Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Well, Manipur doesn't want your movies anyway.

Today I want to link you to an absolutely ripping piece by Deepanjana Pal in Firstpost. She's one of the few online, filmi writers who has really hammered the production of Priyanka Chopra Starring in and as Mary Kom for their tone deafness on the role ethnicity places in the Mary Kom story.

Perhaps it's expecting too much of Bollywood, which is ultimately a commercial film industry and not obliged to promote national integration, but a film like Mary Kom could have gone a long way to indicate to both Northeast Indian as well as mainland Indian audiences that differences need to respected and accepted; embraced even.

Instead, Kom is being paraded around the country as part of the film's publicity campaign, possibly because the publicity team is well aware that whether or not the film releases in Manipur, Mary Kom needs the stamp of legitimacy from the real person. It's not just because the film is Kom's life. The decision to cast Chopra as Kom suggests the distorted view that Manipur needs to conform to a mainland vision of what makes an Indian, even after winning the country an Olympic medal.

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