Why does Bollywood crave validation from abroad?

Amitabh Bachchan is quoted as saying in the Times of India:

India’s economic progress is largely responsible for the Indian films getting recognised abroad. When the economy is doing well, everything connected with the country, its food, culture, colour, art and films get noticed.

I have a question: Are Indian films getting “recognised abroad?” To the best of my admittedly minuscule knowledge, only the diaspora really cares much for it, and as the diaspora has grown, overseas markets have become prominent. But non-Indians don’t really notice it, and the stories that the international press occasionally does on Bollywood treat it as exotica.

I have another question: Why do Bollywood people crave recognition abroad? Are the millions of Indian who watch their films not validation enough?

Update: DeCruz Pulikottil writes in:

I would have never expected to have been greeted by an African man inside a Costco (huge wholesale store) and asked if I was Indian. When I said yes, he had a broad smile on his face and asked if I like Bollywood movies. Apparently, Bollywood movies are all the rage in Africa. If you google online for Romanian Bollywood dance troupe you’ll find a group of all Romanians who pick up their dance moves from Bollywood movies who dance at weddings and other functions. Bollywood is insanely popular in Eastern Europe. My Cambodian friend tells me how back in the home country, they consistently watch Bollywood movies that do show. Even here, at a private university in Southern California that has one other Indian person that attends here, I popped in a Bollywood movie (Rang de Basanti) and many white people enjoyed it. So yeah, I’m answering your question. Bollywood is becoming immensely popular overseas and not just among the diaspora.

Hmm. And when I was in Singapore a millennium ago for a conference, a local girl sidled up to me and said, “I like Shah Rukh Khan .” Then she fluttered her eyelashes. Ever the naive nerd, I had no idea why she was telling me that. I think I said something to the effect of “Pah!” And then I toodled off to look for a bookshop.

A sort of trivia

Neha Dhupia says about her character in Delhii Heights:

She is stuck in a sort of trivia where she has to balance her personal and professional life.

In case some of you quizzers out there are suddenly excited, calm down: I can only assume she meant “dilemma.” Sigh.

Update: Quizzers Rishi and Quizman write in to inform me that perhaps Ms Dhupia is somewhat erudite, and was making a scholarly reference to a possible origin of the word “trivia”: in Latin, Trivium means “the meeting place of three roads, especially as a place of public resort.” [Source.]

Ya, right!

Hiding the author

In a feature in the Guardian by Geraldine Bedell, AL Kennedy is quoted as saying:

The authors I first loved all had initials – JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, E Nesbit, ee cummings – and I actively didn’t want to know who they were or have them get in the way of my enjoying their story and their voice.

Indeed, that is quite the problem with our times, especially in India: too much of the focus is on the author. That’s because most of us don’t read.

Celina Jaitley’s bedsheet

I have concluded that the only way for the Hindustan Times to beat the Times of India is to publish HT Tabloid, a section on their website, in their print edition. Millions will instantly subscribe for the joy of reading such prose early in the morning:

Despite delivering a dud like Red at Box Office, sultry Celina is enjoying a sound sleep at home these days. The lady has apparently found solace in her favourite bed sheet and rolls into her bed whenever she gets time just to get the feel of it.

The actress accepts that she is obsessed with a particular brand of bed sheet. Says the siren- “I can compromise with anything but not my bed sheets”.

Capacious! We are also told that “she even goes to the extent of carrying her favourite bed sheets wherever she goes.” Her bedsheets aren’t the only thing she carries, though. She is quoted as saying:

Yes, it has to be my puppy whom I carry everywhere. I think he gives me the best company. I can’t carry a big dog so I have chosen a puppy who keeps me busy when I am free.

I protest. It is my right as a citizen of India to see Celina Jaitley carry a big dog. A really big dog. A dog bigger than herself, with glasses and manicured paw-nails. Please organise.

(Previous posts with Purplocity/Verniness: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36.)

