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Kamal Haasan weighs in on language debate: There is still more potential in the south for Hindi cinema to grow

Kamal Haasan also said that cinema has played a significant role in bringing people together.

  • OTTplay Team

Last Updated: 01.59 AM, May 29, 2022

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Kamal Haasan weighs in on language debate: There is still more potential in the south for Hindi cinema to grow
Raaj Kamal Films International/Instagram

The controversy over the imposition of Hindi over regional languages has raged for a long time, and cinema is no exception. The linguistic quarrel has now spilled over into movies. The increased box office success of South Asian films in Bollywood's heartland, Mumbai, and other non-southern regions has sparked passionate debates online and off. It seems like Bollywood's dominance as a reliable moneymaker, both domestically and internationally, has waned as a result of its recent box office numbers. It looks like the South market is now attempting to increase its share of the pie. The discussion is about South cinema's growing popularity becoming a threat to Hindi films' market share.

At a press conference in Mumbai, Kamal Haasan addressed the ongoing controversy. The veteran actor marked his presence in the city to promote his new flick, Vikram, which also stars Fahadh Faasil and Vijay Sethupathi. 

As per the Times of India, Haasan remarked emphatically that films speak the global language. The film language is a distinct language in and of itself. India is a country that is both diverse and united. Many may disagree on various issues and speak different languages, but all proudly sing the national anthem. The actor said that even though none of the people in the south speak Bengali, they proudly sing the national song. That's the only Bengali they've ever heard of.

Haasan also said that we used to be princely states but the sensibility connected people, and we seem to have forgotten how tough it was to bring it all together. He shared that cinema has played a significant role in bringing people together. The only place where one doesn't check the caste or community of the man sitting next to them is at a movie theatre. They receive their tickets and get their entertainment. He believed that's how the country should be. 

Haasan added that when someone says "south ka film successful ho raha hai," they are referring to an Indian film rather than a Hollywood one. It makes no difference where in the country it is produced. Mughal-E-Azam and Sholay taught them how to make big movies.

The Vishwaroopam actor further stated that those budgets were so large that Tamil and Malayalam films couldn't compete. When Sholay was released, numerous Tamil filmmakers stated that they would never allow Hindi films to be released in their state because they could never produce something like that. They just happened to notice them, and Mughal-E-Azam required not only intelligence but also bravery, thus it took decades for the movie to be made. 

Haasan concluded by saying that he has worked with the creators of Sholay in Sagar, and he never imagined he would be able to meet, let alone collaborate with them. They need to be able to communicate with one another and respect one another. It doesn't matter what language a film is in if you enjoy it, as films have no language.

Haasan made Hey Ram in two distinct languages, Hindi and Tamil while speaking of reaching out to a wider audience. There were no language differences because he penned the Tamil dialogues and Manohar Shyam Joshi wrote the Hindi dialogues. In the south, Hindi cinema still has a lot of room to flourish. The linguistic barrier is the reason this isn't happening, and they need to figure out how to overcome it and reach out. Hindi films are commonly seen in the South, despite the linguistic barrier. All of this politicization of language will occur, but artists and athletes will be the ones to shatter it.

For a Tamilian in Paramakudi, Tamil Nadu, where they don't know a single Hindi word but Tendulkar is the sole Marathi word they can speak, Sachin Tendulkar is a hero.

Vikram is slated for release on June 3, 2022.

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