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We know you love the word 'chutzpah' but probably you are pronouncing and using it wrong: Vishal Bhardwaj's 'Haider' gives Indians a new obsession

'Personal confidence or courage that allows someone to do or say things that may seem shocking to others.'

Rituparna Chatterjee | IBNLive.comMasalaBai

Updated:October 7, 2014, 11:46 AM IST
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We know you love the word 'chutzpah' but probably you are pronouncing and using it wrong: Vishal Bhardwaj's 'Haider' gives Indians a new obsession
'Personal confidence or courage that allows someone to do or say things that may seem shocking to others.'

Filmmaker Vishal Bharadwaj has given Indians a new word to love. His hero Haider, playing the titular role in Bhardwaj's violent adaption of Hamlet set in Jammu and Kashmir, uses the word 'chutzpah' often and with devastating cynicism to express his disenchantment and frustration with the militancy that cost his father his life.

One of the film's most entertaining scenes shows Haider, played by actor Shahid Kapoor, explaining the meaning of 'chutzpah' to a couple of his Kashmiri friends. Haider narrates the story of a man who holds up a bank. Once the cowering cashier hands over the cash, the man goes to the teller's window and requests him to open an account for him. That, my friend, is chutzpah, he says to general laughter.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines 'chutz-pah' (n) as "a personal confidence or courage that allows someone to do or say things that may seem shocking to others."

Following the film's release, the word has caught on like a house on fire on social platforms with users quoting it back and forth to caption photos and compliment status messages on Facebook and strangely, to also shame an online retailer holding a massive discount sale that backfired spectacularly with glitches popping up on its website during peak traffic.

Whether intentionally or by pure accident (which seems highly unlikely), Bhardwaj distorts the pronunciation of the word in the film and makes his protagonist quote it at moments that have no relevance to the word's actual meaning. He makes it sound suspiciously like a popular Indian cuss word used freely to express a gamut of emotions - ranging from disappointment to anger and disgust.

The 'c' is silent in the Yiddish word - the pronunciation will be 'hutz-pah' or 'hootz-pah'.

As angry customers ranted against Flipkart for messing up their orders on Monday, the word 'chutzpah' was being bandied about as an insult on Twitter to mainly convey their disappointment with the retailer and used to hint at foul play.

This isn't the first time a Hindi film has set a trend for audiences. The 2009 film '3 Idiots' that starred Aamir Khan among others gave Indians the massively popular and hopeful catchphrase 'all is well'. Sanjay Dutt's goon with the heart of gold in Rajkumar Hirani's 2003 film 'Munnabhai MBBS' shares a 'jaadu ki jhappi' (a magical hug) with sufferers to set things right.

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