28 October, 2020

Nasreen Munni Kabir

Author and documentary filmmaker on her book The Dialogue of the Film ‘Mother India’

Nasreen Munni Kabir

Why Mother India?

To encourage readers to read a book of dialogue, one cannot choose a film that’s obscure and isn’t a history-maker in its own right.

How important is the dialogue of an old film in the form of a book?

The book has an extended commentary and provides much information on the film. Imagine, there’s not a single filmed interview of Mehboob Khan who died as late as 1964.

Why is archiving necessary?

We owe it to future generations. We can watch Shakespeare’s plays on stage today because they were available in book form.

What was unique about the language then?

The mix of Avadhi and Hindustani.

How was the dialogue reflective of its time?

Dialogue rings true only when it’s authentic to the time the film is set. For example, Radha’s dialogue about the sanctity of a woman’s honour would be phrased very differently today.




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