India, As Hollywood Sees It.

1984 was the year when Rakesh Sharma walked into the history books as the first Indian in space. It was also the year that saw the Indian army storming the Golden Temple and we all know how that ended, for the country and the PrimeMinister, especially. That event doesn’t have anything to do with what i have on my mind but i just couldn’t help mentioning it, almost a testimony to the fact that for every glowing achievement of ours we have a dark memory that tags along. Now, to hop back onto my original train of thoughts,1984 was also the year when Spielberg and Lucas released their second Indiana Jones film, Temple of Doom. It was Spielberg’s 11th film as a director and was around for long enough to have known better than showing Indian kings devouring pregnant pythons, beetles and monkey brains for dinner. Yeah, the kings of the land did indulge in most of the other excesses depicted in the film at the expense of the common folk but that single sequence was Spielberg’s Tiger Woods moment, at least to me.

In the 90s,almost a decade an half since Spielberg’s vision of India comes Michael Bay with his disaster movie Armageddon and during the customary moving speech by the American president which were the norm in every other movie where Americans set out to save the world, we see turbaned Indians squatting before the Taj Mahal with hands raised in prayer. Yeah Indians squat for various reasons across the length and breadth of the country on a daily basis, to this day but I doubt if they’ve done that before the Taj Mahal, Mr.Bay, to point out the least of your factual errors. Almost two decades into the third millennium, Hollywood tries to revive the disaster movie genre with Geostorm and when it comes to India, again its an auto rickshaw in a dingy street that flies off in the tornado. Nolan again was the only exception i guess when he showed an Indian drone in Interstellar.

Now, I understand that theres no point in holding a grudge against Hollywood for looking at us they way do and refusing to change that over time, but maybe the blame doesn’t rest entirely upon them too. We, ourselves wouldn’t put up anything but the glossy pictures of opulence and excellence of our surroundings on our Instagram and Facebook pages so the sense of indignation that we feel when we see something like that about us as a nation on display for the whole world to see is quite justified, i guess. No better moment than now to pause and consider the stark fact that its the same country that managed to demonstrate its technological prowess to launch a Mars orbiter that failed to sustain life by providing something as basic as oxygen. As the Cat said, We are all mad here, irrespective of our allegiances and beliefs and we can’t help that.


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