ‘Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna’ anthems for many a revolution across colle
ges. “Before RDB, I had planned to make another film on freedom fighters who preferred the sword to the pen. We got groups of youngsters in Delhi and Mumbai and discussed at length about the freedom movement and what they thought of the country. It was clear that they weren’t interested. I understood that I had to juxtapose the old with the new. This reflects in every aspect of the film – from the screen play to the dialogues and lyrics in songs. We needed Sarfaroshi ki tamanna as much as Roobaroo and Masti ki paathshala,” says Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra.
In the film, Su, the Brit youngster, watches in dismay as Siddharth and his friends read lines from her script – Azadi meri dulhan hai – and chuckle “what’s his (Bhagat Singh) problem? Who speaks like this?” Of course, the brat pack undergoes a sea change and get into the spirit of the roles of the freedom fighters. Lines from the Bhagvad Gita echo in the background as the freedom fighters endure their days of torment in prison.
Rang De Basanti
Fanaa, meanwhile, is a throw back to the days of the shayari. Among the many quoted in the film, “Tere dil mein meri saason ko panaah mil jaye, tere ishq mein meri jaan fanaa ho jaye,”
remains the most popular. In Shaan’s voice, Subhanallah also became an anthem.
Lyricist and writer Javed Akhtar explains, “Don and Sholay captured the youngsters with smart one-liners. The other films presented couplets that were easy for the younger lot to understand. Many youngsters
cannot differentiate between Hindi and Urdu. They assume that what they can understand easily is Hindi and what takes them some time to decipher is Urdu. There is no clear boundary between spoken Urdu and Hindi. In many films and songs, what is used is neither pure Hindi nor Urdu. It’s Hindustani.”
And we’ll get to see more of this blend when Ashutosh Gowarikar’s Akbar-Jodha opens later this year with Hrithik and Aishwarya Rai.
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