Follow Us:
Sunday, July 22, 2018

Multilingual entertainment

Indian film industry is replicating the Hollywood model of telling stories with universal appeal in many different languages both within and outside India. Soundarya R Ashwin’s Kochadaiiyaan, starring Rajinikanth is being touted as one that could be a gamechanger

Written by Priyanka Sinha Jha | Mumbai | Updated: April 3, 2014 1:10:28 pm
Rajinikanth, the warrior in Kochadaiiyaan Rajinikanth, the warrior in Kochadaiiyaan

Guess who came to town recently? Rajinikanth, that’s who. The occasion was an event to introduce the Hindi version of Kochadaiiyaan to the media, for it to be relayed to the larger audiences around the country. The animation motion-capture film, reportedly, India’s first in that space is going to be released in English, Japanese, besides Bhojpuri, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Punjabi. Quite evidently, the opening up of regional markets within India has encouraged film-makers, till now content within their pocket borough, to come up with films that can find themselves a wider audience within India and beyond. Hindi films have been experimenting with the same, exploring world markets along with regional markets within India.
The Lunchbox, which fetched Irrfan an award for the Best Actor at the recently concluded The Asian Film Awards considered to be Asia’s Oscars is a fine example of an Indian film that can travel around the world. With a healthy mix of English and Hindi and a universal story of urbane loneliness, the film has succeeded in finding itself takers around the world. Kites, an international experiment with Hindi and English versions, failed to impress, even though its collections were sizeable. But it marked a beginning.
Mani Ratnam’s Raavan, Binoy Thomas’s David, Kamal Haasan’s Vishwaroopam have been steps in a similar direction with simultaneous releases in multiple languages within India. The successful remakes of South Indian hits in Hindi and other regional languages (Bangla, for instance) and remakes of Hindi films in south languages has also given a shot in the arms to such experiments. Indian studios in particular—in this case Eros International Media Ltd.—that are facing stiff competition from international studios (Disney, Paramount, Sony and Star Fox among others) are now exploring possibilities. Reliance Entertainment and Yash Raj Films are doing it too —Yash Raj Films just produced a Tamil version of its own production—Band Baaja Baaraat titled Aaha Kalyanam with mixed results.
Television, too has not been far behind. Besides adapting foreign show formats like 24, Bigg Brother (Bigg Boss) ,Who Wants to be a Millionaire (Kaun Banega Crorepati), Ugly Betty (Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi) Are you Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? (Kya Aap Paanchvi Paas Se Tezz Hain) and others like Satyamev Jayate have had simulcasts in a variety of regional languages to get entertainment across the country. According to media reports, Satyamev… was the most widely watched show. So much so that they even flagged off a second season soon after.
Such experiments clearly are a necessity. If Indian cinema has to survive the onslaught of the west, it is important for the industry to channel its unique strengths, be up to speed on the technical front and create wares suitable for the world market. And what better way forward than replicate the Hollywood model of relaying a universally entertaining idea through a variety of languages?
Kochadaiiyaan, clearly, is a step in that direction, straddling both domestic and international markets. And with Rajinikanth as the lead, it appears to have more than enough reason to succeed.

For all the latest Entertainment News, download Indian Express App