December 19, 2011

And it Happened...

So. I think I remember the night now. The night I cried for the fate of the Telugu Language, the night I came to know about the concept of dubbing, and the night that forever changed my perspective of Telugu movies. I'm willing to bet the movie was one of the classics of those eras, either Gharshana or Maro Charitra or some such like, and I distinctlyremember this, crying to my little self at that time, "but I am only 5 years old!'' And here's why.

We were returning from seeing the movie at the town theatre, and were going back to our village. In a tonga, mind you, because autorickshaws hadn't yet hit the scene by then. I AM that old. It was me, my mother, my aunt her sister, and probably my brother and two or all three of my cousins. And the discussion had turned to how well the dubbing was done, or instead how well the other movie had been dubbed! and so on. Intrigued that they were talking about the same movie that I had just seen, and not understanding what exactly, I asked innocently what dubbing was. And I was explained at that age, how movies were dubbed, remade, and essentially copy pasted onto another Language. My simple mind couldn't have understood then, but what I suspect I found aghast, at even that tender age, was the idea that Languages and Cultures weren't one-to-one in the aspect (relation) of influence they have on each other. I couldn't comprehend. Why would we need to steal ideas from other cultures or languages? Couldn't we make our own Telugu movies so well? What could we be lacking in, that would lead us to consider other languages greater than our own? I was outraged. I wept. I wept for Telugu, the Language and the Culture both, the latter as especially manifested in movies.

I wept at the shredding of my innocence, and cried out mentally to the powers that be, ``but I'm only 5!'' Why would you do such a thing to me, universe? I wept so hard that I was relegated to sit beside the driver, as I was making too much of a racket inside the cab. Which is why that thought stuck to me, and even at 5 yrs, I was well made aware of my ingenue in matters concerning others than bats and balls. Which could probably also have contributed to my aversion towards all things concerning physical sports, but that is another story and I digress.

Putting that in perspective, I hope one can well understand why I have had a healthy distrust in both Telugu and Telugu movies until the age of 18, when I left home for the first time. Things have changed now, and I am a strong believer again in Telugu (both movies and the language), but that transformation has not come about overnight, nor easily. I have only come to understand later, the idea that a language's love is like a mother's love, nourishing and nurturing. Ironically after leaving home and motherland (AP). Or maybe not as ironic as all that, seeing as we all miss our moms only after leaving our homes.

And I have realized all this only now, when I am 27 years old, and tripping through old memories. Trying to make some sense of myself and my apparent contradictions. Yes, I do appreciate even dubbed movies now, only because I realize now that Languages and Cultures can never remain one-to-one, Geography permitting. Human indeed is a social animal, and the dubbing of movies from various mother tongues to hindi or vice versa*, is but as symbolic in emotion as a friendly neighbour saying "Good Day!". To quote Donne clichedly,

"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the Sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a Promontory were, as well as a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.''

Geography willing, no man or language or culture can remain an island, entire of itself. (Examples of untouched unexplored virgin native cultures come to mind, because they have remained resident in unexplored and remote islands). And so I come to understand that yet another facet of myself, that I had heretofore considered contradictory, was not really one. As I have a love/hate relationship with the language, so do I with the movies. The case remains though, of my love for English (both, language and movies), and what kind of a relationship I have with Hindi.

*Yes, I do not still consider Hindi a proper mother tongue. Hindi tongue seems to me to be but an amalgamation of so many different bols and urdu. Representative as may be of the people, as much a republic State is of all the states that reside in it.
**Some parts above are fictitious. :D


Gururaj said...

Memory of childhood seemed suspicious until I saw the disclaimer :p

my take: Everything is a khichdi. Some are overcooked, some undercooked

Gururaj said...

Moderation :O
Kapil Sabil fellow!!!