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Nothing to clap about

entertainment Updated: Aug 18, 2008 20:02 IST
Vajir Singh

Kya dialogue maara! Heard anyone saying that of late? No line of movie dialogue has become a part of the everyday lexicon of late. Sure, a dialogue quote or phrase is used for a few weeks, but even before the movie is out of the multiplexes, so is its quote value, writes Vajir Singh.

Film historians looking at the larger picture affirm that movie dialoguebaazi is a part of our popular culture. Cutting across all classes and age groups, everyone is familiar with Amjad Khan’s Kitney aadmi the? even though the blockbuster was released more than three decades ago. Amitabh Bachchan may have done as many as 170 films. But he is still identified with that gruff throw, “Rishtey main to hum tumhare baap lagte hain, aur naam hai Shahenshah.”

In Deewaar, Shashi Kapoor silenced the wealth-flaunting Bachchan with the crisp, “Mere paas maa hai.” Patriarch Prithviraj Kapoor continues to be associated with the Mughal-e-Azam squelcher, “Anarkali, Salim ki mohabbat tumhe marne nahin degi aur hum tumhe jeene nahin denge.”

Claps and whistles still resound in the auditorium at the epic movie’s re-runs. The imperial dialogue from Jodhaa-Akbar just doesn’t compare. Of late, let’s see what has been quote-worthy? Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na had Manjari Phadnis’s catchline “What’s that?” Its director and writer Abbas Tyrewalla had earlier given Sanjay Dutt Bole to in the Munnabhai series. Javed Jaffery, who often ad libs, came up with Sorry.. Eggjactly for Salaam Namaste.

Discuss the dialogue scenario with director Ramesh Sippy and he says, “Youngsters today certainly don’t talk the way they used to 20-30 years ago. Their vocabulary is faster and more to the point.With time, I’m sure the lines of dialogue will get even simpler.”

Agrees trade analyst Vikas Mohan: “Dialogue doesn’t register with the audience any more because today films just run for three or four weeks. It was in the 1970s and ’80s that we saw the last of the great silver and golden jubilee runs.”

With time Javed Akhtar who has penned numerous unforgettable lines, remarks “Our society’s lingo has changed and so has the dialogue. Today, commercial cinema is primarily catering to the metros.. so forget Hindustani.. today the language that’s spoken in our movies is Hinglish.”

Around three years ago, FCBUlka’s Cogita Consulting, had conducted a research on movie dialogue to discover that films of this millennium didn’t figure at all on the top 10 dialoguebaazi list. Sanjay Masoom, dialogue writer of Jannat, states, “Now we try to write dialogue that will touch the viewer’s heart.

Earlier, the characters would be larger than life.. today relatively speaking, they have become more real. Dialogue has to avoid bombast today and remain to the point. Also, earlier dialogue was written keeping the actor in mind but not anymore.

Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar and Sanjay Dutt are very colloquial and casual in their dialogue delivery.”

No credit
Masoom complains that the dialogue writer is not given his deserved status: “Jannat became a hit because of its superb songs, it is said by all. But how about giving the writer his due also? Not many know that the dialogue was written by me.”

Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra believes, “Good dialogue emanates from a film’s subject. If I had put Mogambo khush hua in Rang De Basanti, it would have been a farce. The characters have to speak in keeping with the ambience created for them by the script. Believe me, that’s the bottomline.”