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Truly Indian? – Urann Chan

Right from the start, this idea of being truly Hindustani or Indian plays an important role. Babuji is seen feeding pigeons and although it is something he has done everyday for many years, he still feels alienated from both the pigeons and overall London culture. He clearly misses India and longs for his return “home.” At certain points of the movie, he even criticizes what London has done to its fellow Indian natives such as Raj. In one scene, Raj cons his way into Babuji’s store in order to grab a case of beer; in doing so, he not only ended up disrespecting Babuji but also the Goddess Laksmi (when he breaks the statue). Babuji questions Raj’s Indian background, blaming his actions on the location of his upbringing as opposed to his character. This raises several questions regarding his own family, especially his daughters, who were all raised in London. Does Babuji secretly view his daughters, especially Simran, the same way as he views Raj? And if so, was the arranged marriage a secret plot to try and preserve the family’s traditional Indian values? The irony in all of this comes from the scene in which Babuji’s family returns home to India. We, as the audience, would expect everyone to be completely immersed in the Indian culture, but as the movie progresses, that is not the case. Kuljit, Simran’s husband-to-be, is introduced in a way that epitomizes the Old West; he had just finished hunting and  comes bustling through these double saloon doors with what seems to be his “gang.” Simran’s aunt is introduced as a maiden who looking for a western lover. Although there are many other examples of westernization, these two examples contradict what Babuji had initially thought about his native India. So the questions that remain are: What does it mean to be truly Hindustani? And is it confirmed by internal or external values?

Filed by uchan at January 28th, 2013 under Uncategorized

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