05 August, 2021

Queen’s Gambit

Why is the Malayali thinking more in the saayip’s tongue, at least when it comes to movie names?

Queen’s Gambit
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

It was the late ’80s and in college, a couple of Bihari friends once accosted me in the hostel corridor. They were planning a ‘noon show’ run and wanted to know if a certain Mallu film, Heart for Hire, would be worth the gas and the eight kilometre ride to town. Now Heart for Hire (a literal translation of Vadakakku Oru Hridayam, a purported ‘social’ which had the heavenly Jayabharati in the lead and touched on themes like erectile dysfunction and adultery) turned out to be a little too “innocent” for their liking, but the incongruous English title did tickle the funny bone for a while.

Now, 25 years later it’s Malayalam cinema itself which is vexed over the issue, and it’s not translations: the titles themselves are in English. The Malayali is thinking more in the saayip’s tongue, at least when it comes to movie names. And the state is thinking of closing the gate on it: no more subsidies for the saayips. Now in God’s own country, where everything’s up for...

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