Sudeep had hinted that Bollywood was trying to capitalise on audiences from the south by dubbing and releasing films in south Indian languages.

A collage of Ajay Devgn and Kiccha Sudeep
Flix Controversy Wednesday, April 27, 2022 - 18:13

Kannada star Kichcha Sudeep’s recent remarks on the success of KGF: Chapter 2 have reignited the language debate, prompting Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn to respond. A few days ago, Sudeep had hinted that Bollywood was trying to capitalise on audiences from the south by dubbing and releasing films in south Indian languages, and that Hindi is “no longer the national language.” Days after this statement, Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn — who incidentally, recently starred in Rajamouli’s film RRR —  took exception to it. 

Taking to Twitter, Ajay Devgn tweeted in Hindi and asked Sudeep that if so, why Kannada movies are dubbed in Hindi. “My brother, according to you Hindi is not our national language, then why are movies dubbed in your mother tongue. Hindi is our mother tongue and national language, and will always remain so. Jana Gana Mana,” Ajay Devgn tweeted. It is to be noted that Hindi is not India's national language, it is an official language, as is English.

Ajay Devgn was responding to a statement made by the Kannada star at the launch of the film R: The Deadliest Gangster Ever, where he was speaking about the wide success of KGF: Chapter 2, which was released recently. “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," Sudeep said.

Shortly after Ajay Devgn's tweets, Kiccha replied that the context of his remark was different, and that he respects every language. He also added that he wants this matter to be laid to rest. He also asked what the situation would have been if he too had tweeted in Kannada, as Ajay had tweeted in Hindi.

“And sir @ajaydevgn I did understand the txt you sent in hindi. Tats only coz we all have respected,loved and learnt hindi. No offense sir,,,but was wondering what'd the situation be if my response was typed in kannada.!! Don't we too belong to India sir (sic),” Sudeep said in another tweet.

However, the matter did not rest there, as Ajay Devgn replied that things may have gotten "lost in translation". "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," he said. To this, Kichcha replied, Translation & interpretations are perspectives sir. Tats the reason not reacting wothout knowing the complete matter,,,matters.:) I don't blame you @ajaydevgn sir. Perhaps it would have been a happy moment if i had received a tweet from u for a creative reason. Luv&Regards (sic)," he wrote.

KGF: Chapter 2 was marketed as a ‘pan-Indian’ film, and was released in five languages, including Hindi, and did massively well in the usually Hindi belt as well. In fact, the release of the Bollywood movie Jersey — which is an adaptation of the 2019 Telugu movie with the same name — was postponed to avoid a clash with the Yash-starrer. ​​KGF 2 was released shortly after SS Rajamouli’s RRR, a film from the Telugu industry that was once again promoted as a pan-India movie. Before that, another movie from the Telugu film industry, Allu Arjun-starrer Pushpa, took box offices across India by storm. 

Also read: Hypermasculinity, execution and marketing: How south cinema has cracked the Hindi market 

Additionally, Ajay Devgn’s tweet is bound to reignite the language debate. Recently, Union Home Minister Amit Shah was accused of Hindi imposition after he suggested that people from different states should speak to each other in Hindi, and not in English. He said that "Hindi should be accepted as an alternative to English and not to local languages. He said that “unless we make Hindi flexible by accepting words from other local languages, it will not be propagated," as per a press release by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). He said that now the time has come to make the official language an important part of the unity of the country. The Chief Ministers of Kerala, Tamil Nadu as well as Ministers from Telangana condemned the Union Minister’s statement, calling it an imposition of Hindi. 

Also read: Tamil is the link language': AR Rahman in response to Amit Shah’s comment

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.