A disastrous trend continues in Odisha’s film industry. ‘Idiot’, ‘Bad Girl’, ‘Good Boy’, ‘Nandini I Love You’, and now ‘Love Master’ – these are all Odia movies with English titles. As if our people promptly reject a movie that comes with its title in Odia. As if ‘Idiot’ fetched more revenue just because of its English title, and ‘Bokka’ (the word Idiot in Odia) would not have done that.
Last time when I raised this issue on Facebook group, I got such filthy responses that I had to ignore the comment chain. What was appalling was that most of the people in the discussion were Odias (due respect), with disastrous English skills who cyber-bullied the daylights out of me for motives I am yet to decipher. It is a pretty tough call to make out if the moviegoers in Odisha have developed such a taste for themselves that they need the titles only in English even when the movies are in Odia. It is certainly more or less like flaunting a Parker ball pen, only with a Cello Gripper refill inside. But for those who are Odias to the core, this anglicizing trend is disgusting. And truly so!
English might be the lingua franca of success, so what? Does that mean we can ignore our mother tongue that has shaped our thoughts and that of our ancestors? We must not. Many a time I have seen Odia movie directors on TV channels almost begging the audiences to see the new movie which they have come to promote. They do so because the viewership of Odia movies has been fast losing momentum for many reasons, the blatant pseudo-pirating of scripts of movies from other regional languages being one. And in many of these cases, the hosts of such programs have been generous enough not to ask those directors about this question of English titles for Odia movies. I know not what business strategy they follow to garner profit from their projects. What I certainly know is that they have scant regard for their mother tongue. Else why the sham philosophy? Odia movie, English title?
Let us take a nice example for this case. Keeping in mind the linguistic sensibilities of the general people, the Tamil Nadu government passed legislation a few years back instructing film-makers to title their films only and only in the local language to avail attractive rebates on the payment of entertainment taxes. The state government and the Industry biggies, please take note!
People, I for one, do not pick a movie only by its title. In fact, that hardly is an important thing to consider while deciding to go to a movie. The cast and crew, the script, the music and songs – these factors play a major role. So shouldn’t we regret that the stalwarts of Odia cinema industry, who boast of contributing so heavily to it, are ignorant of this disastrous trend? The sooner they start caring for their mother tongue, the better.
Contributed by: Arun Dash
Arun works as a technical writer for a Hyderabad based MNC.