Nationalism (and getting away from the point)

I’m sorry this post will be much less exciting than last week’s, as I (unfortunately) missed class all last week. So, I read through everyone else’s posts and I feel I missed way more than I anticipated. Luckily, I’ve forced myself into a situation whereby if I do miss any more, I’ll suffer gradewise sooooo yeah. From what I’ve gathered there is a strong sense of nationalism going on in Kuch kuch, though I believe it is somewhat split. While it seems to emphasize the ethnic cultures of India, it also seems to rely very heavily on American values as well. I see this most in the flashback scene early in the movie, once Anjali turns eight and realizes her namesake. For one, this entire flashback plays like a scene out of Grease, musical number included. I’m not sure why the director chose to go this route, but it certainly made me more comfortable, if a bit confused watching it.

I also found (via our wonderful resource Wikipedia) an interview with the director, linked here where he states, “Most of our films, as you know, do not have stories. They just have sequences and songs and dances and tons of emotions coming at you. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was a story.”  And coming in completely blind, that actually astonished me. I would have figured that telling a story would have been tantamount to a successful movie. I’m unsure if he was joking or if it is serious, but maybe I just need to see more Bollywood films, hence this class.

Ciao Dudes


Accidental Racism is Still Racism

I feel I may have spoken out of turn during class about how in “Temple of Doom” the ‘best’ part was the chilled monkey brains scene. Not only was I ignorant of my own jabs towards the Indian people, but to consider something like that to be the ‘best scene in the movie’ seems terribly insensitive of me. For that, I apologize. When watching Ganghi, I couldn’t help but return to that moment in my head during class. I only got the chance to view the movie one time, but even then was enough. The numerous slurs cast at the titular character was…colorful to say the least. But they seemed to be fairly accurate to the time period (not that that makes it any better). In Jones it seemed to be there for the sake of comedic effect, not cultural sharing or whatever you would call it. In the “religious ceremony” scenes, they were used to cause fear, in the village scene, they are used to elevate Jones as the white hero. Nothing in the film appears to even try to get details right apart from language and maybe a few names. I’m not terribly versed on Indian culture (something that will likely change through this course), but you’re meant to cringe at these scenes I’m certain. And even though they were a product of the time (and the people) that made them, it’s not right.


Also, I never would have known that Mola Rom and Khan were both played by Amrish Puri. It’s such a striking difference of character to me.