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- Why Hollywood Does Not Show The Real India To The World? | Article By Kaweri Bamjai
Aurangabad9 hours ago
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Creating Apple products is no small matter. More than 200 companies in the world need to manufacture memory chips, glass screen interface, casings, camera etc. to manufacture iPhone alone. The movie ‘Shantaram’, based on the popular book of the same title by ex-Apple TV Plus ex-criminal Gregory David Roberts, is also similar to the iPhone. The story is written by an Australian, the lead role is played by an English actor, he speaks with an Australian accent, the film is shot in Thailand, it looks like Mumbai, and actors from many countries play Indian roles.
Surprisingly, there are hardly any Indian actors in this India-based series. And those who are are trained in the West and work there. While Hollywood is very careful about diversity, it is surprising to see that in one of its series based on Mumbai, the city is depicted only through the same photographs. Every major Hollywood film based on India casts a non-Indian as the lead actor. This shows that they don’t think their actors are right. When Danny Boyle was looking for an actor to play the lead role of Jamal in ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, he said, “I auditioned many young Indian actors, but they all had curvaceous bodies and chocolate faces.” It didn’t seem like any of them could play the role of the hungry, weak, but ambitious Jamal. Dev Patel, born in England and of Indian origin, was eventually chosen for the role.
Danny should have said that the world’s perception of Indians does not always match the reality. The movie ‘Shantaram’ is full of contradictions of preconceived notions about India. The original novel will have those stereotypes as well. But in an interconnected world, where American streamers want to cash in on India’s huge middle class, they can at least be more careful about who to choose and how. Remember, Shantaram was to be produced by Meera Nair in 2007. It was to star Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role and Amitabh Bachchan as a mysterious gangster. The role in the current film is played by Sudanese-born English actor Alexander Siddig. Mira Nair’s film could not be produced due to writers’ strike in Hollywood.
Why do we prefer to see India through western glasses rather than through our own eyes? Why is it that ‘Gandhi’ or ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ wins the Oscar, but ‘Salam Bombay’ or ‘Lagaan’ does not? Pan Nalin, director of The Last Film Show, believes that this is due to the unique position of Indian cinema, which evolved from regional theater and traditional folk art. Our style of storytelling is in tune with our culture and is so popular with us that Hollywood movies don’t earn more than 10% of the box office. There are very few places in the world where Hollywood movies make so little money. The Indian film industry has a distinct tradition and dance and singing are an integral part of it. For that our artists have to perform on a certain pitch, they cannot accept audiences outside India. India likes to celebrate its success in the West. Many powerful figures in the American entertainment industry today are of Indian origin, be it Netflix’s global TV head Bela Bajaria or Warner Bros. head of drama development Parul Aggarwal. In such a scenario, we may wonder, when will the day come when Hollywood will break free from its preconceived notions about India? (These are the personal views of the author.)
Kaveri Bamjai Journalist and Writer [email protected]