India Uncut

This blog has moved to its own domain. Please visit for the all-new India Uncut and bookmark it. The new site has much more content and some new sections, and you can read about them here and here. You can subscribe to full RSS feeds of all the sections from here. This blogspot site will no longer be updated, except in case of emergencies, if the main site suffers a prolonged outage. Thanks - Amit.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Come, validate us

I had blogged a week ago about how the Indian media’s collective obsession with winning an Oscar for the Best Foreign Language Film is unseemly, and reveals our obsession for validation from the West. “Would Lagaan have been any better a film if it had won that Oscar, or any worse if it hadn’t been chosen as India’s entry?” I’d asked then. And now I ask, will the Meenakshi temple be any more of a great monument if it manages to get voted among the seven wonders of the world, or any less if it misses out?

The newspapers have been writing about it, TV channels are doing features, luminaries and culture czars are giving interviews about how other Indian monuments should also have been on the shortlist, along with the Taj and the Meenakshi temple, and everybody I come across seems to regard this as a matter of national pride. National pride? Based on an internet poll? When I mentioned to a friend how ridiculous I found this hype, he nodded thoughtfully and remarked, “but yaar, at least the Taj should make it to the final seven.” I can imagine the editorials if it doesn’t.

We’re not the only country obsessing over this, by the way. Read this.

More on Shwaas

J Ramanand writes in to comment on my post on Shwaas. He agrees with Girish Shahane, whom I’d quoted in that post, that the film, by itself, wasn’t all that hot. But he places it in context.

“Where Shwaas broke new ground for me,” he writes, “was in the context of Marathi cinema and being able to achieve commercial success without the usual set of songs/elaborate explanation of ideas etc that films usually think they need for survival.” And about the Oscar, he says, “I feel strongly about the rest [of the world] slotting Indian films under Bollywood – a Foreign Language Oscar would go a long way in changing that perception, so I don't mind it much.”
amit varma, 9:01 AM| write to me | permalink | homepage

I recommend: