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Identifying Oneself as Part of Two Different Cultures, Katherine Fallon

DDLJ is only the second Bollywood movie I have ever watched, but I enjoyed it very much, in fact, more than I expected. I predicted the “cheesy” aspects may become a little tiring after a while, but I was actually quite impressed with the movie and wholeheartedly embraced the “cheese.” Although DDLJ presents many of the stereotypical aspects of Bollywood we discussed in class, I was also very intrigued by the fact that some of the characters were used to nuance arguments regarding Westernization versus retaining one’s Indian identity. Simran’s mother, Lajwanti, is a very good example. She seems to be a perfect wife (based on stereotypes): quiet, obedient, and cares for her husband, despite the fact that he was chosen for her by her parents. In this regard, the viewer assumes her to be an example of anti-Westernization. Although she emulates the wife character I assume to be common in Bollywood films, Lajwanti also deviates from the norm and is made more realistic through her desire for her daughter to accomplish more in life than to become a wife in an arranged marriage, proving that Indian/Western identities are not so straightforward. Lajwanti complies with the ideals expected of her by Indian society, but still retains personal morals based on personal feeling and experiences in the Western world.
          Lajwanti is also interesting when one compares her to Raj, who is quite Westernized compared to the parents in the Singh family. Lajwanti and Raj seem to represent opposite ends on a spectrum: Lajwanti retains much of her Indian identity and Raj is very Westernized in comparison to his peers in India. It is clear, however, that both are influenced by both cultures. Lajwanti, as explained above, has higher ideals for Simran than to be forced into marriage; Raj, though he embraces many Western norms and ideals, makes it clear that he identifies himself as “Hindustani” and that he still has connections with other Indians and Indian culture in general. It is important to understand these points of view because they are very culturally different, but are not completely ignorant of each other. One’s identity cannot be contained to a single cultural group, proving that we must learn to cooperate with each other and make efforts to understand one another’s perspectives. 

Filed by kefallon at January 30th, 2013 under Uncategorized

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