Movies with English names are a new fad in Bollywood. While some filmmakers argue that their script demands it, others admit it helps sell movies in the global market.
Most of National Award winning director Madhur Bhandarkar’s movies have had English titles — be it “Page 3″, “Corporate”, “Traffic Signal” or “Fashion” – and he says he chose them because the script demanded it.
“There is no particular reason why I select the English titles, it is just the demanding factor for my films. I think I could not have got a better title than ‘Page 3′ as the film showcases the lives of high society people,” Bhandarkar told IANS.
“The title is the first reflection of what a film is all about. In school days, we used to emphasise more on writing the headlines of essays or letters because we knew the teacher would read them with inquisitiveness only if the heading was good. I kept that in mind while making my movies,” he said.
Other than the US, Britain and the Middle East, Bollywood films have a growing market also in Germany, France, Poland, Israel, Turkey, Japan, South America, South Korea and China. In fact, the overseas market has become so important that many Indian films are extensively shot abroad.
So have English titles got anything to do with the foreign market?
“Kind of…The title, as I said earlier, is the base of the film and a way of reaching the audience. I believe in one thing: if a film is good, it is going to work, but for that we need to show it to the audiences and they will see it only if they find the title catchy,” said Bhandarkar.
Hrithik Roshan’s upcoming and much talked about action thriller has an English title – “Kites”. Rajkumar Hirani, who hit the jackpot with the desi flavour in the Munnabhai movies, too has opted for the English title “Three Idiots” that has Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor.
” ‘Kites’ has been made for the global audience and there is a very poetic intent behind the film, hence the title…while ‘Three Idiots’ is actually about three idiots and cannot have been named anything else as that would not bring out the essence of the film,” said an industry insider from Mumbai.
Anjum Rizvi, the producer of “Fast Forward”, says English titles help in luring young movie watchers.
“More than the foreign market angle, the current generation easily identifies with English titles. People relate to them much easier and the titles have a freshness.”
David Dhawan’s last big hits had English titles — “No Entry” and “Partner” — and his next comic caper starring Govinda, Sushmita Sen and Riteish Deshmukh too is called “Do Knot Disturb”.
“The theme of the movie is such that it had to be named ‘Do Knot Disturb’ and the audiences will also agree when they watch the film,” said Dhawan.
Other upcoming films with English titles are “Season’s Greetings”, “What’s Your Raashee?” and “Wake Up Sid”.
While Hindi filmmakers are opting for English titles, “Titanic” director James Cameron has titled his 3D sci-fi action adventure film “Avatar”. Releasing worldwide Dec 18, the film is expected to be technically pathbreaking.
And what could Cameron’s inspiration for a Hindi title be?
“According to Hindu philosophy, ‘avatar’ refers to the bodily manifestation of a higher being. The Sanskrit word literally means “descent” and usually implies a deliberate descent into lower realms of existence for special purposes,” said a source close to the film.
“In the film, the word ‘avatar’ therefore signifies a genetically engineered biological body that is remotely operated by a human consciousness,” added the source.