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This is my diary....what I make sense of, around me. You'll find short prose on contemporary topics that interest me. What can you expect - Best adjectives? …. hmm occasionally, tossed around flowery verbs ?…. Nope, haiku-like super-brevity? … I try to. Thanks for dropping by & hope to see you again

January 13, 2009

Carry on Stereotyping

Bollywood seems to be stuck in eternity, Golden globe notwithstanding, when it comes to the same old archaic formulas of Love -Marriage- family retribution-rebirth etc ,etc .. and the usual stereotyping of characters & cultures. Take the latest flick ‘Chandni Chowk to China (CC2C)’ , the chink in the movie is the usual flat faced funny looking character who wildly swings his hand & legs in martial arts mudra and grunts ‘haiee yeaah’ when he is not mouthing ‘ching chong choo’ or something to that effect . This stereotype is much like any south Indian character in Hindi film , being in a Lungi with a forehead smear & yodeling ‘aiye yaye yao’ and mouthing Hindi in funny accent & flavor. And he is usually dark skinned. Similarly a Pakistani in our movies have to be a bearded slimy Mulla or an evil character in Uniform while a white foreigner is usually some dumb crook or a sidekick in a song & dance party. The list goes on.

Cut the chase to Hollywood & you'll find it no better when it comes to stereotyping us, notwithstanding Elephants, Snake charmers , Idols, turbaned despots ,Sitar etc (remember Steven Spielberg’s Temple of Doom & its ilk?) nothing excites their sensibilities better than Slums , rags, poverty & deprivation in all its Indian glory. The current movie ‘Slum dog millionaire’ based on such ‘researched’ formula have always found favour with the western media & critics and somewhere reinforces the usual stereotype about India. Perhaps Arvind Adiga also scored a Booker prize recently riding his ‘White Tiger’ with a similar theme on India’s underbelly and found favour with western literary critics. In both these instances what i find is a common thread that somewhat mirrors the way foreigners especially the western world have been getting to read & know about India of late ; its economic progress & the rags to riches stories, the Urban-Rural & Rich-Poor divide etc.
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