On love poems

WH Auden once wrote:

The girl whose boyfriend starts writing her love poems should be on her guard. Perhaps he really does love her, but one thing is certain: while he was writing his poems he was not thinking of her but of his own feelings about her and that is suspicious. Let her remember St Augustine’s confession of his feelings after the death of someone he loved very much: “I would rather have been deprived of my friend than of my grief.”

I get this feeling about personal bloggers who bare their passions on their blogs as well: their affection may matter more to them than the object of their affections, and if they write about breaking-up, it is the feeling of loss that is important, and not the loss itself, which shall seem trivial when the next target comes along.

But then, it could be argued that a boyfriend who sends you love poems is better than a boyfriend who doesn’t know what poetry is, and whose idea of romance is running his elbow by your side in a cinema hall, and caressing your soft arm mistaking it for something else. Of course, poets also do that, but at least they can put a sheen to it:

It was your arm, my love, that I touched in the dark
I won’t make this mistake in the park.

(Link via PrufrockTwo.)

The “capri-clad stems” of Katrina Kaif

The colour of the day is purple. I find it hard to believe that the prose below could have been published in all seriousness. It is so monstrous that it is beyond parody.

Today, Katrina Kaif looks like a horse.

No, not a nag but a fine, stunning thoroughbred, of equine grace and striking stature as she perches down from leggy heights and yawns.

It’s been a long, tiring press day, and the gorgeous Katrina canters around to keep herself awake, and insists she must leave. She wraps her plain white shirt tighter around herself, sits down casually crossing those magnificent capri-clad stems, and tosses me a smile. Ah, she’s finally deigned to let me pester. [Link.]

I suppose it takes a special skill to write like this. Perhaps they have tuition classes in the small towns of India for it, conducted in various vernacular languages. Shudder!

But I can imagine why the writer felt the need to go beyond ordinary prose. Katrina Kaif is stunning, in my opinion the hottest lady in Bollywood today. I am utterly baffled why, when she had reportedly begun going around with Salman Khan, Salman was reportedly running after Aishwarya Rai. Dude, there is no comparison. Pah!

(Link via email from reader Annette.

Previous posts with Purplocity/Verniness: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35.)

Anand Jon and euphemisms

We’ll only know if Anand Jon is guilty of the charges against him when the trial is done, but if there was a law against silly euphemisms, his attorney, one Ronald Richards, would be in serious trouble. Consider the gentleman’s defence of Jon:

These girls fly in for model jobs after months of dialogue filled with flirtation, they have sexual interaction and if he doesn’t put them in the show… then sometime later they claim they had unwanted sex.

“Sexual interaction?” “Unwanted sex?” Dude?

And it’s interesting how a section of the Indian media has jumped to Jon’s defence simply because he is an Indian celebrity in the US. So we have stories with quotes from celebs saying things like “Oh, I met him once at a party, and he seemed so polite. I’m sure he couldn’t have done this!” Joy.

Madhur Bhandarkar should make a film on this.

Rakhi Sawant ke Bouncer?

That, apparently, is the name of a new show featuring Rakhi Sawant. CNN-IBN has a video, which I bring you below the fold, that features a gent named Paras Tomar trying to find out more about the show. At one point, he points out that she is wearing too many clothes, and she replies:

Tho kya bikini pehnu?

Hmm. Judging by the camera angles on that feature, CNN-IBN would no doubt feel even that was too much. Have a look:

On heroes

Frank Miller says about his childhood:

This was the era of Ben-Hur and that really captured the country’s imagination. I saw Jason and the Argonauts and the Hercules movies and that sort of thing, and then one weekend my parents took my brother and me to the latest, which was The 300 Spartans.

I learned first that the story of Thermopylae was real, then as the film went on I had to take my father aside and ask him if the good guys were going to lose. I’d never heard of such a thing, and when they fell it was a formative moment for me.

I can’t wait to watch 300. Immense pestilence must be unleashed. Here are some reviews. And the trailer is below the fold.

And have you read Sin City yet? If not you haven’t lived, and arguably don’t deserve to, a matter that must be settled one way or another. Read it!