Usage of Urdu in Bollywood has reduced: Tigmanshu Dhulia

Filmmaker blames the downfall of Urdu in to the trend of remaking South Indian movies, which began in 1980s.

The “Paan Singh Tomar” director said 80s’ was the era when cinema, in totality, suffered.

“Usgae of Urdu has reduced in Bollywood. It actually started in 1980 when Hindi cinema actually faced the downfall,” he said on the sidelines of Jashn-e-Rekhta 2016, a fest celebrating Urdu.

“Theatre was dwindling, veteran musician like R D Burman had stopped composing and we were remaking South Indian films. People were going less to theatres…,” the filmmaker added.

Tigmanshu, who was addressing a session on “Urdu in Films Past and Presnt”, said Hindi movies have completely taken a U-turn post 80s’ and directors starting making films for NRI audience.

“Post liberalisation, a new hero emerged — Shah Rukh Khan. Market for Bombay-set films has increased. We started making films for NRI audience and thereby introduced more nuances of Gujarati and Punjabi. Suddenly our films have lost its culture. We started pleasing those characters, where there is no demarcation on social strata,” he said.

Also present for the discussion were director Imtiaz Ali and noted scriptwriter Javed Siddiqui.

Ali, who chose the title of his last film “Tamasha” from one of the poems of Mirza Ghalib, said his addiction towards the language started since his childhood days.

“I have grown up listening to Begum Akhtar. I used to find it boring in my younger days… And now, when I do something, I immediately go back to that phase. My work reflects the influences from Ghalib and Faiz. There are many things, which I try to hide but it automatically reflects,” he said.

Ali said whenever there is a need to express mushy emotions, Urdu is apt for it.

“It’s difficult to present sensitive feelings. I have noticed one thing, when there is a need to express soft feelings, Urdu naturally comes to a lyricist’s mind. So, that’s how Urdu becomes a powerful weapon to express such soft feelings.”

Siddiqui feels Urdu is evolving over the period of time and the language is also receptive towards the new vocabulary.

“Many new words have been introduced to Urdu now and the new vocabulary has also been accepted by the language. These new words have also become an integral part.

“Few days ago, I was writing a script for a film and I had to make my grandson sit next to me to know the kind of vocabulary these guys use.