Saturday, May 22, 2010

Of Bollywood and Amrika

Having been in the US for a few years, I have kind of developed this love for Indian-American movies, or just the way 2 cultures tend to portray each other . The amazing assumptions , the great ideas and of course the overpowering imagination.

I'll start with Hyderabad Blues - the first movie I probably saw which dealt with an Indian guy's opinion of India after returning back. To an extent, the film was quite honest - and one particular point that amazed me was when a girl in India describes the USA as ' Fast cars, everyone carries a gun' and perhaps that is the best starting point for this topic.

Most of us - on both sides of the globe, have derived our image of India or the US based on films and somehow some films really mess it up.

Like, in Chachi 420, an America-returned guy is shown as a complete idiot - to American Chai, where an Indian who comes to America (FOB as is popularly called :P), is shown as a sycophant - and in general very irritating.

In fact, one of the very first movies- our very own Ram Lakhan had a nice scene which said 'Arre Chacha, America mein maine 12 saal dance hi to kiya hai' - which gave an impression of the US (link - it's at 5:48 ) . Then, there are some movies which show as if an Indian kid raised in the US is so much similar to someone in India, that it again does not seem to be too believable.

On the other hand, American films have been pretty mixed about Indians or FOB - as called in popular culture. The film American Chai really takes a dig at people like me- who've come from India. While i don't agree completely with the portrayal, I must say- that it's not really untrue as well. There are some characteristics in all of us- which I am sure American raised kids or Americans in general find funny :) and I think we should understand and accept that.

The movie Flavors is one movie that really seems to capture a lot of 'flavors' literally of India life. From the I-know-it-all consultant to the bored housewife, from the parents of a super busy engineer, to the American girl who chooses to marry an Indian guy, a film that does not really bluff too much.

One more film that particularly piqued my interest was Green Card Fever , which , though not being directly connected to student life, gave a glimpse of the struggle here ( I was told by a gentleman that in the eighties, the food vs phone was indeed a dilemma which a lot of really poor Indians faced) , as also the various funny incidents described in the movie.

I would not deny that there are a lot of films made in the USA which look at India as a land where people still use elephants as a daily mode of transportation :) - however, the focus is really not on such films.

I believe, that while all films will most definitely have some kind of bias towards one section of the population, a well researched film with intelligent humor is definitely a refreshing change and especially to people like us, who've both experienced and best and worst of the east and west.

As far as the poster is concerned, I haven't really seen that film :) => but I did like the message , Nothing is what it appears to be !

Monday, May 03, 2010

The Classic Problem

This has been one of the most challenging situations- however big or small it might be- I always find myself struggling with this thing.

The situation: You can do action A or action B. A has a set of rewards A1 and a set of problems A2. So does B. The chances of maximizing A1 or B1 is subject to a lot of uncertain factors. So, what do you do?

My typical solution to this problem involves asking about a 100 people the same Q, taking their opinion and finally doing what I initially thought was the correct thing to do anyways. In most cases, people tend to complicate the situation more than they resolve it. Still, it's emotionally better to get people's opinion.

I am sure if you tell this to my mother, she'll agree 100 % to this scenario. She's been the tie breaker more often than not and she absolutely dislikes it.

So , what's the solution to this problem? I found this answer in an email forward. Solution is to flip a coin . But hey, that's not it.

1.Decide that if it's heads, you'll do A and if it's tails, you'll do B.
2.Flip the coin.
3. When the coin is in the air, freeze the moment and think what you hoped the coin would fall as .
4.You got what you need to do! Go for it! And DON'T look at the coin!!!