Quite the quandary!
Does it matter what language a person speaks? Is it only the story that stays?
Personally, I believe I can write characters, on paper, that speak any language and reek of nativity, but it is hard indeed to write characters that speak in alien languages for film. On film, characters come alive only when they speak that which is natural to them.
So, to make a period film set in British India, where Indian characters speak in English that comes naturally to them is quite a chore. And that is what our company is doing. Roxane de Rouen and I are working with Gnana Rajasekaran, the director of ‘Ramanujan,’ to make the characters speak words that make them real. No, you wouldn’t find roadside urchins who speak in Queen’s English here, people would speak what comes to them naturally: Tamil, English, Indian English, even Tamenglish!
|Abhinay Vaddi as Ramanujan|
The first schedule of ‘Ramanujan’ has just been filmed, in the temple town of Kumbakonam. It was wonderful to dwell in that place between languages, sometimes pushing to get ideas across barriers of language, and sometimes taking solace in that which is lost in translation!
The second schedule would be shot in Madras, while the third will be in England: where a reversal of languages and cultures and translations would conquer. What a delight it is to live in this world where languages are not borders, but an element to experiment with…