Rajendra Singh Babu on Ambarish, biryani and the Punjabification of food for the mouth—and the mind—of Kannadigas

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In the Kannada daily Praja Vani today, the acclaimed Kannada movie director S.V. Rajendra Singh Babu uses biryani as a metaphor to articulate the travails facing the Kannada movie industry from films dubbed into Kannada from other languages.

Kannada films, says Babu, is facing a threat from not just Coronavirus but also from  streaming platforms and the lackadaisical interest of theatres to showcase the local produce, preferring the dubbed versions of films in other languages.

It is similar to what’s happened to Kannada food.

Ambarish had a dear friend who ran a restaurant called “Gowdru Biryani”. Whenever we had a chance, we would go and sample its fare. Once we landed up and found that instead of ‘Gowdru Biryani’ the name of the joint had changed to ‘Punjabi Dhabha’.

“When Ambarish asked, the response was that the name ‘Gowdru Biryani’ was a deterrent. Hence the name change. Now trucks and buses stopped, and there was better footfall. The result is biryani from Mysore and Mandya are now passe; it’s the age of Andhra and Tamil Nadu biryani.

“This assault is not just on food. It is also on food for the mind, on language and culture. The same threat faces Kannada films through dubbed films.”

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With shooting for TV shows not happening due to the lockdown, general entertainment channels are sneaking in dubbed TV shows from other languages, endangering local talent.

An advertisement for two dubbed shows on Star Suvarna appeared in Kannada Prabha on Monday.

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Screenshot: courtesy Praja Vani

Read the full story: Kannada is disappearing from TV

Also read: The Punjajbification of our food

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