Hindi ONE HUN­DRED YEARS OF SONG, DANCE AND MASALA

Asian Geographic - - On Assignment -

Salim Ahmed Khan’s ad­mir­ing ob­ser­va­tion of Sahib­jaan’s lovely feet and his quiet worry that they might get soiled is sub­tle and del­i­cate, yet beau­ti­fully con­veys the strength of his love for the ill-fated cour­te­san. The lady, tragic hero­ine of the 1972 Hindi film, Pa­keezah, can only re­cip­ro­cate. By the end of the film, Sahib­jaan dances at Salim’s wed­ding, while he mar­ries an­other.

Star-crossed lovers and their en­raged par­ents, scan­dalous webs of il­licit love, the wastrel son-turned-saint, the cor­rupt in­side job, vil­lains who could pass off as the Devil in­car­nate and mo­ments of glo­ri­ous serendip­ity for the down­trod­den... For the past cen­tury, Bol­ly­wood has cer­tainly served up a masala, a term re­fer­ring to a mix­ture of spices. In In­dian film, the pot­pourri of in­tox­i­cat­ing dance tunes, var­i­ous cin­e­matic gen­res and the ubiq­ui­tous ex­otic lo­cale char­ac­terises its best work. Sell­ing 2.7 bil­lion tick­ets for the thou­sand-odd films it pro­duces per year, Bol­ly­wood is the Hindi film in­dus­try, and it is the most pro­lific film in­dus­try in the world to­day.

Hindi is the of­fi­cial lan­guage of the Repub­lic of In­dia, and an of­fi­cial sec­ond lan­guage in Mau­ri­tius, Fiji, Trinidad, Guyana and Suri­name. Es­ti­mates of the num­ber of speak­ers vary con­sid­er­ably, depend­ing on what speech va­ri­eties are sub­sumed by the term ‘Hindi’. Eth­no­logue gives a fig­ure of 260 mil­lion speak­ers of the lan­guage in In­dia alone, giv­ing it the fourth largest num­ber of na­tive speak­ers among lan­guages of the world. The lan­guage is di­rectly de­scended from the clas­si­cal lan­guage of San­skrit and be­longs to the In­doAryan lan­guage group, a sub-set of the Indo-euro­pean fam­ily. It has been in­flu­enced by var­i­ous lan­guages, among which are Per­sian, Turk­ish, Farsi, Ara­bic, Por­tuguese and English.

Hindi and Urdu, the of­fi­cial lan­guage of Pak­istan, are con­sid­ered dis­tinct lan­guages. How­ever, their dif­fer­ences are par­tially po­lit­i­cal and so­cial, rather than just lin­guis­tic. The two are quite sim­i­lar at the con­ver­sa­tional level but di­verge from one an­other at the for­mal and lit­er­ary lev­els. They have a core gram­mar in com­mon, which is based upon that of a ver­nac­u­lar di­alect spo­ken

Do Teen Char Paanch SIM­PLE PHRASES Hello (Na-mas-te) What is your name? (Ap ka nām kya hai?) How are you? (Ap kaise/kaisī hai?)

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