Sunday, 7 February 2010



Our first Bollywood experience

Which, after 10 weeks is about time... though it was very Hollywood, but worse

And to use western values

A terrible film

Though with a great but absurd glowering Javier Bardem of a hero

And I have to use the same values I’d use for movies anywhere else, and I see a lot of non-English language movies… [will post my 100 fave movies ever list v soon]

Though I didn’t use those values at the dance or the music we’ve seen… because I don’t understand the aesthetic…or even what constitutes rhythmic or syncopated, or graceful

So, I don’t think the fact it was in Hindi mattered at all

And can preclude me from saying

It was garbage

Yet it felt I’d been through a lot by the end because…

The British were the bad guys

And, absurd though it might sound, and be, I’m still not used to us being the bad guys

I grew up with films where the Germans and Japanese and various colonials and guys in black hats were the bad guys

While films where we were the bad guys were a rarity

Of course there was Exodus

And many films where the British were stuffy and snobbish

And there‘s Gallipoli, Braveheart and The Patriot …meaning Mel Gibson has done a good run of good badEng/Brit movies

And later The Wind That Shakes The Barley [good film]

P, being Canadian, isn’t used to films where the Canadians are the bad guys… though I’ve seen some Quebecois TV which was hardly complimentary

And in this film, Veer

the British were very bad and very bad

very bad in that they were the bad guys

and absolutely terrible in how they and England were depicted

there was a mockney English Raj General who was execrable… hilarious in how appallingly he was drawn in every way

there was Morris dancing in a horribly drawn Victorian Tens/ Twenties London

the clothes the building the voices the mannerisms, virtually everything was wrong

even the almost original, firstly we will educate these barbarians into our culture which will help us rule them, the new England will be born in India, heh heh heh, was horribly cackhanded

but then so was everything

And ultimately, I suppose we, the British, were hideous in Britain… though exploitative and mercenary rather than brutal or bloodthirsty… and even though this dreadful historical mishmash of clashing anachronisms and inept caricatures was anti-British… and would give any Indian person who didn’t know much better an incorrect idea of what we were like… so what, we were still shit… so why should they care about being historically on the button?

A bastards very being-a-bastard-ness means they don’t deserve the privilege of accurate depiction…a lot of the Nazis you see are historically off …and really, who cares?

Hollywood wouldn’t take this kind of historical depiction now… it might have 60 years ago but these days they tend to go for over-the-top historical accuracy … but Bollywood still does it

… and me I’m still cringing

The big question for me is, why do I let it get to me? how does it get to me? I’m under no illusion about the saintliness of empire so…come I get affected?

And this also means two of my worst moments of the past 12 months have involved terrible scenes in movies [see Saigon experience below]


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