Week 8 – The Juxtaposition Of Hostility And Kindness
Hi everyone and welcome back to my blog!
Movie Analysis Overview
As promised, I have completed the movie analysis part of my project to provide my project with an additional layer of culture analysis. Because most Indian movies do not have a political or social commentary on the North or South India divide, it was a little difficult to pick movies that would truly demonstrate what I was looking for, or at least have some inspiration from the inter-ethnic tensions that exist in India. Thus the five movies I picked were the following (in the order that I had watched them): Chennai Express (2013), Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981), Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (1993), Mr. and Mrs. Iyer (2002), and Roja (1992). My list continued to change as I watched more movies as well so that I could be more inclusive to a broader range of experiences. For example, Ek Duuje Ke Liye is a Hindi (Hindi is a North Indian language) remake of a South Indian movie; Ek Duuje Ke Liye was also created by South Indian directors with some South Indian actors. Ultimately, these movies, especially because of their popularity, either now or at the time that it was released, helped me understand what stereotypes or expectations that Indians and Indian Americans were exposed to.
Overall, what I discovered while watching these movies surprised me. The only movie that I had known and initially thought of for my movie analysis was the Hindi movie Chennai Express because it has received a lot of attention for its portrayal of South Indians. The comedy in this movie hinges on stereotypes and narrows down the experience of North and South Indians alike with unrealistic situations and dialogue. Although movies typically should have some leeway in order to create a dynamic and entertaining story, some of these issues were fairly blatant with name-calling and the colorism that arises when the villains are darker-skinned South Indians. I found this especially interesting because some of my interviewees had also discussed these exact stereotypes and concepts.
Other than Chennai Express, although the other movies noted the differences between North and South Indians, they did not exacerbate the differences and stereotypes for humor or entertainment. Instead, they showed how people, instead of being so hostile, could have more kindness and empathy for others and learn about each other’s culture. For example, in Mr. and Mrs. Iyer, the main conflict was about religious discrimination in India, but it was depicted with religiously and ethnically diverse characters that showed the other micro-tensions that existed within the Indian community. This movie showed how people can work together to overcome internalized prejudices, and the other movies were equally similar.
Most of the movies that I watched were romance films, with Roja also having a political thriller aspect, and as a result, the divide between North and South India isn’t something that viewers would typically think about or notice. On initial inspection and looking at the basic movie plot, most movies showed that the divide in culture, language, and values was universally apparent. However, to see the deeper connections and meaning of the North and South Indian divide in the movies, viewers would need to take another step in analyzing the movie, something that wouldn’t be done often.
I am currently still comparing and consolidating notes on the movies, but I am also working on the “haunting” aspect of my research by seeing how the divide has been portrayed in these movies over the years. In the next few weeks, I will be beginning to wrap up my project by finalizing my analysis of the movies and interviews as well as drafting my paper.
Thank you so much for reading, and see you next week!