Mumbai: If Hindi is not the national language of India, why are movies made in different languages and eventually dubbed, Bollywood star Ajay Devgn said on Wednesday in response to a statement by south star Kichcha Sudeep.
"Hindi is no more our national language," Sudeep said at a film launch event last week when he was asked how he viewed the record-breaking pan-India success of the Kannada film "KGF: Chapter 2", the Hindi version of which alone has minted Rs 336 crore since its April 14 release. The film has reportedly earned Rs 850 crore worldwide.
Devgn, who recently starred in filmmaker SS Rajamouli's pan-India blockbuster "RRR", tagged the Karnataka-based actor on Twitter and wrote, "Hindi was, is and always will be our national language."
"My brother, according to you if Hindi is not our national language then why do you release your mother tongue movies by dubbing them in Hindi?" Devgn wrote in Devanagari, the Hindi script.
"Hindi was, is and always will be our mother tongue and national language. Jan Gan Man," the actor-filmmaker, who is looking forward to the release of his film "Runway 34" on Friday, added in his tweet.
Addressing the media in Kannada, Sudeep had said, "Hindi (filmmakers) should say they are making pan India movies. They have been dubbing those (Bollywood) movies into Tamil and Telugu, etc and they are struggling. They are not able to. Today, we just make films that reach everywhere."
The "Eega" star's comments had sparked a debate on social media over the apparent imposition of Hindi, with many fans of the actor defending his stand.
India doesn't have a national language, and Hindi and Kannada are among the 22 languages listed in the eighth schedule of the Constitution.
Sudeep's upcoming actioner "Vikrant Rona" is also billed as a pan-India film, expected to be released in Hindi apart from Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam.
Devgn's tweet prompted Sudeep to post a reply explaining that his statement was perhaps taken out of context.
Sudeep, who has also featured in Hindi films like "Dabangg 3", "Phoonk" and "Rann", said he didn't want to "hurt, provoke or to start any debate".
"Hello @ajaydevgn sir... The context to why I said that line is entirely different to the way I guess it has reached you. Probably will emphasise on why the statement was made when I see you in person. It wasn't to hurt, provoke or to start any debate. Why would I sir.
"I love and respect every language of our country sir. I would want this topic to rest as I said the line in a totally different context. Much love and wishes to you always. Hoping to seeing you soon," he wrote in English.
In a follow-up tweet, Sudeep said he understood what Devgn wrote in Hindi but wondered what his fellow actor would do if his response was in Kannada.
"And sir @ajaydevgn, I did understand the text you sent in Hindi. That's only because we all have respected, loved and learnt Hindi. No offense sir, but was wondering what'd the situation be if my response was typed in Kannada! (sic)" he wrote.
"Don't we too belong to India sir," Sudeep asked Devgn.
Devgn then thanked Sudeep for "clearing up the misunderstanding" and said he simply wanted to ensure that people respect all languages.
"Hi @KicchaSudeep, You are a friend. thanks for clearing up the misunderstanding. I've always thought of the film industry as one. We respect all languages and we expect everyone to respect our language as well. Perhaps, something was lost in translation (sic)" he added.
Translation and interpretations are "perspectives", Sudeep said in his response to Devgn.
"That's the reason not reacting without knowing the complete matter, matters. I don't blame you @ajaydevgn sir. Perhaps it would have been a happy moment if I had received a tweet from you for a creative reason. Love and regards (sic)" Sudeep concluded.
Earlier this month, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had said Hindi should be accepted as an alternative to English and not to local languages.
Presiding over the 37th meeting of the Parliamentary Official Language Committee in Delhi, Shah had said Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided that the medium of running the government is in the official language and this would definitely increase the importance of Hindi.
Eminent composer A R Rahman, whose mother tongue is Tamil, had also weighed in on Shah's remarks, saying "Tamil is the link language."