Prema kanna Dragon, a television series produced by Ramu Kannan Humana, has been hailed as a groundbreaking success in India and abroad, with the cast of characters who speak kannades as a result, making it the first non-Brahmin show in the country.
But, in spite of the success, the series has been accused of using a large number of grammatical mistakes in its Hindi-language dialogue, and some commentators have criticised the series for using kannadis to highlight casteism and religious discrimination.
Speaking to The Wire on the sidelines of the Telugu Film Festival, Ramu said, “There is a big difference between the way that we use language and the way a lot of people use language.
It is the difference between saying that someone is not good and saying that they are good.”
Ramu’s views are shared by a number of other actors in the industry, with many actors being outspoken in their criticism of the show, as well as their views on how the show should have been written.
“We have all come up with the kannads [kannadas] to show the different groups of people in the world and in our world, and this is not our job.
We should have gone back to the language,” said actor Sumanan Naidu, who has been part of many kannadic shows.
While the language of Prema Kanna Dragon has a number kannadanisms that are not used in the real world, it does have some grammatical and spelling errors, such as “kannadas” and “karnat” for “a house”, and “baiyay” for a housewife.
In a recent episode of Preama Kanna, the actor who plays the protagonist, Kalan, uses the karnat kannat as a noun instead of “bhaiyay”.
In a similar vein, actor Komalavaraj, who is a regular on the show and is a native of Nagaland, was aghast when asked if he felt he was not writing the right dialogue in his portrayal of the protagonist.
“In real life, I am not used to the word ‘karnati’ in English.
I am also used to ‘baiya’ and ‘bhiksha’.
The word karnati is used for people who are different from us.
We use ‘kannata’, and ‘Bhaiya’ is used to talk about the different races and communities of people,” he said.
Sumanan also criticised the writers of the series, saying that the actors in their portrayal were too quick to use kannade to highlight the casteist and religious attitudes.
“They use kanna as a big political symbol, which is a bit insensitive.
There is a large difference between using kanna and using a lot [of] kannadianisms, such a ‘kamchad’ or ‘kanna-yada’ to talk to people, as if it was an expression of their casteism.
But, in reality, the show is a political show and we are talking about the political agenda of the country,” he added.
While Sumanu said he felt that he had been used to using the word kannata in English, many others disagreed.
“It’s just a way of saying that people of the same caste are not equal.
We don’t know why people use the word.
It’s not really a question of language,” he admitted.