Music, Movies & TV, Soulful Musings

Cultural Appropriation & Stereotypes

Before I say anything else, let me explicitly state that I love and admire Emma in her endeavors towards women empowerment and eradicating ‘myths’ surrounding the big F word today, feminism. For just speaking up when our world desperately needs for the rationals to talk some sense. And of course, for she’s brought to life, Hermoine Granger on the celluloid screen.

So my thoughts are not specifically about her or her video. But certainly, I was “triggered” to finally pen down my thoughts, which have developed over a period of time on seeing this video on my newsfeed.

It is actually getting a little bit ridiculous to watch the unfolding of the sudden awareness in Hollywood about India as an Indian.

After years of cultural appropriation, and ridicule it’s like a bulb has been switched on in this western film fraternity that there’s a multi-billion dollar market that they can tap into so much more. So, let’s get all our “Namastes” in order and oh yeah, pitches for people to watch our movies.

It’s no coincidence that 2 leading Indian film actresses (so far) have been cast as ‘normal people and/or characters’ and not merely stereotypical caricatures in ethnically restricted roles in a big TV film franchise (XXX) and a TV Series (Quantico). More and more actors are suddenly speaking up about their love for ‘Indian fans’ and ‘saag Paneer’. (Which I must admit, was pretty thrilling to know that someone was actually aware of anything beyond the misnomer ‘curry’ when referring to the Indian cuisine. ‘Saag’ and ‘Paneer’. Double brownie points.)

Anyhow, if this phenomenon brings about better awareness of India and its people. If it helps to do away with the stereotypes deeply rooted in ignorance and bigotry. If it helps for people to finally understand that many of us are indeed ‘native English speakers’. It’d be a very welcome change.

I’d be personally delighted to not to be doubted for my English language skills just because I don’t “look” the prejudiced part being “brown” and all of that. Or because I don’t speak in a certain “accent” namely, American, Canadian, Australian, British… you get the drift. It would also be thrilling to see something a whole lot better than music videos like “Lean On” and characters like “Appus & Rajesh” on the celluloid screen to begin with.

So, here’s me hoping that this is just a start for the better. A start for a less prejudiced, more aware world. And, not just towards Indians or India but other ethnicities and countries too. Even if at the moment, it’s all rooted in business calculations and motives.


Music, Movies & TV, Soulful Musings

For the Intellectual Indian

I just spent the better part of an entirely sleepless night watching this marvellous show called Chivas Studio- Gentleman’s Code. Finally, there is some brilliant Indian Television being telecast.

I remember that it had caught my eye when the trailer was being aired on Star World India but for some unknown reason, I hadn’t been recording it and had thus, been missing it. But it was one of those things, which never really left my mind. So, I happened to YouTube it last night and couldn’t stop until I completed watching the whole of the 1st two 50 minute episodes! And, I only stopped because the sun started to shine brightly through my curtains that are drawn, and it’s 8:31 am. Also, so that I could soak in what I had just unraveled!

Man, I am a very happy person at the moment. It is just the kind of thing that my heart deeply yearns for in life! It was always the case wit not only the books that I read, and movies & TV that I watch, but also with the kind of real-time human relations that I want to build and have in my life. The relations that I truly seek, which enrich me and make me feel alive! It’s totally full of the essence of what I deeply crave in real time human interactions which are so rare and hard to come by; that I’ve now started to fearfully doubt my chance of even finding any ever!

The easy-going, urbane, knowledge rich, intellectual content of the show makes my heart weep with joy! It talks about Indian Men, their take on love, women, sex, work, style etc and tries to bridge the gap between the ghastly male-female dynamic which is sadly being seen in my country today. This is the kind of show that India needs today. Instead of those never ending primetime shows with sobbing daughter-in-laws with evil, plotting mother-in-laws and husbands.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a good family drama, or dramas in general. But I’m often disgusted to see how the most prominent channels of our country telecast regressive, unpalatable ideas on a daily basis at prime time, and this garbage is consumed by millions of women and families all over the country! It’s amazing how in this really sad and shameful time for the world’s largest democracy, there are so many Indian TV Series showing only repressed women, who are helpless and take everything lying down like they are meant to do so. Sure there are shows- few as 1 or 2- who talk a little about women empowerment or try to sensitise the Indian male, or Indian Society in general towards the idea of broadening and updating their mindsets. But, the need of the hour is to only have more of these. And not the other kind, at all!

So, it’s just a HUGE relief to finally see a show, even if it’s from the male audiences’ perspective, which talks about sensitive issues. Sensitive issues concerning the men & women both; urging the men to realize and to see women as more, to stop viewing women as a “different species” but as fellow human beings along with familiarising women with what the men think- their struggles, and ambitions as well. And most of all, for people like me… for girls and women like me, and for men like us… who already find themselves thinking in this way; and hence, more often than not find themselves alone, and disconnected from the brazen rouge masses, who are just content with gossiping about the celebrities over coffee, or bitching about the problems of this country without actually putting any thought towards the solution or having a healthy discussion about these “tough” topics! It’s a boon for us. For it makes you feel less alone, and more importantly it makes you feel hopeful by way of addressing these issues, by just conducting great discussion and a sort of virtual conversation. And, showing that there are other people in this world, in this country who are thinking on the same lines. They maybe a diminishing entity, but they still exist and they are now making an effort to be heard! There’s still hope! They are reaching out to us, and encouraging us subtly… to keep on going strong. To not to lose hope and to relegate ourselves to the same ignorance and insensitivity of the masses that irk us, in order to just fit in or for any other reason whatsoever.

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