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About Amit Varma

Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. His current project is a non-fiction book about the lack of personal and economic freedoms in post-Independence India.




Bastiat Prize 2007 Winner

Recent entries

Searching For Macho

This is the 46th installment of Rhyme and Reason, my weekly set of limericks for the Sunday Times of India…

Immortal Mishtake

This is the 45th installment of Rhyme and Reason, my weekly set of limericks for the Sunday Times of India…

Misogyny is the Oldest Indian Tradition

This is the 40th installment of Lighthouse, my monthly column for BLink, a supplement of the Hindu Business Line. Early…

Beware of the Useful Idiots

This editorial by me appeared today in Pragati. Many of the intellectuals who supported Narendra Modi in 2014 should have…

Bollywood Explains Economics

A few weeks ago, I started a new section in Pragati, the online magazine I edit, called Housefull Economics. The…

01 May, 2007

Torture porn and the Kingdom of the Father

Kira Cochrane has an excellent piece in the Guardian, “For your entertainment,” on the bewildering rise of ‘torture porn,” the “nasty, unrepentant and terrifyingly pointless violence” aimed in women in a lot of new cinema. I get her point: it is easy to imagine a few strange misanthropes enjoying “a man taking a blowtorch to a woman’s face, her eyeball coming out and dangling from the socket.” But when such a film (Hostel) becomes “a massive hit,” you have to wonder what causes its appeal.

Indian films aren’t quite there yet, but our society unleashes subtler horrors on its women. Mrinal Pande, who writes a fortnightly column in Mint, looks at the regressive attitude of the Bachchan family and correctly concludes that in India, “power remains both a primal word and a primal relationship in the Kingdom of the Father, and the individual family unit that defines and showcases that power is rooted in the idea of women being men’s property.”

Indeed, I really can’t think which is worse: being married to a tree, or being married into a family that believes in things like manglikness, and behaves in the manner Pande describes in her column. What is worse is that the Bachchans are such role models across India, and that Amitabh’s attitudes will validate the medieval beliefs of millions of his countrymen. Pah.

(Guardian link via email from Kind Friend.)

Posted by Amit Varma in Arts and entertainment | India

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