Sunday, June 20, 2004

A great movie turned good turned mediocre.
Just came back from watching Terminal. As the title suggests - the movie started on a high note, then lost its magic midway and then almost stretched it to the point of accommodating an entire sequel within itself. I don't know why it happened - some of the biggest names associated with Hollywood were attached with this venture and yet ... Ahem! Anyway there are enough reviews available for this movie and I have no intensions of adding on to the already long list. Instead, I shall focus my discussion on something that irked me slightly, specially in the latter half of the film - the stereotypical depiction of Indians. One of the major characters of the movie, a janitor played by Kumar Pallana, was shown mopping floors, talking in the standardized Indian accent and also doing juggling acts for the protagonists (which I found ludicrous). This makes me think back on some of the other appearances of Indians in mainstream Hollywood films (and no Jug Mundra does not fall in that category):

1. Amrish Puri in Indiana Jones
2. Om Puri in Wolf
3. Vijay Amritraj in Octopusy (but that was a home production)
4. The family in Matrix Revolutions
5. The twins in the latest Harry Potter
6. Naseeruddin Shah in LXG
7. Sarita Choudhury in The Perfect Murder and Mississippi Masala(again I am not going to count Kama Sutra)
8. Kumar Pallana again in Royal Tanenbaums
9. Persis Khambatta in Star Trek
10. Ayesha Dharkar in Start Wars II
11. Ajay Naidu in Office Space
12. I.S. Johar in Lawrence of Arabia (courtesy Gayatri)

I am not counting the lots like City of Joy and Gandhi(coz it was based in India), Day After Tomorrow and the forthcoming Harold and Kumar ...

The point is that in most of these movies the characters played by Indians were of little or no importance or strongly typecasted. That is sad. Hmmmm!

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