Ekdum Jhakaas! How Mumbaiya Hindi became part of Bollywood

Updated: 25 June, 2018 12:27 IST | Shaheen Parkar |

Tapori language or Mumbaiya Hindi that is mouthed by Bollywood actors has found universal acceptance over the years

Sanjay Dutt (left) and Arshad Warsi mouthed tapori language in Lage Raho Munnabhai (2006)
Sanjay Dutt (left) and Arshad Warsi mouthed tapori language in Lage Raho Munnabhai (2006)

Ekdum jhakaas! No public appearance of Anil Kapoor goes without him mouthing these words, 30 years after he uttered it in Yudh (1985). The famous words, which mean ‘Absolutely superb’ in Mumbaiya Hindi, are synonymous with the actor.

For Jackie Shroff, it is “Kya bidu? (How are you pal?)” that came to be oft used by people in Mumbai and outside post his 1983 film Hero. Years later, Sanjay Dutt also mouthed “Kya bidu?” in Munnabhai MBBS (2003) and Lage Raho Munnabhai (2006).

As Bollywood is based in Mumbai, it is natural for the local fare to seep into movies. Mumbaiya language, what is commonly referred to as tapori language, has always been an intrinsic part of Hindi film dialogues and songs. Aamir Khan crooned Ae, kya bolti tu in Ghulam (1998) which was laced with tapori lingo. Another famous line from the Salman Khan-Aamir Khan starrer Andaz Apna Apna (1994) that immediately comes to mind is, “Aaila, Oi ma, crime master Gogo!”— Aai in Marathi means mother. And how about this one? “Abey dhakkan, kyun time khoti kar rela hai?” — Khoti is borrowed from Marathi meaning waste.

Universal appeal
Explains writer duo Sajid-Farhad who have penned films like Bol Bachchan (2012) and Singham Returns (2014), “Mumbai’s tapori language has now become the universal language of Bollywood. There is a huge audience who may not comprehend it, but enjoy it. In fact, now they understand it too.”

Anil Kapoor

Jackie Shroff
Till date Anil Kapoor (above) and Jackie Shroff are known for mouthing ‘Jhakaas’ and ‘Kya Bidu’ respectively

Writer Bunty Rathore, who has penned for films like Khiladi 786 (2012) adds, “It is widely accepted. I am from Meerut and even the people there now understand the Mumbaiya language thanks to Bollywood.”

For most writers, a touch of Mumbaiya Hindi adds to the pithiness of the film, making it more expressive while giving colour to the character. Instead of penning lines in pure Hindi in films, which may make people run to a dictionary to find its meaning, use of colloquial Hindi mostly helps connect with the audience.

Vivek Oberoi used a lot of Mumbaiya Hindi in his films like Company (2002) and Shootout At Lokhandwala (2007)
Vivek Oberoi used a lot of Mumbaiya Hindi in his films like Company (2002) and Shootout At Lokhandwala (2007)

Says writer Milap Zaveri who has written for films like Grand Masti (2013), “I feel language is never a barrier. I wrote Shootout At Wadala (2013) which had Bambaiya language and the audience loved it. Similarly, Rangeela (1995) also had a lot of such words and was a super hit. When people come to see a film, they come prepared that a particular character will speak in a style specific to the culture he is shown to be a part of.” Sajid-Farhad add, “When you write dialogues, what a character says has to go with his/her setting. You cannot show roadside characters spewing chaste language.”

The Bhai lingo
Bollywood baddies, especially those belonging to the underworld, speak the typical bhai dialect as it is called. As they say, “Maine usko tapka diya” (I have killed him”). Interestingly, the baddies lingo is concocted specifically to typify underworld characters. Vivek Oberoi used it in Shootout at Lokhandwala (2007) as well as in his films like Company (2002) and Jayantabhai Ki Luv Story (2013).

Some quintessentially Mumbaiya words


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First Published: 28 June, 2015 11:10 IST

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