Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma joined the debate today over Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn’s claim that Hindi is the national language of India by referring to “an undeniable ground truth” about “northern stars”.
Citing the recently released blockbuster Kannada movie “KGF: Chapter 2” which has done a tremendous job even in Northern India, Mr Varma accused Bollywood actors of being “insecure and jealous” of the success of their Southern counterparts.
“The undeniable basic truth @KicchaSudeep sir, is that the north stars are insecure and jealous of the south stars because a Kannada dubbing movie KGF2 had an opening day of 50 crore and we are all going to see the upcoming opening days of Hindi movies,” Mr. Varma, who Bollywood has directed movies like Company and Sarkar, said in a Twitter post.
The undeniable basic truth @KicchaSudeep sir, is the north stars insecure and jealous of the south stars because of a kannada dubbing movie? #KGF2 had 50 crore opening day and we are all going to see hindi movies opening days coming
— Ram Gopal Varma (@RGVzoomin) April 27, 2022
The controversial director also backed Kannada actor Sudeep Sanjeev for his comment that Hindi is not the national language.
“Whether you intended to or not, I’m glad you made this statement because unless there is a strong commotion there can be no peace, especially at a time when there seems to be a warlike situation between Bolly ( north) wood and Sandal (South) wood,” he said.
Ajay Devgn’s “Hindi was, is, and will always be our mother tongue and national language” has drawn heavy criticism from the south, with at least two former Karnataka Chief Ministers criticizing the Bollywood actor for his comments.
Devgn had made the comment when he responded to Kannada actor Sudeep Sanjeev’s comments at the launch of his film’s trailer.
Taking a look at the Hindi film industry, he added that Bollywood produces many pan-Indian films that are released in Telugu and Tamil, but struggles to find success on the same scale.
“Today we make movies that go everywhere,” he said.
In response to the comment, Ajay Devgn tagged the Kannada actor on Twitter, asking him why he releases Hindi dubbed versions of movies shot in his native language.
“@KicchaSudeep my brother, according to you, if Hindi is not our national language then why do you release your native language movies by dubbing them in Hindi? Hindi was, is and always will be our native language and national language. Jan Gan Man, ‘ he tweeted in Hindi.
Mr Sudeep then responded to Mr Devgn’s counter, claiming that he made the comment in a different context than how it reached him, and that it was not to “hurt, provoke or start a debate”. The Kannada actor made amends in the following tweet, saying that he “loves and respects” every language of our country and hopes to see him soon.
However, the actors’ tweets have reignited the debate over the imposition of Hindi.
Two former chief ministers of Karnataka – Siddaramaiah of Congress and HD Kumaraswamy of Janata Dal (secular) – directly attacked the Bollywood actor, calling him a BJP spokesperson.
“Ajay Devgn screamed like a mouthpiece for BJP’s Hindi nationalism of one nation, one tax, one language and one government,” Kumaraswamy said in a tweet.
Several films from South India have recently seen unprecedented success at the box office not only in the South, but across the country, sparking much debate as to why Hindi films are not so successful in the South of the country.
The debate over the imposition of Hindi exploded again after Union Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah recently said that Hindi, not local languages, should be accepted as an alternative to English. Opposition parties rejected the comment, calling it an attack on India’s pluralism and claiming they will thwart the move to impose ‘Hindi imperialism’.