NEW YORK: American screenwriter Paul Schrader, known for working on Martin Scorcese’s Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, is watching India’s first original Netflix series Sacred Games. Its English dubbed version reminded him of how tricky is the use of English language vulgarity, but he says he will now watch it in Hindi with subtitles.
Schrader wrote on Facebook: “Watching ‘Sacred Games’. I’m reminded how tricky is the use of English language vulgarity. The show is peppered with ‘motherf***ers’ and ‘c**ts’, but the rhythm is wrong, like school kids trying out grown up profanities. This is true not only of Indian movies but Indian slang in general.
“They know the English words but they don’t know the idiosyncratic rhythm behind their usage.
Sacred Games, directed by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane, is produced by the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Entertainment’s Phantom Films joint venture. It is based on Vikram Chandra’s eponymous novel of 2006, and tells the tale of Sartaj Singh, a seasoned and cynical Mumbai police officer who is summoned one morning by an anonymous tip which promises him an opportunity to capture the powerful Ganesh Gaitonde, criminal overlord of the G-Company.
It shows the nexus between organised crime, corruption, politics and espionage in post-liberalisation India.
Chandra urged Schrader to watch the series in Hindi.
“Mr. Schrader, I wrote the (English) novel on which the series is based. Please watch the series in Hindi with English subtitles,” he wrote on the comments section of the celebrated screenwriter-director’s post.
On the ‘idiosyncratic rhythms’ that Schrader mentioned, Chandra said, “Indians use English with the rhythms of their own languages underlying the English. Not defending the dub (which I think is awkward), mind you, but American rhythms aren’t ‘natural’ to English any more than Indian ones.
“Indians own English now as much as anyone else, and they use it variously — there are regional Englishes within India (Hindi English, Kannada English, Punjabi English). Anyway, switch to the Hindi audio, and I hope you enjoy.”
Schrader then told Chandra, “I read your book which is why I started the series. Looking at the menu, I missed the Hindi option. Will correct.”
Chandra was enthused.
“Great. It’s immensely important to me (and the entire Phantom Films crew) that you – of all people – watch the series in the best manner possible. I’ve been a huge fan of your work since I snuck out of class in the late seventies to watch Taxi Driver, and had a life-changing experience in a Bombay theatre,” he wrote.
After going through the conversation and sharing a screen grab of it, Motwane tweeted, “The suspense is killing me…”
Kashyap retweeted it.