Bollywood, the escapist ‘opium’ of the Indian society, has often held a mirror to the pent up conflicts, fantasies and aspirations of our society. A recent study by Cogito Consulting, the brand-consulting arm of FCB-Ulka Advertising, reveals that some of the iconic film dialogues have actually part of our cultural vocabulary, be it a Hindi speaking population or a non-Hindi one.
The study, which delves deeper to understand how popular movie dialogues have become part of the Indian vocabulary, provides leads to advertisers to take cue and connect better with their audiences. The study was done on all-time favourite Hindi film dialogues across age, regions and classes of Indians.
V M Wabgaonkar, Vice-President, Strategic Planning, FCB Ulka Advertising, said, “The study is useful in many ways. It tells us the styles of delivery that resonate with consumers. It tells us what resonates with their psyche. It is a dispassionate barometer of what is enduring and what is ephemeral out of the prolific creations of Bollywood. Variously, it tells what else may endure and what won’t.”
“The major findings of this study are that film dialogues proved to be a barometer of the key issues, beliefs and inspirations that reside in our minds. Two key issues have been frustration with red-tapism and, even today, anxiety over family’s sanction to love. It reflected belief in ‘platonic love’ and also in ‘superior heroic powers that could save the day against the evil elements’. The study showed the appeal of the inspiration ‘real players never give up because of a few early failures’. It also showed the timeless appeal of some of the stylised renditions,” Wabgaonkar added.
He further said, “The study brought out that even the new millennium and its tech-intensive life haven’t diluted many of the age-old powerful symbols such as the ‘Ganges’ and the ‘righteous Indian mother’. The paucity of female dialogues in the winning list is reflective of the distance we are yet to travel in making our archetypal women ‘equally strong and independent’ as men (barring exceptions). The surprisingly wide liking for several of the old dialogues by young respondents tells us something about the amazing continuity of our culture. The study brought to light some of the stylised renditions that have got firmly itched in our minds. Decades have come and gone, but nobody has been able to dislodge ‘Mogambo’ or ‘Gabbar’.”
The impact that the Bollywood dialogues have had on the society can be gauged from the most used dialogues. They show how we have reinforced our beliefs, derived inspiration or even given vent to bugging issues through their words, style and impact.
Some of the highlights of the findings are:
Dialogues spouted by the bad men of Bollywood seem to be more popular than heroes. “Tera kya hoga Kaliya?” (‘Sholay’) is the most often used dialogue in India, followed by “Mogambo khush hua” (‘Mister India’).
Gabbar Singh’s (of ‘Sholay’ fame) two dialogues – “Pachas pachas kos door tak jab koi bachcha rota hai…” and “Tera kya hoga Kaliya” – are all-time hit dialogues despite being uttered 30 years ago.
Other top Hindi film dialogues feature from Amitabh Bachchan in ‘Shehenshah’, ‘Deewar’ and ‘Silsila’, Sunny Deol in ‘Damini’, and even Prithviraj Kapoor in ‘Mughal-e-Azam’.
People chose dialogues that symbolise various personal feelings, like love in adversity (Prithviraj Kapoor’s dialogue in ‘Mughal-e-Azam’), frustration with the bureaucracy (Sunny Deol in ‘Damini’), platonic love (Big B in ‘Silsila’, heroic powers (Big B again, in ‘Shehenshah’), and likeable/human villain (Shah Rukh Khan in ‘Bazeegar’).
Among top female dialogues, is Basanti’s frantic “Chal Dhanno, Chal! Aaj teri Basanti ki izzat ka sawal hai” (from ‘Sholay’) rates the highest in terms of popularity.
Prithviraj Kapoor’s dialogue from ‘Mughal-e-Azam’, “Zindagi aur maut uparwale ke haath mein hai”, rates the highest among the SEC A population.
“Mere paas maa hai,” Shashi Kapoor’s calm reply to Amitabh Bachchan’s arrogant “Tumhare paas kya hai” in ‘Deewar’, features the highest among SEC C population.
Dialogues from the ’70s blockbuster ‘Sholay’ are still the most popular across all ages, regions and classes, followed by dialogues from ‘Deewar’ and ‘Anand’.
Big B tops the list of actors whose dialogues are most remembered and used. He is followed by Shah Rukh Khan and (surprise!) Raj Kumar.