Do we need another Orientalism?

Thanks to the internet that I have already watched the film ! and saved my money! (Bloody, these multiplexes charge heaven! ). I don’t think that the film was great, not as great as Taare Zameen Par. But, thanks to the film it has made me realise, what kind of films are appreciated in the so-called west. Films like Lagaan and Slumdog Millionaire! Films which show India being a village and a slum. In one film some villagers fight with the band of some Englishmen while in the other everything bad about India gets highlighted.

A TV game channel show being rigged, jealousy factor of the host, call centre employees calling the game show numbers and lying about their locations (if Americans are so pissed off by these employees why don’t they work in these companies with the same amount of money which these employees get !), a film crazy nation (to the level that a kid would drown himself into a pool of shit for an autograph), a chaiwala being assaulted for no good reason, whole nation going crazy over a game show which comes live etc.etc… are even beyond being put into the category of exaggeration. And about the music of the film, I think Rahman has given better numbers than this before.

I fail to understand that why the film is being so much applauded by Indians as if they haven’t seen anything better than this before. Aren’t we still colonised? The Mad Craze about Obama and stupid newspapers reports and articles filled all over with the news of Obamamania! I was stunned to See a caption ‘Delhi gripped by Obamamania’, I kept on thinking where do I live? Am I not living in Delhi or this is some kind of parallel Delhi about which I don’t know about? This neo-colonialism is taking us over without us being aware of it (‘Us’ does not include me! thankfully!)

Coming back to the film, it tries to highlight all the social evils in one go. Agents using children for begging,female child being prepared for prostitution, gangs of Mumbai, Hindu-muslim riots, police torturing innocent people etc. I am still thinking what was the point of making the film? and above all, why media is going ga-ga over it? This neo-colonialism is eating even our entertainment business, our own Bollywood and masala films. I think Oye Lucky! was better movie than this. one more question? How did Salim got to own the gun and knew about Mamman’s enemy’s location? He just landed in Mumbai, isn’t?

There are so many signifiers in the film which put India into a category of thieves and cheaters. Take this case, a child who disguises as a guide and keeps on making stories about Taj mahal. I couldn’t understand what Boyle wanted to say, does he wanted to say that those foreigners were so stupid that they believed what a child disguised ( Indian gaurds and police are so stupid that they let this happen!) as a guide is saying or that the intellectual level of even an average child in India is higher than an adult of 40 yr old? Indian kids are so smart that they would change anatomy and outside of the car in seconds while Americans are so generous and kind they would always be at their philanthropist best. Indians steal chappals and sell them again in the market (what a research, i must appreciate it, it does happens but got the attention for the first time in the history of Hollywood).

After watching the film one scene kept on flashing in my mind. The scene in Munnabhai MBBS where Arshad Warsi brings a Japanese who wanted to see India and shows people by calling “Poor people , Hungry people”. Do i need to say more about the film? I think, I should better wait for it’s release 😉 slumdog-millionaire


7 thoughts on “Do we need another Orientalism?

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  6. In certain extend I agree with your point of view. Because the West has its perspective on the East. The general ideology endowed a “rigid” images on the Oriental culture, for Kung Fu cult in China and the Sushi and Bushido in Japan.

    However, I can’t agree that the filmmaker should be accused. Remember that the film is based on a novel and I believe the playwright did not insert any of his imagination on the film intentionally.

    Being a Chinese, I may not understand how the film hurts those Indian innocents but I think that it can bring our interest in the Indian culture. Since, the cult is always regarded as a kind of teasing or jokes. It’s time to look at it seriously.

    Finally, in aesthetic perspective, the film is still a great one, just like Boyle’s previous masterpiece. Trainspotting and 28 Days later. Also, the presentation of darkness side of humanity (not only Indian) is strong and stunning. It’s still worth watching.

  7. i totally agree with you.It gets my blood boiling when i see indian losing out on being who they are.In a country who’s talented people are going to america to serve as workforce and leave india with a braindrain it is really shameful.

    If any indian has any self respect left he must not watch this movie!Shame on the indians who want to sell out their country’s weakness for a stupid award!

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