Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What happens in Minneapolis when you're bored in a hotel room...

In response to this piece (check this discussion (specifically Satyam's comment) out as well), a stray thought:

What is fascinating — despite the fact that the current generation of hindi filmmakers is so steeped in American global pop culture, has traveled there so often, and in many cases has even studied there — is that Bollywood’s depictions of the USA are so “off.” It isn’t about whether these representations are good/bad/positive/negative, but about how “off” they are. No less so than India in Octopussy (1983) or Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). Apparently, decades of globalization and cross-cultural exchange and commercial interactions haven’t made an iota of difference (think of Hindi films from decades ago, like Purab aur Paschim (1970) or Des Pardes (1978); compare with Namaste London (2007), and you'll see what I mean).

At one level that demonstration of how difficult cross-cultural communication is, depresses me. But there's also something gratifying about encountering the stubborn survival of something that remains so resistant to the homogenizing drives of our current moment. The two don't cancel each other out -- I simply note that they jostle together in me.


gaddeswarup said...

May be commercial films cater to what they think their core audience may like and are not serious about fathfully representing other cultures. Since I do not see too many films, I do not know many other type of films. A mixed group like Ivory-Merchant-Jhabvala seems ok.

Bolly said...

Hi: Last week I sent you a note about my BollyBrook remix video of "Bachna Ae Haseeno"
Did you get a chance to check it out?

The video went viral in USA and UK with over 40,000 views in only 1 week. It was mentioned in Wired Magazine's blog and featured as a Vimeo Staff Pick.

Thank you!! And Best wishes from New York City,

Nick Gray
-- Producer of
-- Personal home page