Deccan Chronicle

Film showcases Dakhni as the language of satire and love

Deccan Chronicle.| Aarti Kashyap

Published on: June 23, 2023 | Updated on: June 23, 2023
A Tongue Untied: The Story of Dakhani' screened in city. (Photo: Asia Society)

A Tongue Untied: The Story of Dakhani' screened in city. (Photo: Asia Society)

HYDERABAD: The film ‘A Tongue Untied: The Story of Dakhani’ takes the audience to an era where the language found its early traces and how it traversed to Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as we see it today.

Written, directed and produced by Gautam Pemmaraju, the 80-minute film traces its footprints through the most interior parts of Karnataka and stretches up to Karachi.

Screened at Dhi Artspaces in the city on Friday, the film enthralled viewers with its in-depth research and an engaging narrative, which was equally appealing to students and experts of all age-groups.

The film is more of a dialogue in first person where people – historians, writers, poets, scholars, researchers and locals share an account of the history, geography, literature and the spiritual connection of the unique language that continues to bind people across diverse geographies.

Music by Sanjay Divecha settles the viewer in the journey that the film depicts as it strikes a chord with the narrative and yet remains subtle.

A historian in the film points out that Dakhani shayari is a translation of issues concerned with the common people and that it is a language loaded with satire, while another scholar says that it is the language of love of Hindustan.

The ‘mushairas’ in Dakhni that were popular in the early 1900s spoke explicitly about the mundane affairs as well as the burning issues such as inflation and unemployment in contemporary society and yet caught the pulse of the people and had sharp flavors of satire in it.

As the movie travels from Bidar and Gulbarga (Kalburagi) to Hyderabad and Mahbubnagar in Telangana and further to Daulatabad and Aurangabad till Karachi — with monuments, mosques and tombs and dargahs of those who were connoisseurs and propagators of Dakhni —it connects the dots to form a complete picture of how the Bahamanis in the 14th century identified Dakhni to be their language, apart from Urdu and Persian from the Delhi Sultanate.

The film also highlights the contributions of Sufi saints towards propagating the language and how deeply ingrained it is in the DNA of Dakkhan — Deccan — region.

Works of poets like Gilli Nalgondavi, Sulaiman Khateeb, Chicha Palmuri, Siraj and even saints from Maharashtra like Eknath, Dyaneshwar, Mukta Bai show how Dakhni went beyond the nooks and corners to become a part of culture and heritage of people.

Speaking to Deccan Chronicle about the film, Pemmaraju said, "The film is a result of extensive in-depth research and meeting experts and historians over a period of five years. There were many phases of filmmaking and getting leads, which resulted in the film. Initially, it was meant to be about humour and satirical poetry, mushairas in Dakhani, but as the research progressed, the film went back to tracing the history as well as the humour-satire poetry, and the culture and heritage of the language".

Gautam stressed that by activities such as drama, serious literature, poetry, adaptation of the works in Dakhni and making it more accessible to people, the language could be conserved for posterity.

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