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Inability to speak Hindi: Does it matter?

November 30, 2009 5:25:30 PM IST
Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
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view RAAJNEETI movie poster

As a brand promotion exercise Katrina Kaif along with Akshay Kumar and Suniel Shetty was in a televised interview with all India audience to promote DE DANA DAN. The queries that were directed at Katrina Kaif centered on her inability to speak Hindi without an accent. But does it matter? She has emerged as the luckiest mascot of the box office during the last one year.

Katrina Kaif needs to be appreciated that from the very beginning she has not chosen voice over but has relied on her own accented Hindi to carve a niche for herself. In the end the whole thing boils down to the box office success, and she is the only female star who has given scores of hit which no other female star from her ilk has given. Her oeuvre includes SINGH IS KINNG, AJAB PREM KI GHAZAB KAHANI, and NAMASTEY LONDON etc.

In fact the inability to speak Hindi in a defined manner has never been an issue for making success in the Hindi film industry, more so for the female stars. The most celebrated example to support this point is that of Sri Devi, who literally ruled over the hearts of Indian audience for a decade. For the first time when she indeed spoke in her voice was when she crooned in her own voice in CHANDNI, the song being "Rang Bhare Badal se".

If one were to talk about accented Hindi then names of Parveen Babi and Zeenat Aman instantly comes into mind. They had heavily accented Hindi in the beginning of their career but over the years they were able to cover it up with exposure.

The audience needs to appreciate the fact that Katrina Kaif has given the Hindi cinema an international flavor, as she is a lady who has come from London to make her mark and she has indeed been pretty successful in her attempt. She is a courageous actor who has not decided to take the help of voice over to cover up her inability to master a language, but she is trying to do it in her own way. By the time RAAJNEETI hits the silver screen Katrina indeed would have mastered the art of speaking in Hindi.

Here it also needs to be underlined that most of the dialogues of the Hindi films and the tele-prompting that is done in Roman Hindi which does not provide scope to learn the finer nuances of Hindi. Inspite of this handicap, Katrina Kaif is picking up the finer nuances of speaking Hindi.

It also needs to be underlined that Katrina Kaif is the western face of the Hindi cinema, and plugs up the yearn that most of the Indian audience has of a dream girl who is seeped into the finer nuances of western culture. She epitomizes this quest whose era was initiated by Saira Banu and it graduated through Parveen Babi, Zeenat Aman, Soha Ali Khan etc, to find its pinnacle in Katrina Kaif.

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