Friday, January 27, 2006

Don't let this stop you from loving Bollywood (Brown Identity Issues)

So it's not just me! I read this post by amardeep on Sepia Mutiny and I quote:

But in terms of its attitude to skin complexion and actors' facial physiognomy, the recent wave of Anglo-looking actors and actresses suggests it's a no-contest. Or perhaps I should say, it's still a no-contest: Indian actors have always tended to be much lighter-skinned than ordinary Indians, and the projection of 'western lifestyle' has been a part of Indian movie mythology for at least 40 years. And it's always been somewhat troubling to me -- a sign of a lingering colonial mentality.

The difference now, in this era of hybridity-globalization, is that the simulacrum of whiteness is approaching perfection.

Aside from all dem big wurds, I agree completely. I've only watched about 25 Indian films but Mira Nair is the only desi director I've seen who uses brown actors. She lives in Africa. Nuf said.


Amardeep said...

Hey, sorry about the jargon. That last sentence was a little over the top, I know. What I meant was: now Bollywood uses actors who are actually Anglo/white, where before they were more in the range of "white-ish." The mainstreaming of Bollywood movies has something to do with it, as does a new generation of mixed-race actors in the UK.

In an odd way, the new mainstreaming of Bollywood has helped the industry worsen its colonial/self-hating tendencies, when we might have expected them to get smarter.

Still, glad you liked the post.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the satellite viwpoint of india and specially the fact that we haven't actually grown out of Memsahib mentality. but to think that fair dominates because of colonial past is hasty.
Most of the industry and post colonial indian think whitr or fsir is stronger. May be not in south india or east india where being aboriginal is more important thn being fair or dark.
well having well chiseled body architecture I think originates from greeks... and made famous by Eastern european controlled Hollywood after WW2.
may be you should check the flm made from 1978 to 1982 in the film institute of india.
I have been trying to define inida just to know my place in the world and trust it is like an onion ...just layers. i guess you should just concentrate on being an USino. In few years it wud be like trindad.

t.HYPE said...

Thanks for clarifying professor! (Glad you understood my ebonics.)

The residue of colonialism is one of the great enemies of culture for brown people the world over...

soe_eos said...

Not allways!
The biggest star has amitabh bachchan
a brown skinny lanky kind of fella
The biggest female star of that era (70-80's) was a plumpish brown hema maliny.
Even today shahrukh khan is the biggest star and he does not look white.
Maybe amardeeps libby bleeding heart needs more 'wrong' things to rant about.
This said hrithik and aishwarya kind of look white(but dont look anglo more like middle eastern or latino)

t.HYPE said...

soe_eos, I can agree to a point. Amardeep said that too--"whiteish" vs. white. However--and maybe this is just because I'm black and we notice these things--it seems that if 50% of your population is brown. Maybe 50% of your actors should be brown too.

But hey, have you watched BET lately? Most of the girls on there look Latino or half Asian.

soe_eos said...

well t.hypye 60-70% of the actors are brown. that is the point.
If u dont sample all of the movies accross the whole time frame you wouldnt see that, also a point should be noted
there is a thing called parallel cinema that has been running since 60's most educated and older(30 or above usualy) chose to watch that rather than bollywhat.
Bollywood is a pretty much for teenie bopper 'dumb' crowd hence even the name they self appropriated copying hollywood and now increasingly mtv.
parallel cinema rarely had a song or dance sequence, did not have a huge budget but allways had something bollwood didnot a plot.

t.HYPE said...

soe_eos, I'm always up for a challenge. suggest some of the said films and I'll check them out. I won't lie, I do like fluff but I'm not opposed to a film of substance.

Aisha said...

Wow, I didn't know Mira Nair lived in Africa. Cool.:)