Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lost in Subtitles!

So last night, my sister and I sat down for a long-awaited (at least by me!) bonding session, or what she calls, "sistah-sistah bonding" :) Now, don't expect any heart-to-hearts or baring of souls; we bond over movies! We've got certain "classics" - movies that we've watched (and watched and watched and watched....) during lazy summer afternoons, usually with a game of Scrabble on the side.

One of these classics is the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. We've got DVDs of all three, bought before they were released as a set. Unfortunately, the third movie DVD doesn't work, so we had the difficult (sigh!) task of choosing between the first two. We finally settled on the second one - The Two Towers - for its superbly filmed battle scenes.

Halfway through, my sister decides to switch on the subtitles ...... there are certain dialogues neither of us have caught, despite having watched it sooo many times. She activated the subtitle feature and then......a split second of stunned disbelief, before we burst into laughter!!! See, the DVD is um, not-so-original, and was made somewhere in the Far East, and whoever provided the subtitles was obviously not well-versed in English, so this action-packed epic instantly turned into a hilarious comedy!!!

Check out the names of the characters:

The tiny Hobbit hero Frodo Baggins became "Flordor Barkings"
The human hero Aragorn became "Alarwang"
The elf Legolas was "Keglax" or something like that.
The creature Smeagol becomes "Smartfy" (really can't see the leap of thought to this name).
Dark Lord Sauron's monstrous army of Uruk-hai were oddly referred to as "Bitch-Men"!
And finally, the best of all, the wizard Gandalf the Grey - "Grey Magic Person Gandofu"!!!

The dialogue was no less. Sadly, I can't recall most of it, except for this gem, where Aragorn is explaining to his immortal Elvish ladylove Arwen (thankfully her name was only missing the 'r'), why they can't be together:

The actual line is "I am mortal, you are elf-clan".

Subtitle: "I am ordinary, you are evil"!!!

And that was another riot: all references to elves somehow ended up as "evil"! Even the F-word found its way into one dialogue!!! Now I haven't read the books, but I'm guessing there's no way its mentioned in the mythical masterpiece!

So here's a suggestion: if you have DVDs from suspect sources, try watching it with the subtitles on. You might find the dramas and thrillers turning into comedies and the comedies getting even more comical :D


  1. ha ha:):), earlier when used to dub english movies, the translation used to be hilarious, so many times I wanted to shout-pleaaase, dont ruin it, i can do better.
    Now of course they have improved a little:)

  2. Atleast u just got mistakes in spellings & stuff.
    I once watched a movie with subtitles on for almost half an hr before realising that the subtitles were of someother movie:-S.

    "And Happy Bonding...." concludes Nancy enviously.

  3. @ Renu - the best thing was the English subtitles of Hindi films, especially the songs. What sounds romantic in Hindi is absolutely hilarious if you literally translate into English!!!

    @ Nancy - ha ha :D
    and the bonding continues again tonight!!!

  4. :) I gotta do this......before that I gotta find DVD's from "supsect sources" as you put it :DDD

  5. Moi - might be a bit more difficult to get the suspect DVDs where you're ppl actually come to our doorsteps selling them :D Put this on your things-to-do-in-India list :D