The enormous potential of film sub titling

Ours is a nation of innumerable cultures and sub cultures. How have these cultures grown? With the use of language, of course. A culture is unthinkable without the language in which it is conveyed. This is all the truer of this country. There are simply so many sub cultures and dialects that without the connecting languages, English and Hindi, one can only guess how much we can communicate to our countrymen in our native tongues. There is perhaps no better illustration of this than the fact that the 15 wise men comprising our Constituent Assembly, which gave us our Constitution, could not speak to one other in their native language!

This is also what offers enormous potential of film sub titling. If there is one element of Indian life that unites us as much as cricket, it is films. Many regional film industries have grown as much as the main Hindi language industry, Bollywood. This is precisely the point at which we need to explore the enormous potential of film sub titling.

We have heard about many classics being made in regional language films. However, India, being a land of such diversity, insulates one language’s influence on another. This is being felt acutely in regional films, too. We have heard, for instance, about Satyajit Ray’s classic creations in Bengali. The problem is, we have only heard, not understood those films! This where one needs to see the enormous potential of film subtitling

Having voice dubbing done is one thing; getting people to read the titles is another. Yes, there are some inherent issues like improper conveying of the spirit of the language. But isn’t this applicable to all other mediums of translation? There is enormous potential of film sub titling because someone in Andhra Pradesh can get to understand the beauty of a Bhojpuri film. Similarly, some of Puttanna Kanagal’s Kannada classics can be enjoyed in Orissa.

Why not tap the enormous potential of film sub titling by making subtitles for immortal films like Chemmeen or Sankarabharanam or Mouna Ragangal into say, Gujarati, Marathi or Dogri? Kannadigas pride themselves about having brought Bismillah Khan to play the shahnai for Dr. Rajkumar in Sanadi Appanna. How many people in even Uttar Pradesh, the Ustad’s home state, would be aware that this film was ever made?

These are just some situations in which one can see a great and enormous potential of film sub titling. There are many possibilities when one thinks of the enormous potential of film sub titling. Some subtitles can be made in English for the urban audiences, while the local language can be used for rural and semi rural screening. These are just a couple of points. Many more can be explored. In short, there sure is enormous potential of film sub titling!