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Indian Unity 1965 vs. 1998

One interesting thing about Bollywood film is how it interprets India throughout history. In 1965, for example, in Guide, Bollywood embraces the idea of a unified but diverse India. The tour guide speaks numerous Indian languages, as well as English, and much of it takes place around Indian ruins and artifacts. The ending is also very Indian-style secular, in that adopting the spirituality of others is a good thing because it helps others in the end.

Amar Akbar Anthony is interesting because, while it promotes Indian secularism, it also implies that there is a need to promote such a thing. The three brothers are separated from their mother (Mother India), and she is quite literally blind to them, and only when they come together to help their mother does she regain her sight. Each brother is a good man, and the message is that even if it’s difficult, Indians should pull together and remember that they are all Indian.

Dil Se is the darkest take on Indian unity. It implies that there is more trouble than people think in India. The people who are well-off ignore these issues while those in certain states suffer under a nation they aren’t truly sure is theres. That one of the protagonists was a terrorist says a lot about the film’s sympathies. It seemed that, upon the fifty year anniversary of Indian Independence, the film wanted Indians to go back and question what India truly should be and whether it can hold.

Filed by Hallie Appel at May 8th, 2013 under Uncategorized

While the changing expression of Indian unity can be seen as a shift in Indian self image, the changes in technology and methods of spreading information also have a large sway on the political portrayal. At the time Guide was made, the government held a lot of influence in what the different parts of the nation could hear, another part was the media, in which such films were included, and finally a small amount could actually be heard through people one knew in other parts of the country.
As communication increased on a national and global scale, differences between separate parts of the country became more apparent, leading to people considering the dissonance in films such as Amar, Akbar, Anthony. Finally, in the modern day, resources have made the dissemination of information rapid and much more personal, allowing the less fortunate to share their stories or have their stories shared with much less resistance by the routes they would have had to use to inform others in the time of Guide. This allowed greater perspective for people who were living in a sheltered part of India, and more realism in the media.

Comment by jeremyap — May 8, 2013 @ 6:52 pm

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