From a lingo for crass villains to the hero’s lips, Telangana dialect has broken the class barrier

Telangana dialect
Six years after the formation of a separate Telangana state, the Telangana dialect appears to be the flavour of the season in popular culture now | Image - Eunice Dhivya

Whenever a rough draft of a movie script landed on his desk, Harikrishna Choudary, a screenwriting curator with a leading studio house in Hyderabad, was sure about one thing — the story will have lines for the hero and the villain written in two different Telugu dialects.

It is usually Telangana slang for the antagonist and the ‘chaste, standardised Telugu’ for the hero. And, the comedy track usually involved a mocking Telangana slang.

This was a standard template for decades, particularly proving successful in the 1990s when a string of hit movies had the antagonists blurting out choicest epithets in Telangana slang and the slapstick comedy scenes too were loaded with the regional dialect.

“It was as if the characters had acquired this natural trait. The Telangana dialect was stereotyped as inferior and spoken by characters of questionable virtues,” Choudary says.

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