Listen up Yogi Adityanath, we have some ideas
The government’s current rechristening exercise is perhaps the most grandiose of schemes that have been introduced in recent times. Not just grandiose, its political gains are guaranteed too. With that kind of assurance, every politician worth his name, from West Bengal to Faizabad, has jumped onto the name-changing wagon.
This year alone, the names of 25 places were abolished and re-designated and proposals for another 48 are pressing for governmental go-ahead. The rush to change names has gotten so large that a Ministry of Renaming and Retitlement is rumoured to be in the offing for the specific purpose of studying the history and etymology of names and titles and to sanction change. There is much talk of a single window clearance to speed up the process and clear the backlog.
Enthused by the fast-paced efforts, we too, like the politicians, have embarked on a mission to do our bit for the great cause. We must admit, our knowledge of the great cause is limited—so limited, it could be said that we are totally ignorant of its motives and benefits. That, however, does not diminish our enthusiasm. In fact, to our credit, our enthusiasm outruns our ignorance. So, it is with some pride that we announce our enterprise of dubbing old Hindi film titles with new ones. We hope to take Bollywood by storm.
Since the performance of Emperor Akbar has been a sore point with name-changers (they think he’s a history-sheeter), we reckon that Jodhaa Akbar (2008) should be the first film title to be axed. We propose it be renamed as Jodha Hrundi with the Censor Board’s uncut approval.
“Wonderful! Perfect Part-ner!” is what we assume Hrundi would say.
Hrundi was no emperor. In fact, he’s a respectable, law-abiding, patriotic old troll and it seemed only fitting in the scheme of things that he be honoured suitably. We assure you Hrundi bears no semblance to Hrundi V Bakshi of The Party (1968) fame. Etymologically, Hrundi is the safest bet. It has no Persian roots or ancestors and no historian will spring up and claim an Urdu connection. Only Icelanders may claim ownership of Hrundi and make some sense of it for it means “collapse” in Icelandic. Brilliant start, we can imagine the headlines: “Hrundi spells the collapse of the old-world names yielding place to new!”
Before we tackle other names and titles, we must dwell here a little on Hrundi V Bakshi’s (The Party fellow) legendary contribution to name philosophies. He had the ability to put it so succinctly. However, his comments on the language Hindustani is unpardonable so therefore unprintable.
The next film title that needs repurposing and retitling is Amar Akbar Anthony (1977). That classic formulaic film saw three boys separating in childhood and brought up in three different religious households: Hindu, Muslim and Christian. But such religious harmony has no place in present times. With majoritarian fervour propelling us and, in our effort to propagate uniformity, we propose that the film be retitled Amar Amar Amar. This 2018 version will have a slightly different spin: three boys are separated and are brought up in three Hindu households and all three are identically named Amar. But in the denouement, their mother refuses to accept three Amars and goes in search of Akbar and Anthony. Needless to say, the film ends badly as the three Amars go their separate ways, terribly upset with the drudgery of bearing the same name.
Before we proceed further, we wish to warn our readers about the unintended consequences of changing names. A few years ago, an elephant by the name of Ahmed was brought to a temple in Kerala from Bihar. Naturally, a Muslim elephant in a temple was no small matter and the Tantris decided to have its name changed. After consulting astrologers, the elephant was given a suitable Hindu name.
We are totally amenable to this. But the elephant was not. It refused to obey the mahout’s commands. No amount of cajoling, pleading and prodding helped—the bull elephant was in no mood to comply with human eccentricities. So once again the astrologers were summoned and consulted. The only solution they arrived at was to give the elephant a name that is phonically similar to Ahmed. And after much deliberation, they arrived on Amit!
Let’s make it abundantly clear that we would sue anyone who reads too much into Amit the pachyderm’s story. Some Islamic scholars and historians have been raising a hue and cry about a certain gent’s surname, claiming it is of Persian origin. There are demands that it be changed in sync with the name-changing of places of our syncretic past.
Om Prakash Rajbhar, BJP’s ally in Uttar Pradesh, too has demanded to know if the BJP would propose to change the names of their ministers in the Union Cabinet. Having learned of Rajbhar’s demand, Smriti Irani, camping in Amethi in the state, was learned to have fled Uttar Pradesh. Rumours abound that a demand from her constituency for her to adopt the surname “Hindustani” instead of Irani to renew her patriotic pledge to the nation was behind her abrupt escape.
Sensing an opening, Subramanian Swamy and his gang of PTs have renewed their demand for Taj Mahal to be rechristened “Tejo Mahalaya”, which they state was originally a Shiva Temple. And now, Agra—the city housing the Taj—is in the news with the demand to rename it to Agravan or Agrawal. The Agrawals, Agarwals and Aggarwals have reportedly begun a signature campaign on the spelling of the word, in case Agra is replaced with Agrawal … er, Agarwal … or is it Aggarwal?
Coming back to our mission of renaming Bollywood films, the 1960 magnum opus Mughal-e-Azam is next on our radar. Although we haven’t zeroed in on the new name, we propose it be done bearing Deen Dayal Upadhyaya in mind, in line with the erstwhile Mughalsarai railway station. It has a nice long twang to it!
But wait a minute—why should we limit ourselves to the names of Bollywood films? We propose that Urdu dialogues and songs of films be immediately replaced with shudh Hindi. And for unreleased films in the pipeline, we propose the words kintu and parantu be used liberally along with yadi, itydai and adhava instead of their Urdu substitutes in dialogues. Now that we have got fresh ideas on dialogues and songs, we need to go back to our chintan baithak before we come back with more proposals. Ciao!