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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

One Tax To Rule Them All

This is the 35th installment of Rhyme and Reason, my weekly set of limericks for the Sunday Times of India…

The Binary Fallacy

This is an essay I wrote last week for the magazine I edit, Pragati. 1 A few days ago, a…

Here’s What It Means To Not Own Your Body

This is the fourth installment of The Rationalist, my column for the Times of India. A century ago, when India…

Whose Money is it Anyway?

This is the 37th installment of Lighthouse, my monthly column for BLink, a supplement of the Hindu Business Line. The…

The Seen and the Unseen: Episodes 11 to 16

As usual, I’ve been lazy about mirroring my weekly podcast, The Seen and the Unseen, on this site. So I’ll…

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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