Haryana is the flavour of Bollywood these days with the success of films like Tanu Weds Manu Returns where Kangana Ranaut portrayed a double role, Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola where Imran Khan portrayed a Haryanvi character, Zila Ghaziabad where Sanjay Dutt and Minissha Lamba showcased a strong Haryanvi inclination and Fukrey in which an unquestionable Haryanvi touch was seen. The maturing of Randeep Hooda as an actor has significantly contributed towards mainstreaming the macho Haryanvi hero.
When filmmakers from Mumbai come to north India searching for earthy characters, they tend to look to Haryana with Haryanvi speaking people, more so when they are looking for wrestlers as many Jat wrestlers, like Sushil Kumar, have won laurels worldwide. But now there is a twist in the tale and it is about how Bollywood heartthrob Salman Khan looking for a Haryanvi character chanced upon an equally earthy Gurjar community of the region.
It happened during the shooting of Sultan, when film director Ali Abbas Zafar and Salman called a few wrestlers from Haryana for audition. A 19-year-old Gurjar wrestler, Pawan Tanwar, caught their attention with his style and was asked to speak a dialogue in Rewari and Haryanvi, but Tanwar instead spoke in Gurjari. He was not only offered the role but even the Gurjari language was adopted as the new trend in Bollywood. Salman Khan has previously worked with another Gurjar wrestler, Sonu Tanwar, in Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
Speaking to TEHELKA, Pawan Tanwar says, “I belong to Delhi. My father is a milk seller and mother is a house-wife. My father owns a lot of property in Delhi but likes to sell milk.”
Tanwar adds, “I went to Mumbai for the shooting of Sultan. There were other wrestlers too who all accompanied me for the audition, but director Ali Abbas and Salman Bhai, selected me for the role. I told them, I would like to speak in Gurjari, rather than Haryanvi and other dialects. After the trial, they not only selected me but my language too.”
“Apart from the director’s dialogue diary, during the shooting, I delivered my own dialogue – ‘Guru ji Mohey Bachao, Abhi mero biah bhi no huo’ (Guru ji, please save me, I haven’t even got married yet). This dialogue not only won a big round of applause during live shooting but in theatres as well,” says Tanwar.
Another Gurjar wrestler, 34-year-old Amit Rexwal, taught ‘Putthimaar’ move to Salman Khan for one of the scenes in Sultan. Amit Rexwal, who lives at Ali village in Delhi, says, “My whole team has a role in the movie. I have taught ‘Putthimaar’ stunt to Salman Khan. Salman bhai has performed that stunt near the end of the movie against an opponent in the ring. We used to converse with Salman bhai in Gurjari language.”
Haryanvi and Gurjari: What’s the difference
◆ Haryanvi is an Indo-Aryan language similar to Braj Bhasha written in the Devanagari script.
◆ It is native to the regions of Haryana and Delhi. It is also considered to be the northernmost dialect of Hindi. The term Haryanvi is also used for people from Haryana.
◆ The variety of Haryanvi spoken in Rohtak (Rohtaki) is considered the standard form.
◆ Haryanvi is also spoken in the south-eastern area of the Punjab region. Today this area largely lies within Haryana, though there are some Haryanvi speakers in Punjab, India and Haryanvi migrant communities in Punjab, Pakistan.
◆ Gurjari is one of the ancient languages of India. There are several mentions of this language in ancient religious books written in and around 1st century B.C. Gurjari got the status of national language at the time of Gurjaratra (600CE – 1300 CE). In well-documented works, the historians have traced the origin and practice of Gurjari language since BC era.
◆ The language is mainly spoken in Rajasthan, Gujarat, J&K, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Punjab, and many other parts of India.
◆ It is also spoken by Gurjars of Pakistan.
The adrenaline rush of a Salman-starrer
The spirit of sportsmanship portrayed through a character whose life takes an unexpected turn when his conscience is challenged is the focal point of Sultan. Salman Khan and Anushka Sharma together are a perfect blend of emotion, drama, and motivation. Grandma’s favorite Sultan is a mischievous boy who runs a dish cable shop and is unbeatable in looting kites. Anushka plays Arfa, who has returned to Haryana after completing her studies in Delhi and wants to fulfill her dream of winning a gold medal in wrestling. Facing rejection from Arfa, his love interest, Sultan decides to put strenuous efforts to become a wrestler and – in a clichéd twist – turns out a winner. Following the death of their first child, the heat that builds up between the two protagonists out of guilt and hate creates a bitter environment .
Kudos to Ali for picturisation and character building in his portrayal of a layman groomed into an arrogant wrestler. The local dialect in the movie compliments the rowdiness of the various characters.
As the owner of Indian Pro Take Down team, Amit Sadh has justified his performance. So has Randeep Hooda who plays a bullheaded but sorted trainer who ‘doesn’t train dead people’. Arfa, who would die to see her father’s eyes glitter with joy over her success, is the girl chained with responsibility which questions the female freedom to chase their dreams.
The second half is packed with rigorous training, heavy weight lifting, and extreme workout techniques, with a power-packed title track sung by Sukhwinder Singh in his elevated voice. It is positive enough to give a kickstart to fitness addicts to train even harder and those who don’t train would definitely develop an uncontrollable craze for fitness.
Another typical element that weaves a Bollywood movie together is its songs and the movie has quite a list of it. ‘Jag Ghoomeya’ sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan in his soulful voice, and Vishal Dadlani’s ‘Baby ko bass’ are already chartbusters. Instead of following the ground rules, this time, Ali has aimed towards excellence in filmmaking with a different perspective putting Salman ‘safely’ on the edge.
In the climax, the script is ‘candied’ giving an inspirational life lesson that in order to win, ‘one must fight what lies within‘.