It arrived, captured and dropped us; leaving us dumbstruck as well as confused... Yet 'Chennai Express' has been a colourful explosion of entertainment, masti, mazedaar action, paisa vasool and last but not the least... out of the brain limits.. You would have enjoyed it no doubt; fabulous pairing, amusing situations, lovely songs; but somewhere in the corner of the mind a question would have flashed - What were they speaking???
Every one of you (in the north) would have that "Madrasi" classmate, friend, colleague or neighbour.. (Sorry don't want to sound biased, but that's how the South people have always been referred to by non-South speaking people and especially over-hyped by cinema). But has it ever struck you that they are speaking poor Hindi in that funny slang which we usually hear in films or serials? Of course, the real people would have sound normal.
In fact, they (the south) would be mostly speaking quite clean and clear Hindi than the people living in Mumbai, UP, Bihar or any other place in North - giving the fact that there is Mumbaiya slang, Bihari slang or Bengali or any other.. In states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu, people have come far ahead than the 'Ekk Duje Ke Liye' era where now they have come forward to take special Hindi classes (Thanks to courses offered by Hindi Prachaar Sabha) and learn to speak grammatically correct language. Then why our films are still uneducated? Why such mockery?
Way back, Mehmood played a Tamil Butler in 'Gumnaam' and Tamil Music Teacher in 'Padosan' - both the characters have been popular and iconic in the actor's film list. 'Agneepath' (1990) had Mithun Chakraborty playing Krishnan Iyer M.A. But films don't seem to have outgrown of that time frame. Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Rekha, Hema Malini, R.Madhavan, Vidya Balan to name a few are south origins; but can we hear that south accent in them? Are they so funny or sound amusing like how Sridevi was in portrayed in tele-serial Malini Iyer?
But cinema has not lost it completely.. One has to give it to Dibakar Banerjee for sparing Abhay Deol playing the stereotyped Tamilian. In his film 'Shanghai' (2012) Deol features the character of T.A Krishnan and sounds impressive while speaking Hindi. Even it can be remembered Preity Zinta's Malayalee character in 'Dil Se' did justice to the role. She was not made to have that south slang in her dialogues. Uff, we have been spared by Balaji's blockbuster production - 'The Dirty Picture' - going by the storyline and its location setting, had the makers stuck to sound authentic and asked the actors to speak with Tamil slang; then guess the film would not had got such star status. Even in latest 'Raanjhanaa' Dhanush did a commendable job given the fact it was his first Hindi film and he had been very new to the language.
Then why Rohit Shetty, you made the gorgeous Deepika Padukone look like a Tamil lady clown speaking such funny Hindi with poor grammar.. "Kick Maarthi?" Even when a real Tamilian makes mistake, within few conversations they would rectify the way they speak Hindi especially in terms of gender usage..! It's especially strange when such absurdities come from a filmmaker who himself is from south - a Mangalorean. Oh we all love Rohit Shetty films given the fact the amount of laughter and entertainment doses he throws up with fantastic casting coup. But had it he given some thought about the South sensibilities, his 'Chennai Express' would have not been target of several punches showered by lingo critics.
Next, where in these modern age girls in south wear the perfect half saree (dhawani) like how Deepika had been the picture perfect lady in the film... (Ok, leave alone those village girls or extreme conservative ones) Given the fact she was running away, wouldn't it have been sensible had her character worn a simple salwar-kameez? Another fact, south includes Tamilian, Malayalees, Telugus, Kannadigas, Tulus among others. Leave alone the language, each of these have different location settings, and dressing styles..
Then why was Deepika shown wearing a traditional Kerala (white) saree when she and SRK were staying in a typical Tamilian family (to escape her father's men)? From where did Kalaripayattu and Kathakali dancers come into the song of "Kashmir Mein Tu Kanyakumari"..? When the cast is bang on in middle of Tamil Nadu? Moreover, a man who is hailed as stylish screen icon, how come Rajini given such a tribute song "Lungi Dance" ?
Aw come on, grow up, movies? Audiences have grown up, situations have changed!!
Still, if all these have been done in the name of entertainment and to stick to the comedy genre; then it would be as similar to considering all Punjabis as the popular, comic Sardarji characters Santa-Banta.
Now one has to wait for Sajid Nadiawala and Karan Johar's venture '2 States' to see how the leading lady (Alia Bhatt) has been portrayed since she comes from a Tamil background.
But in the end, East or West; North Or South - Its cinema hall that brings everyone under one roof; no matter who they are... And keeping aside all the logic fundas, the on screen ride of 'Chennai Express' has been a super-duper journey of entertainment... Enna, right aa?