'kanTi chooputO champEstaa'

which translates, literally, to something like: 'i'll kill you with my eyesight'. that's a line from a popular movie of the faction genre, a class of movies unique to telugu cinema (which should actually be called krishna-godavari delta cinema, because the great majority of the filmmakers etc are from that sub-region of kosta or coastal andhra).

the faction genre is dedicated to revelling in the gory, exaggerated, fictionalized accounts of the heroic lives of the eminently dislikeable paalegallu (cousins, in more ways than one, of poligars in tamil nadu and palegars in karnataka), or factionists as they're called, of rayalaseema. the song i'd linked to in this post takes a more realistic look at the misdeeds of the factionists.

what made me think of those movies now? random surfing yesterday led me to this post (the comments, actually). no, i was not interested in all the 'this-regional-cinema-is-better-than-that' line of discussion. what i was interested in was what was glossed over (and is glossed over elsewhere, in more serious fora too) : why are the films made in telugu classified as telugu cinema at all? or why are films made in tamil called tamil cinema or films made in malayalam called malayalam cinema or films made in bengali called bengali cinema etc?

the faction genre isn't actually unique to the erroneously classified telugu cinema- the line i quoted was from the remake of an original tamil movie (one of those movies which glorify the lives of rural gounder-thevar-naicker-etc tyrants). telugu cinema is essentially the handiwork of kammas, reddies and brahmins with significant contributions from rajus, kapus (some sub-castes) and velamas. mostly brahminized intermediate castes. all of them together make up not more than 20% of the state's population. what we call telugu cinema is a product of their kanTichoopu, or vision or nazariya. and there's definitely nothing pan-telugu about it. i've talked about whose nazariya is reflected in hindi cinema in this post- who speaks through so-called tamil, bengali, malayalam etc cinema?

i bet they all kill everyone else with their kanTichoopu.


gaddeswarup said...

I think of 'choopu' as 'look', 'glance'.

kuffir said...

swarup garu,

i too think of it in the same fashion. but i am looking at the literal translation here (eye for 'kannu' and sight for 'choopu'- not to gloss over the ridiculousness of the whole expression and explain it.

gaddeswarup said...

This also may be of interest:

Utpal Dutt on theatre and film

kuffir said...

swarup garu, thanks.

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