The most important question in the Election season is what Bollywood thinks about the state of our nation- obviously!
If one is to believe our Facebook timeline, feelings of nationalism and patriotism run highest during Election and IPL season. Everyone is worried about the nation, and believes that mera bharat can be made mahaan by selecting the right leader (even if they disagree vehemently on who that is). Rhetoric and bombast is at an all time high, as is a feeling of pride at everything desi.
We ourselves have been struggling with the definition of Indianness and national pride over this past issue. What is nationalism? Where does patriotism emerge from? What separates North Indian Hindu rhetoric from true Indian-ness?
At times like these, we find it easiest to fall back upon the oldest trope in the world for answers- What Would Karan Johan Do- or more accurately, how does Bollywood deal with the topic at hand?
Ten Manoj Kumar, three Aamir Khan and five Sunny Deol movies later, we’ve finally arrived upon the true definition of nationalism as per Bollywood, and its not pretty. Here’s what we discovered:
2. Foreign women are wanton trollopes, easily reformed by the speechification of true-blue Jaats. It is often too late for them though, since he’s given his heart to a desi kudi.
3. Nothing angers an Indian more than a foreigner making a flippant remark about his motherland. That is the moment when he/she forgets all decorum and lets people know exactly which culture in the world is the oldest and the greatest. Sometimes the easiest way to do it is through song.
4. Foreign culture itself – it’s not the best is it? There are plenty of great places to break into song, but there’s also the “drugs”, the SEX, the parents who don’t love their children, all the things people worry about when going for their peaceful vacation to the Swiss Alps.
6. Can you blame us for our prejudices though? The world is a unjust place for a brown man, with instances of racism wherever he goes- on the football field or in the classroom, and definitely by the TSA.
7. Perhaps all of this racism is because he insists on speaking in Hindi to all the nationalities in the world, even if he is world famous super cop on hunt for clown-criminal in Chicago?
8. Pity the racist remarks against him have not stopped him from indulging in his own casual racism, especially against those ‘scary’ African Americans!
9. Fun fact. Its not just the foreigners. The North Indian has never tried to speak a word of another language, whether he’s stuck in Kolkata or Chennai in a film.
10. Speaking of which, don’t even get us started on regional stereotypes. Just watch 2 States for a gory enactment of those.
11. Indian politicians are inherently corrupt (this one’s true). You can make out exactly how corrupt they are by how designer their glasses and spiffy their Nehru-vests are.
12. There are some good politicos though, usually among the younger ones. Whatever our film fraternity may think of RaGa, they do like his prototype- a passably good looking foreign-returned young leader who is smarter than the rest. He’s the one who’s here to shake the system.
13. If you’re a old and principled politician however, chances are you will be the unfortunate casualty of an explosion or bullet meant for the younger protagonist.
14. Indian contractors and engineers- also corrupt, often in cahoots with the Bvlgari wearing politician. Their corruption often symbolized by the size of their waists.
15. The Indian Police? It is the most corrupt of all! Their corruption scale is the oiliness of their hair.
16. And the less said about our courts the better! All they’re good for is tareekh par tareekh par tareekh . (Good thing then that our protagonist is a veritable Robin Hood do-gooder).
17. You know who is not corrupt? The firebrand Indian journalist. She’s unafraid, that minx. Unafraid of being seen without make up in simple handloom sarees.
18. She is also the rare journalist who covers a story herself, writes the copy, and presents it on television (finding time to lecture unsuspecting passers-by in the midst of it all!)
19. Chekov’s Uniform: If a famous side actor is playing a character in a uniform but is billed as “Special Appearance”, chances are he will be martyred in the line of duty right before the Interval.
20. Not much can solve the ills of our nation – except perhaps a candle-lit vigil at the India Gate?
Ultimately though, our country will be OK. Our youth and their ill-conceived pyramid schemes will see to it.
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