Bollywood= Cool

I think i’m the only somali person that prior to this class wasn’t really into Bollywood.  In fact it was not until this class that i even paid attention to this particular phenomenon/genre. I’m actually not even a movie person at all. Everyone that is into Bollywood in my world was very much a romantic and pretty much love-sick.  I saw that as a bad thing and never cared for Bollywood. Even American films, I would say I watched the Notebook maybe once and thought it was too long as oppose to my friends who have seen it 10+ times.   However I cant deny the similarities between my culture and the hindu culture and it was fun learning first hand the material.  Even watching the films I caught similarities in language ( Ha meaning yes and laakin meaning but { although laakin is an arabic word}). I’ve seen more and more somali women wearing saari’s to their weddings now which is cool.  I think its timeless, beautiful and very well-tailored. I don’t think ive seen a woman looking hideous in a saari ever, regardless of race; it compliments the woman’s body, it executes the covered not really covered look.  I now know that Bollywood is much more than singing and dancing and romance though every film has to have some sort of romance in order to propel other emotions, where there is love there is grief, with love alone you can distinguish who the bad guy and the good guy is.  The antagonists always has that vain love where women are subjected in order to heighten that disgust factor, its kind of cool how films do that, its like the directors go “let’s make women mad”. Ultimately for someone who never got into Bollywood, I think its very entertaining and much more in-depth narratively than we think.

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Politics in Cinema

Its funny how we watch films so nonchalantly and these films demand thought in every single aspect of the film.  I tend to read texts and pick out the political standpoint or the satire rather quickly more than films.  Its a habit that society has built for us.  Entertainment is key like someone said in class. The way we watch films says a lot about us as a society. These directors feed off of fans and normally don’t go against the grain.  The demand for paranormal and YA end of the world dystopian films that are heavily surrounded by pop culture–is what society thrives off of.  I feel like the political notions in cinema are subtle for that reason, people don’t want to think. Escapism is generally the rule of thumb with projecting these box office films. I think if directors did care about the greater good of the people they would stop making foreigners the antagonist in films and stop using guns as a cool thing.  Its actually sick that we cheer on the death and dying of these antagonists.  This eye for an eye revenge/retaliation is unknowingly taught in films. Maybe thats a political agenda in and of itself. However I still want the Lannisters dead lol.

Class

Through out all of the films we have watched there were some levels of classism in each film, from gangs who thrive off money and wealth, to kids being brought up in a poverty stricken neighborhood. classism is deffinately a political protest worthy issue to depict in either text or film.  classicism and casting is nothing new unfortunately.  It just sucks that the tribe in which you are born in or whether your family is wealthy or not defines your future.  I came across this video on facebook about casting and it was sad, it mimics aspects of my culture with tribes. social stratification and classism is an ongoing issue that is worth being critiqued more in film.

Slumdog Millionaire

I think this film mimics a good chunk of history and lets us see the view points of Muslims regarding the partition through the characters Salim and Jamal. The people not believing Jamal has enough knowledge to win highlights the fact a little bit of what we went over in class about politics in knowledge.  People seem to believe that a certain race or culture cant amount to such high levels of intellect which highlights how stereotypes and microaggressions have really propelled not just in the story world of the film but in society today.   In one part of the film, Jamal says “if it wasn’t for ram and Allah, we’d still have a mother”.  I think its interesting for him to use the god the represents hinduism and use the god the represents Islam in the same sentence.  its represents an individual who is accepting and embracing of both aspects of their dual identity.  I haven’t watch this film until now but I can pick up notions of mainstream movie embedded in the film.  The intertextuality with the popular game show “who wants to be a millionaire”, the artist MIA on the soundtrack, you can tell its European founded , it was a good box office film that grossed a lot of money.  It was very Bollywood but western at the same time.  Nice balancing of worlds as the film progressed.

Idenity & love

When I went to Africa I was often asked to show my ID by security personnel which I was fine with.  Then my uncle uttered the term “diaspora” and told me to tell them that and they’ll leave me alone.  Basically it let me know that once I leave a certain place for a while I’m no longer apart of that particular community.  It got me thinking am I considered a “diaspora” in the U.S as well. It was bizarre having a culture shock within my own culture. Identity and coming of age is one of there recurring themes in films such as Mississippi Masala and Namesake; though identity and coming of age is different in different cultures when dealing with intended audience vs implied audience.  The conflicts that Gogol and Meena went through are the struggles that most dual identity hybrid persons go through. Sometimes I forget that I am Somali or sometimes I don’t American enough to actually feel like I belong. Certainly those differences were highlighted on my trip to Africa.  Bombay also is an interesting film and it resonates a lot with the history and what is going on currently. The love connection between a hindu and muslim person was brilliant.  though people are often nationalists and nationalism has every bit to do with marriage and its sad.  its intended message is that basically love wins. Religion is a key component to ones identity there’s no getting around that but racism is of any kind is not needed.  For me its sad when I see families getting in the way of two Peoples happiness because that person isn’t from a particular culture.

Sexuality & Beauty in Mirch Masala

Watching Mirch Masala really resonated with me sexuality in a different light.  Even though the women were performing traditional gender appropriate duties so to speak and essentially doing nothing wrong. The women weren’t going against the grain aside from her taking her daughter to school.  In the movie we saw that her beauty is what started everything.  It is almost a “your damned if you do and your damned if you don’t” kind of thing. The second that she slapped the guy, is when we saw that the infatuation took on a different more violent route whilst still wanting to be with her. The more the movie progressed the more we hated the antagonist.  That was solidified by the abundant use of the b-word and possessive nature about him, amongst other things like him being completely unreasonable.  I think that was very much intended and what carried the film. There was definitely a message in this film to women about sexuality.  In the film I didn’t see anyone trying to be “hot” like he mentioned, that’s why it was so clever that the movie ended with hotness thrown in his eye. I like the irony in that and it says a lot. I can see why feminist grew fond of this film.  Women aren’t throwing themselves at men with their sexuality and that’s that. The topic of beauty and sexuality will always be an issue.

Orientalism

Romanticizing a certain culture and declaring a culture and its people as “exotic” is not as bad as acting like you understand the culture in its entirety through movies and media representations. These assumptions are what spewed I think Edward Said thoughts on orientalism from my understanding.  Orientalism in film is basically a false reality enforced solely by stereotypes of what a group of people might act like, dress and sound like. In the film Indiana Jones, I’m not too offended in the extra spirituality notions depicted in the film. Muslims and hindu’s alike are typically very spiritual people.  I don’t think overly religious notions are bad but extremism is, and that is shown and stressed in films and media which creates a social construct.  Films and media enforces the fact that the East is bad and the West is good, this “them Vs Us” is created, which divides people.  In films the East are always depicted as antagonist and painted as the big bad wolf.  They are bilingual and speak their language only to scheme and plot against the protagonist.  The protagonist are always the quintessential westerner with very European features such as blonde hair and blue eyes and wearing an angelic colors such as white or pastels. The kids in different cultures are depicted as loveable, funny and innocent and give off notions of wanting to be saved essentially from their weird and oppressive culture. Contrary to the adults where its “too late” for them to be saved in a sense.  Authenticity plays a big part when discussing orientalism.  Now I understand the importance of authenticity in regards to orientalism.  Without authenticity being established, one essentially gives a group of people agency to create an image of how a culture is perceived.  Movies and media alike inspire people to understand something that is false essentially but with executing the aesthetics of the culture and vibes, I can understand how it might seem as though.