Diamond Necklace, Iddukki Gold, 22 Female Kottayam: English has taken over Malayalam film titles

The recently released Bangalore Days, written and directed by Anjali Menon and starring hottie Dulquar Salman, is one more in the long line of Malayalam films with an English title—remember Diamond Necklace, Grandmaster, Lumiere Brothers, Silent Valley, Snake & Ladder, 22 Female Kottayam and Red Alert? Nitin Varma, a research scholar based in Mumbai and a self-confessed Malayalam movie aficionado says, “Most urban Malayalis, the target audience for these movies use English and Malayalam in equal measure. These people feel a connect with movies that have English in the titles. The language used in these movies is also a colloquial blend of English and Malayalam.”

He adds, “I feel the titles of films such as Idukki Gold, that deals with themes of friendship and Mumbai Police, a thriller involving a faction of the police force are justified. What bothers me are movies such as Bachelor Party, where the name has nothing to do with the subject of the film. Movie titles have been very important in Malyalam movies for a long time. I like movies where the titles give a fair indication of what the story is about.”

Vishnu K., a software professional concurs, “With the language used in many of these movies being a mix of English and Malayalam, the titles have also become anglicised. This trend has become more pronounced in the last couple of years. I like titles in Malayalam movies since they provide a glimpse to the storyline in most cases, unlike Hindi movie titles, which are often very unimaginative.”

“A title of a movie is akin to the blurb of a book, that gives you an idea about what to expect in the book. If that falls apart or does not hold your interest, you are not going to pick up the book. The same holds for movies as well.”

Vivek George, a marketing professional says, “Malayalam movies are very imaginative with their names. It gives us a clear cut idea about the storyline and the genre, unlike Hindi movies, where titles seem to have been just randomly picked up. A movie like Drishyam worked, and despite having a Malayalam name drew attention of all age groups, with non Malayalis also enjoying the movie. At the end of the day, the story needs to be convincing, more than the title.”