Hau is yes and nakko is no and Hyderabad gets its own genre of films that pays tribute to the people, the situation, the lingo, the mannerisms of the city.
“Tu hi Hyder hai kya re?” says a clean shaven man with a wispy moustache to a man repairing his autorickshaw.
“Hau, kyon,” says the man in khaki, tinkering under his auto.
We are not listening to some streetside chat near Charminar. These are some of the lines from newest movie in the marquee that doffs its hat to 2005 Hyderabadi movie Angrez. Called Inki toh aisi ki thaisi it opened at a few theatres and is now running in one theatre in Hyderabad. Watch it with dollops of indulgence as the roly-poly hero plays the saviour of women and young people in the old city and gives a message against dowry.
But the movie's success or failure is not an isolated phenomenon. “These films have a high recall value but we are not able to encash the brand value. We have to work on a definite revenue model,” says Rama Krishna who is part creator of the Angrez franchisee. Before Angrez happened there was Hyderabad Blues (1998) a delightful take on the city life, “dil pey mat ley yaar,” says one bloke and a city was hooked (some folks don't get the joke).
The Hyderbadi genre movies are like the city's biryanis. All the restaurants make it, the ingredients are the same, the serving is similar, only the taste is different and you cannot say no to it. The plots are similar, somewhere near the Charminar three or four people meet over a cup of tea in an Irani café. They get into a fight and the lingo turns full Hyderabadi.
“‘Hau, nakko, kya batan kar rehen miyan,' the switchover to the language happens automatically when we run into schoolmates or old friends,” says Rama Krishna whose next movie titled Zabardast is in post-production and will be released sometime in May. “I cannot say no to a movie in the Hyderabadi genre as I am the founding member,” says Ram Krishna who believes that Angrez happened and nobody made the movie.
The reach and success of the Hyderabadi genre movies is vast with even a Facebook group. If Mast Ali who played the role of con-artiste Saleem Pheku has modelled for a TV ad in Gulbarga, then D.C. Shrivastav, who now goes by his character's name in the movie Ismailbhai was even offered a seat to contest corporator's election.
“I did the guest role in Inki… as Shyam Prasad is a friend. But the movie made it appear as if I am doing a full role,” says Shrivastav, who played the role of Hanifbhai Murgiwala in one movie and a gullible Nawab sitting in a tea shop in another but his role of Ismailbhai did the magic for him.
“The characters in some of these movies are archetypes. We had a friend who told us that he met Sangeeta Bijlani in 1990. We knew he was pulling a fast one, but he told the whole story with such conviction that we let him talk. In Angrez, the language was authentic but the newer movies don't have the charm, but they make you laugh as some smartypants in the audience invariably cracks an aside to what is happening on the screen,” says Ishwar Singh who spent his childhood in Dabeerpura.
Playing between hope for better days, chicken shops, tea shops, autorickshaw chases, grooms and brides, the fascination with NRIs, the films are a means to connect to a slice of life that is fascinating and just out of reach.