Home Columns Anantha Narayan All in a name

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I’ve always wondered why there’s no Nobel Prize for Naming or an Oscar for outstanding nomenclature. Surely in a universe with more than a billion names, we need to ensure the good ones get celebrated, right? That’s why I created the Rumpies.

‘Rumpies’ is a nod to Rumpelstiltskin, the most unusual name of a fairy tale goblin legendary for turning straw into gold. I’ve whimsically picked the winsome candidates worthy of a Rumpy by using my subjectively objective judgement. If you agree with my choice, applaud. If you disagree, you still have no choice but to applaud.

My first Rumpy is for the Best English Movie Title. I almost awarded it to the war comedy Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, for clever usage of the NATO phonetic alphabet to convey the ‘WTF’ feeling. But then I changed my mind in favour of the Clint Eastwood biographical drama Sully. Why ‘Sully’ you may ask? Well, the film is about Captain Sullenberger aka Sully and a federal investigation to prove how he tarnished their reputation.

Among the Hindi movies, two titles caught my fancy: the zen koanish Buddha in a Traffic Jam and Balki’s Ki & Ka. My final vote was for Ki & Ka as it felt refreshing to the ear, given it was woven around the same old plot about a ladka and a ladki.

Siddharth starrer Jil Jung Juk was the clear winner in Tamil. It’s derived from an old Vadivel dialogue that classifies the world into three kinds: jil (the good), jung (the average) and juk (the unworthy). To me it felt funky, intriguing and original. Talking of intrigue, the Malayalam movie title that got me all excited was Amoeba, a film that revolves around the fear of endosulfan poisoning. In Telugu, it was Ism, the Kalyan Ram flick about a protagonist who practises good journalism.

The Best Book Title was the very poetic memoir When Breath Becomes Air by neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi. My Rumpy for the Best New Band Name went to Kississippi, the Indie folk duo from Pennsylavnia. The Best Baby Name was Saifeena’s Taimur for starting a whole new conversation on history. And the Best Indian Brand Name was Jio for being a mirror image of Oil, the real money spinner for Reliance. There are many more that deserve recognition. We’ll reserve it for the happy new year. Wish to add to the Rumpies list? Share your nominees with anantha@albertdali.com.

Anantha Narayan

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