SOAS University of London

Centre for Creative Industries, Media and Screen Studies

Acoustic Imaginaries: Listening to Accented English in Aditya Chopra’s Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge / The Braveheart Will Walk off with the Bride (1995)

Speaker: Helen Ashton

This paper explores the significance of accented English speech in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge / The Braveheart Will Walk Off with the Bride (Aditya Chopra, 1995). The film is often cited as instigating the trend in Hindi cinema of featuring diasporic Indian leading characters and as signaling explicit marketing of Bollywood films to diaspora audiences. Twenty years after Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was released, this paper reconsiders the film’s enormous success through an acoustic, linguistic lens, in order to better understand the ways in which the British Asian Diasporic experience is imagined linguistically by Bollywood.

Following Jannis Androutsopoulos (2012), language will be examined in three main ways: ‘repertoire’ analysis enables an understanding of the full range of linguistic variety used within a film; ‘character’ analysis enables an understanding of when particular characters  employ multiple codes, and what this signifies; ‘scene’ analysis enables a focus on the use of language in scenes where language use is of particular significance, either because it is used reflexively, or because sociolinguistic difference is particularly foregrounded. Where accents in film have been considered by previous studies, it has usually been in a national context, rather than as a tool to explore the space beyond the national. This paper draws on theories of the transnational in order to contextualise linguistic choices in the age of global cinema.