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'Hindi is no more a national language..' Southern star Sudeep gets rapped by Ajay Devgn's banter

While Kichcha Sudeep in one of his tweets to Ajay Devgn said, his statement "wasn't to hurt, provoke or to start any debate," it certainly did. People thronged the Internet to search for India's national language.

Vaishali Jain Written by: Vaishali Jain New Delhi Updated on: April 28, 2022 15:43 IST
Ajay Devgn, Kichcha Sudeep
Image Source : INSTAGRAM

Ajay Devgn, Kichcha Sudeep

"Hindi was, is and always will be our mother tongue and national language," tweeted Ajay Devgn in Hindi, countering Kichcha Sudeep's opinion on Hindi not being the national language of India. It was followed by potshots by Sudeep who primarily works in Kannada language films. Sudeep derided Devgn for writing tweets in hindi and wondered in response what would have happened if he had responded in Kannada.

In the political circuit, the hullaballoo for designating Hindi as the national language has attracted a lot of eyeballs in the past but now eyes are trained between the Bollywood and southern cinema after Ajay Devgn and Kichcha Sudeep's altercation on Twitter. It started when Sudeep made a comment at the film launch of 'R: The Deadliest Gangster Ever'. When probed about a Kannada film becoming a pan-Indian hit, Sudeep told the media, "You said that a pan India film was made in Kannada. I'd like to make a small correction. Hindi is no more a national language. They (Bollywood) are doing pan-India films today. They are struggling (to find success) by dubbing in Telugu and Tamil, but it's not happening. Today, we are making films that are going everywhere."

In a rare and bold move by Devgn, the actor minced no words and rapped Sudeep on a public platform. His tweet triggered people to pick sides and ponder if it is even fair to mount Hindi as our national language especially given how regional language films are inspiring Hindi cinema.

However, Sudeep's acknowledgement of the tweet with lambasting responses lead to a glassy response from Devgn in the end. He tweeted, "Hi @KicchaSudeep, You are a friend. thanks for clearing up the misunderstanding.  I’ve always thought of the film industry as one.  We respect all languages and we expect everyone to respect our language as well. Perhaps, something was lost in translation (sic)."

Devgn's initial tweet might have been an audacious response but reactions to his statements have been even more extreme. Kannada organisations on Thursday staged a protest in Bengaluru against the Bollywood actor. The protestors held photographs of Devgn and raised slogans against him.

The statement of the actor is suggestive of Hindi feudalism. TA Narayana Gowda, President of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike claimed that because the Hindi language is given importance in the constitution, Hindi speaking people have developed a feudalistic approach towards other languages.

Bollywood pales in comparison to south films

When it comes to cinema, language and genre are no longer restrictions. Last year, Suriya’s ‘Jai Bhim’ appeared on top of Google's 'Year in Search 2021' list as the most searched film of the year despite Big Bollywood names with Hindi actors Akshay Kumar and Salman Khan releasing their popular titles Bell Bottom and Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai. Many presumed it could be because cinema halls had limited releases due to the pandemic. However, changing patterns of content consumption and box office success can't be dismissed. 

Also read | Bollywood no longer mainstream cinema, south superstars take centerstage and how

In the first four months of 2022, the most successful Indian films at the box office are regional films. According to the IMDb's '2022: Indian Films Box Office Report' list, eight out of the top 10 movies are non-Hindi films with RRR (Telugu) and KGF: Chapter 2 (Kannada) taking up the first two slots. At number three is Hindi film The Kashmir Files, followed by Beast (Tamil), Valimai (Tamil) and Radhe Shyam (Telugu). The only other Hindi film in the top 10 is Alia Bhatt starrer Gangubai Kathiawadi. 

Away from the box office, many may continue to claim that Bollywood is mainstream cinema in India. But can we disregard the impact of south films on Bollywood? Well, again facts won't let us. One cannot overlook the rising number of remakes in Hindi films. Remakes of south films Soorarai Pottru, Vikram Vedha, Anniyan, Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo, Driving License, HIT, Kaithi, Master among many others have already been announced with popular faces of Bollywood including Akshay Kumar, Kartik Aaryan, Hrithik Roshan, Ranveer Singh and more. 

No national language as per Constitution

While Sudeep in one of his tweets said, his statement "wasn't to hurt, provoke or to start any debate," it certainly did. People thronged the Internet to search for India's national language. What they found was even more confusing. Like Mango is not our national fruit, lion is not our national animal and cricket is not our national sport, likewise, Hindi is not our national language. 

Precisely, there is no mention of a national language in the Constitution. “The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script,” states Article 343 of the Constitution. As per Raajbhasha Vibhag or Department of Official Language India, Hindi and English are the official languages of the country, which are used for “official purposes” by the government administration.

Moreover, there are 22 languages which are included in the Constitution. These are Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Marathi, Malayalam, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Sindhi, Konkani, Nepali, Manipuri, Bodo, Dogri, Maithili, and Santhali. The Constitution also provisions that each state may adopt its own official language.  

Therefore, no matter how many claims keyboard warriors may push on social media, it won't change the status of any language. 

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