Remember the poem "Machhli Jal Ki Rani Hai" which you may have sung as a child or do you recollect the phrase "Dum Laga Ke Haisha"? It's the desi colloquial flavour that Bollywood has latched on to for its film titles to strike a chord with viewers.
Year 2014 has already witnessed entertainers with titles as quirky as "Paranthe Wali Gali", "Mr. Joe B. Carvalho", "Babloo Happy Hai", "Hasee Toh Phasee", "Total Siyappa", "O Teri" and "Lucky Kabootar".
The next half of the year promises more with "Fugly", "Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania", "Kuku Mathur Ki Jhand Ho Gayi", "Guddu Rangeela", "Machhli Jal Ki Rani Hai", "Amit Sahni Ki List" and "Dum Laga Ke Haisha".
Mumbai-based film historian SMM Ausaja says "wacky titles always draw attention but you need star power and good storytelling to sustain such films at the box office".
"For example, 'Satte Pe Satta' lived up to its wacky title and emerged a classic despite being inspired by a Hollywood film ('Seven Brides For Seven Brothers')," Ausaja told IANS.
However, if one goes by the ongoing trend, most of the forthcoming quirkily titled films hardly feature any big names from tinsel town. Besides, they don't have humungous budgets - and they often cater to a crowd that enjoys cinema with the 'desi' flavour.
In fact, in the case of "Kuku Mathur Ki Toh Jhand Ho Gayi", its co-producers Ekta Kapoor and Bejoy Nambiar are the only established names associated with the project. The project is directed by a debutant and features newcomers too.
Besides, its director Aman Sachdeva has gone on record to say '"Kuku Mathur..." is the "cheapest" film ever produced by Ekta. The title of the movie was finalised after getting inputs from Delhi students from various colleges.
"We zeroed in on the word 'jhand', which is very popular in the city. The word describes the hilarious crisis situation that the actor is in," Nambiar had said. The title precisely describes the film's gist in the most desi manner that it could.
The case is similar for "Fugly"!
In common parlance, 'fugly' is a slang which means very ugly, but for the film's director Kabir Sadanand, it happens to be a term he remembers using profusely during his college days in Delhi.
"When we were in college, we used to use this word very often - 'What a fugly dish', 'What a fugly day' or 'What a fugly girl' - for anything fun! The set-up of my film is very colloquial and when one of my college friends saw the script, his reaction was 'Kya fugly film hai (What a fugly film). That was it!
"It is catchy, and it gels in with the film's flavour," Sadanand told IANS.
Then there's romantic comedy "Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania", starring Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan. If its title didn't seem desi enough, sample the story wherein Alia plays a fan of Kareena Kapoor a la several young girls across the country.
"Dum Laga Ke Haisha", a Yash Raj Films' project, stars "Vicky Donor" actor Ayushmann Khurrana; "Machhli Jal Ki Rani Hai", a horror movie stars Swara Bhaskar; while "Amit Sahni Ki List", an urban comedy, features the indomitable comic talent Vir Das.
Luckily for the filmmakers, times are decent for these eclectic projects - given how the audience is ready to sample and savour differentiated content, with interesting titles, new cast and fresh concepts. Let's wait and watch whether the going gets easy or tough for these experiments!
(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at [email protected])
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