I used to be the quintessential NRI and was sent abroad, in my case, to France in order to continue my higher education. I was asked to choose between France or Italy. I chose France because…well, d-uh obviously!
The south of France and Paris are areas I know. Having had lived in Aix- en- Provence for a year to learn French, I enjoyed going on numerous road trips to other southern states over the weekends with my friends, and then having had moved to Paris to pursue a higher education in Fine Arts and Textile design for 4 years, I am quite well aware of how all social classes in France behave in pretty much all situations.
This article is long overdue and is something I have been meaning to address for a while. I honestly do not want to offend my Indian brethren and most of all Bollywood. But this message is solely for Bollywood.
Bollywood – you are doing well currently. Your people have been travelling to numerous ‘outdoor’ locations to make films and are leaving a mark all over the globe. It’s nice to see the world through Desi eyes on screen. While some of your directors are highly talented individuals, some are…. Never mind.
I, like most desi at heart, enjoy watching quality Indian films. But there are certain elements in films that need to be respected, especially when it comes to showing other cultures on screen.
What annoyed the hell out of me was the portrayal of the lovely, Indian girl who lives in Paris, like Vijaylakshmi from the film Queen or Shyra from the recent Befikre. Please explain to me why these girls have to shout cusswords at the local residents at the top of their voices? It's absolutely cringeworthy!
France is the epitome of class. The language is supposed to sound like music to one's ears. Granted that the French are known to be a passionate people, but passion in not picking a fight in public and using choice swear words. The kind of attitude displayed by Bollywood’s Indo-French girls on screen is, according to me and most French, extremely embarrassing. It’s mostly 13-15 year old teenagers who might behave in this manner when mentally/emotionally disturbed and unfortunately our heroines are playing the roles of full grown, supposedly strong adult women.
Let me tell you that screaming cusswords or having a fight where you have to be physically restrained and letting the entire arrondissement know that the man you just slept with has a very tiny ‘friend’ is not class and does not mean that you are fluent in French. It’s crass, obnoxious and definitely not sexy.
Here’s a bit of 'muft ka gyaan': If you're making a cross-cultural film, please spend a year or so studying the social behavior and norms of the culture you intend to showcase in your film. Not doing so is just making the aforementioned Indian girls look mentally disturbed and in dire need of a straightjacket.
Also, language is not just limited to speaking. Body language varies from culture to culture as well. As directors, you guys need to study all of these subtleties and have your actors do the same.
Anyways, now that this is off my chest, I’d like to say kudos to the cinematography. It was lovely seeing France again albeit on the big screen.