Since when is ‘Indian’ an Insult?

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In the February 2007 issue, as Vidya Balan’s weakness, Filmfare listed “Her Indian appeal.” However, that isn’t the only incident that has hinted at the word “Indian” having negative connotations. Lately, “Indian” is looked down upon – it’s almost a derogatory term. Continuing with the Vidya example, she is an Indian actress, working in the Indian movie industry, and the viewers are overwhelmingly desi. Therefore, how is this, in any sense, a weakness? Not all actresses need to be hip, modern, and Western. It is part of Vidya’s image to be the girl-next-door. Since she works in Hindi movies, there is no reason for her to be anything besides Indian. If anybody wants to argue, they should look at all her success (without any skin-show, I might add) and reconsider.

While Western recognition is fine and even delightful, it should not be the ultimate goal, but rather like a side-benefit. Furthermore, Western recognition will come when Indians start acknowledging the true worth of their industry themselves. After all, if we ourselves insult the culture present in our movies as being backward, how can we expect them to see it as anything different? Learn to embrace the wonderful crossroads India is experiencing: a colorful blend of old culture and new technology, old traditions and new fashions, old values and new trends. If any movie manages to capture this spirit, then it should be applauded – not insulted for the being “too Indian.”

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