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Thursday, November 6, 2008

English boltaa hai

Film: Agnipath
Year of release : 1990
Spoken by : Vijay Deenanath Chauhan (Amitabh Bachchan)
Spoken to : Commissioner M S Gaitonde (Vikram Gokhale)
This line was often used by a colleague of mine, whenever he thought someone was using too much English. Although this is not what Bachchan means in the film. We will come to that in a while. It is strange that the Big B today is known more for his 'maaloom' and 'HaiN' mannerism which is entirely from Agnipath. Though he won his first national award for this film, he almost seems like a parody of his own personality. This is the introductory scene of Amitabh in Agnipath. He is sitting in front of the commissioner of police, who is trying to warn him of the dangers of continuing on the path of crime. Vijay gives a lot of 'gyaan' back to the commissioner. I will cover those in some other posts. But as a direct response to Gaitonde's warning, he whips out a diary from his pocket and says
"yeh dekhaa haiN...haaN? aaj shaam 6 baje maut ke saath apenTmenT hai"
then he pauses and asks the commissioner
"English boltaa hai?...abhee chaltaa hai"
"इंग्लिश बोलता है?...अभी चलता है"
Indians have a very strange relationship with the English language. Here is a gangster, who is uneducated and uses one English word. After using the word, he is asking a commissioner of police (who obviously has cleared the civil services exam) if he speaks and understands English. Hilarious. Later in the same film, in the famous 'I am not a goonda' scene, when a waiter walks up to him and says 'excuse me', Vijay goes wild and breaks a few cups and plates and chides the waiter with
"tum kyaa english boltaa hai"
"तुम क्या इंग्लिश बोलता है"
But a great line to use - multiple usages. Use it like my colleague did, or use it like Vijay did. Your choice.
And finally, it is not "Agneepath" but "Agnipath". But then Karan Johar and family does not know too much Hindi. Nor did Mukul S Anand. Surprising though - Amitabh does.
Now that you have read this post, it's my turn to ask you -
"English boltaa hai?...abhee chaltaa hai"
"इंग्लिश बोलता है?...अभी चलता है"


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  2. "इंग्लिश बोलता है?...अभी चलता है"

    हाँ, भारतीय परिवेश में तो ये तय है - "इंग्लिश बोलता है?...अभी चलता है", वरना कतई कहीं नहीं चलता है!

  3. By the way
    The Englis bolta hai is not a question asked to Gaitonde, but Vijay boasting that he knows Englis.

    Anyway, love your blog. Full time pass.