Friday, December 14, 2007

The Name Game...

The first time I had a near death experience is when my friend Harendranath Guha lunged violently for my throat after I announced to the gang that we should call him HaGu (the crude Bengali word for shit).

I thought it was a pretty smart idea and before the brain could process all the implications of bobbitising Harry’s (yes, that’s what we settled on later) name, I eagerly proposed my big idea of the day, only to see my dear friend flying through the air and wrap his cold thin fingers around my neck.

Names are a funny thing. Some people have power names, like 'Samrat Khosla' or 'Abhishek Singhania', these names exude power. Some names are intrinsically weak, like 'Khogen Das'. And some names are not even names, they are just some noise that we make …like Puru..

Then there is me – Soumava Sengupta.. a hugely tongue twisting, spit inducing name.. which over a period of time my well-wishers shortened to Shome. I am happy now..

Our film industry is going through a name crisis as we speak. Sometime, Someone named it Bollywood, and the name stuck.

It had a nice ring to it and life was good. Infact other film industries around the country and sub-continent followed the same principles of nomenclature. Tollygunj in Calcutta called itself Tollywood and the Pakistani Film industry based out of Lahore referred to itself as Lollywood…

But recently many in the filmy fraternity have been objecting to this name. The BigB once said that it was derogatory and insulting. Most of the younger lot usually say “Hindi Film Industry” or “The Indian Film Industry”. Eyebrows get raised if you use the B word in any forum or in the presence of the stars.

So Bollywood is not acceptable anymore and we have to find a new name. I propose a new name finding mission because saying “The Indian Film Industry” or ‘The Hindi Movie Industry” is a pain, and sounds more pretentious than Sushmita Sen and Simi Garehwal combined.

So what are the options?

Hmmm…. This is tough…Hollywood had it easy. That’s the name of the city and all it does is make movies, so it’s like synonymous with the US film industry. Mumbai does much more than just make movies. We can’t name the film industry after the city. So that’s one option eliminated.

I like elimination as a process of selection.

Ok here’s some freewheeling…

Mumbai-o-scope ~nah! too convoluted~
Filmistan ~nice, but it was the name of some studio~
Mayanagar ~good choice~
Mayapur ~is a 1000+ village in MP.. aaarrrggghhh~
Cine City ~cooolllll I am getting better~
Filmville ~too American… buck up Shome~
Filmpuri ~Indian, but very clumsy~
Cinestan ~hmmmm… not cool~
Mayanagar Mumbai ~has potential, needs working~

Well, basically I think we can shed this Bollywood tag if we want to. I am not in the creative line, but I know there are some really sharp people in there who can do this. So this thread is a call to action to all you creative types.

I would also yell ‘jaago’ to the film fraternity. You are the ones most affected by this and You are in the creative line. Sit together and come up with something!

For a country which prides itself on renaming stuff, we might as well pool our resources and come up with something for nee of the few places whose name almost everyone wants to change.

If anyone here has some good options, please suggest…

Who knows, the way things are going for India, we might see Hollywood renamed Hollypur soon…. Now that’s a day I will wait eagerly for.