December 8, 2011

DEV_ANAND_27DFR_BAA_855420a-300x150By Javed Naqvi

One of the unspoken attributes defining their calibre among the older Indian actors was that they all spoke excellent Urdu, which was advertised for a variety of reasons as Hindi cinema. On the other hand, most of the younger lot, if we are sensitive enough to notice, can’t pronounce their own names properly, more so if they happen to be one of the popular Khans.

Amitabh Bachchan​, Rajesh Khanna and most other superstars of recent vintage were atrocious with their pronunciations. Nasiruddin Shah​ and Om Puri​ stand out among the rare exceptions with correct sheen and qaaf. They knew how to say the words in their lines.

Ditto for womenfolk: the younger ones have lost the feel for the spoken word and I don’t believe it has anything to do with their more evolved sense of gyration. I hear Hema Malini sends her actor daughter to an Urdu teacher to improve her diction, which only underscores the problem.

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