Why do Telangana people accept Telugu movies if almost all the movies show Telangana people in negative light?
One Andhra commenter asked:
Tell us what is the primary, if not the only, motive of a movie-producer? Making money or not? If a producer is dumb enough to make a movie showing discrimination, wouldn't his Nizam area collections tell him to correct his ways in the next movies?
Andhras reason this quite simplistically. They reason that a movie producer is interested in making money and nothing else. The producer is not sitting there to insinuate a message that Telanganas are inferior. There is no benefit for the producer doing that negative characterization because he will tend to lose certain portion of the audience.
Andhras ask if indeed there is a negative characterization of Telanganas in the movies, why do Telangana people go and watch these movies? They could have easily exercised their right not to watch these movies, right?
Since the collection from Telangana is quite substantial, isn’t it clear that people of Telangana gladly welcome these movies? Since they welcome these movies, isn’t it clear that there is absolutely no negative characterization of Telangana people in these movies?
I think that’s a simplistic way of looking at complex things such as a group discrimination. We can easily say that the motive of a publisher is only to make money, yet many written words have created revolutions, bringing great changes for good or worse, toppling governments and changing regimes. Many publishers have been prosecuted for what they have published. If the motive was simply to make money, why would the publisher risk being prosecuted? Doesn’t make sense, does it?
When the producers make movies showing Telangana people in the negative light, they are not being dumb. In fact, they are being smart; they are catering to the prejudices of people, pandering to their biases, thereby legitimizing them, perpetuating them, and over a period of time institutionalizing them. Take a look at the history of Hollywood and associated themes on negative portrayals of Blacks and other ethnic groups. One can feed into one’s prejudices and still make money. Even the group which is being targeted may not realize it is being targeted and happily watches the movies.
When a lower caste person in a village is called ‘chamar’, he does not realize it is an insult because he is used to being called that all his life. A lower class person may not know he is being discriminated against unless he is enlightened. For many centuries, our lower castes thought that it was their fate to carry upper caste shit on their head. Only very recently, they have started to assert themselves.
For a very long time Telangana people were ashamed to speak Telangana in front of others, and the practice continues even now though it is declining. Many Telangana people hide their accent when heard in public forums. In some families, Telangana people ridicule their own folk who speak Telangana and try to correct them. Some Telangana families grew up imitating their Andhra neighbors completely rejecting their identity. They hate being associated with the tag of Telangana. They take pride in the new found Andhra language which is seen as an ‘improved’ version.
The negative portrayal of Telanganas has created a low opinion of Telanganas amongst their own people. It’s like dark colored person feeling inferior and not feeling anything wrong with the negative portrayal in movies. They try their best to get rid of that dark color instead of fighting the negative portrayal. It doesn’t occur to them that a dark colored person is being humiliated or insulted. They have experienced it for so long that they have accepted it as a norm. Being ridiculed for their ‘inferior’ language, which has been ‘bastardized’ by Urdu, is something Telanganas accept without questioning the practice. Indians accepted British rule for nearly two hundred years till some enlightened Indians came along and told them they could aspire for something higher and better -freedom and self-rule.
Something similar is happening in Telangana now. Telanganas are not getting ‘brainwashed’ as some Andhras allege. They are getting enlightened. They are realizing that they don’t have to feel inferior anymore. Telanganas are no longer ready to cow down and change their accents. They proudly speak it in front of others and nowadays it is even being considered cool amongst the new generations. The time has come for Telangana to assert itself. But it is a long journey to enlighten your own people, the way it was a long journey to tell Indians they can rule themselves, or to tell our lower caste they can enter a temple with pride. It takes time. But it is a one way street. Once the idea is inseminated, it is a powerful one. Nothing can stop it. And that’s what we are witnessing now in Telangana -an awakening.
But unfortunately, it is not always articulated properly by the masses. Poor articulation is not a good reason for discrediting a movement. Andhras have to concede that Telanganas are not ready to be cajoled into another farcical arrangement because the rejection comes from deep within and is more complex than how Andhras would like to believe. Writing it away as an artificial creation of few petty politicians doesn’t help. Discrediting it as a pastime of few unemployed youth adds to the insult. If we have to debate this issue, we have to set aside such simplistic arguments and see the problem in the eye, which I doubt many Andhras are ready to.