Padmavati, Karni Sena and the crisis of Hinduism

By Saswat Pattanayak The outrage against Karni Sena is entirely misplaced. These hooligans will eventually be forgiven by their gods because they know not what they do. The real dangerous elements however are those who claim to know better, and yet fervently endorse Padmavati – whether as a fictional character, a historical figure, or as a movie script awaiting screening. In all shape, way, and form, Rani Padmini legacy is a textbook instance of Islamophobia. If the practice of Sati was/is justified by the Hindus as the chaste wife syndrome, the practice of Jauhar which Padmini was said to have…

Jab Tak Hai Jaan :: A tribute to Yash Chopra

By Saswat Pattanayak Yash Chopra’s last, Jab Tak Hai Jaan is by far his greatest creation. In many ways, it is one of the grandest experiments in the history of Hindi cinema. However, the aspects that are revolutionary about this movie have not really been deliberated upon by the critics so far. For one, Jab Tak Hai Jaan addresses ageism and sexism that affect a large section of Indian audience. Piyasree Dasgupta for FirstPost writes, “a self proclaimed 25-year-old, who looks 40, gets to kiss a girl who seems to have walked out of Vogue….(the girl) despite all her Mercedes…

Lage Raho Munna Bhai: The Mahatma Strikes Back!

Well, some news is actually good! Like the news that Munna Bhai is back with his friend Circuit to the silver screen! In an unflinching tribute to his beloved late father Sunil Dutt, who is much missed in this brilliant sequel, Sanjay Dutt has made more than acting come alive. Writer-Director Raju Hirani has once again excelled in popularizing the conventionally absurd, eulogizing the most susceptible, and sketching raw feelings with innate deftness of a master filmmaker. None of the Mumbai films released this year made much sense this year, with the sole exception of Madhur Bhandarkar’s Corporate, which dealt…

Cultural (Dis)respects of Hip Hop

Village Voice has this story on Young South Asians’ Love-Hate Relationship with Hip-Hop’s New Indian Beats Mix This by Tina Chadha talks about the tensions in the music industry of hip hop and myths of cultural purity. Belly dancing is Middle Eastern, not Indian. But you wouldn’t know from videos of Indian-influenced hip-hop. Ever since Timbaland accidentally bought an Indian CD five years ago, artists from Missy Elliott to Bubba Sparxxx to Justin Timberlake have turned to outdated Indian tracks to make crowds gyrate. Although they may not know Bollywood from bhajans, and their lyrics sometimes contain misguided stereotypes, they’re…