*Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen the first movie, STOP READING!*
The cinematography and overall visuals of the film are absolutely GORGEOUS! (DUH.)
Prabhas and Anushka are the OTP-est OTP ever and I really need them to be together foreva eva. (But like, really though… How can I make this happen?)
The soundtrack and background score are perfection. If you pay attention to the lyrics closely, you’ll notice that they actually help carry the narrative in certain high points of the film.
The fight scenes are BRILLIANT. I’m really not one to appreciate guts and gore but daaaaaamn. Each maneuver and battle tactic is so creative and well thought out.
Finding out why Kattappa killed Baahubali will crush your damn soul. (My heart still hurts…)
Almost the entire first half had me giggling like a five year old. There was a ton of light hearted humor that really helped keep the story from dragging.
Overall, I just really fucking loved this movie. I usually end up hating sequels, but this was a fabulous wrap up of an epic saga.
Whether you care for the story or not, you really should go and watch this in a theater just to enjoy the majestic visuals and the grandeur of another SS. Rajamouli masterpiece! (This sentence barely makes any sense, BUT I’M SO HYPE YA’LL!)
Lol at people who think Indian movies are “weird” or “amusing,” who don’t take our cinematic masterpieces seriously because they’re looking at us through a very Eurocentric lens, who assume all movies are in Hindi and fit the stereotypical “Bollywood” flavor. India releases 900 to 1000 films every year with most if not all of them being released IN THEATERS. I’ve seen Indian movies that address mental illness, being gay, and feminism better than American films ever have and probably ever will. Rethink your racism. Don’t be so shocked that we’re storytellers.
My mum says the first movie I ever saw was ROJA(1992). But I was a baby then [a film loving baby right from the beginning], so I barely have any memory of it. The first Tamil movie I vividly remember watching is BAASHHA(1995) and coming back home all starry-eyed only to keep repeating those dialogues like a maniac for a long long time [don’t forget those glasses, I did that too]. I don’t think my mum ever regretted introducing me to movies so much until then— and to this day, it still continues!!
As the #reclaimthebindi week comes to an end tomorrow, I think it’s really important for us to recognize shadeism and colourism within the desi community.
South Indian women are constantly told that the ideal beauty standard is the “Punjabi girl” one (thin, fair-skinned with straight brown hair) and are termed “ugly and dark” by North Indian men when they don’t fall within this narrow definition of beauty. South Indian movies cast fair-skinned North Indian girls as the heroines, completely disregarding the fact that there are a lot of beautiful South Indian women that aren’t fair-skinned and light-eyed. Hell, even North Indians play South Indian characters in Indian movies! (Like Alia Bhatt playing a Tamil Brahmin girl in Two States. There isn’t a dearth of South Indian, particularly Tamilians, to play the part).
South Indian women, particularly the ones who are fair-skinned, are fetishized by North Indian men who make disgusting statements such as. “Wow, how come you’re South Indian and fair-skinned?” and then later claim that we should be flatted because “it was a compliment”. (Apparently being called fair is a compliment.) The same North Indian males will act like they’re doing South Indian women a damn favour by pursuing them and throwing them a bunch of racist “compliments”. Dark-skinned South Indian women are just dismissed as “dark-skinned Madrasis”, even though the South consists of five different states, all with distinct languages, cultures, food habits. (Also, Madrasi is a slur, and a completely inappropriate way to refer to Tamilians). Fair-skinned South Indian women who are smart are fetishized as the “ideal” women, beauty coupled with brains, while dark-skinned South Indian women are constantly are dismissed as “ugly, dark, hairy and boring”.
It’s important that we all respect diversity. South India is not one homogeneous culture, just the way North Indian culture isn’t homogeneous either. Support dark-skinned South Indians, not just the North Indian-passing, fair-skinned ones. The desi community is fraught with discrimination based on skin colour and it’s very important for all of us to be aware of it, and speak against it.
Craving Some Diasporic Love? Check out the following movies
Sometimes when I get homesick or just sick of predominantly white films, I like to pull these movies out - people who look like me, living in my world, doing the things that I do. For those of you who feel not quite settled and permanently restless, check out my favorite films about the South Asian diaspora (in no particular order):
East is East (1999)
All about one Pakistani family living in 1970s London and dealing with identity, disobedience, and cultural tradition. Includes queer characters and one fantastic dance solo from Archie Panjabi. TW: domestic violence, abuse, violence against women.
Also check out the sequel West is West (2010).
Anita & Me (2002)
Possibly the prettiest movie on this list, Anita & Me is based off of the Meera Syal book of the same name. Stumbling upon this movie was a major turning point in my cultural understanding. You will never have a more empathetic moment than when Meena, the 9 year-old protagonist, moans about not having friends to which her mother replies, “Beta, you don’t need friends - you have your father and me.”
Bend It Like Beckham (2002)
Um, duh. This movie is a classic and ridiculously quotable (“What family would want a daughter-in-law who can run around kicking football all day but can’t make round chapatis?”) A definite must-watch for every sports movie, girl power, filmy fan.
It’s a Wonderful Afterlife (2010)
This movie is so triumphant with its sweet, genuine, chubby heroine, her empathetic mother, and the ridiculously handsome childhood friend that comes back into both of their lives. The humor is black and über panjabi. From the director of Bend it Like Beckham.
Touch of Pink (2004)
Touch of Pink is a breath of fresh air amongst the latent homophobia of a lot of Desi culture. It’s about Jimi Mistry (who has yet to do something actually terrible with the exception of Love Guru, idk wat that was) trying to tell his conservative Indian mother that he’s fallen in love with a white English man. It’s equal measures painful and sweet.
Also check out the White Teeth bbc miniseries based on the novel by Zadie Smith. It’s got everything - sex, religion, war, racism. The series spans multiple generations and delves into the difficulties of being a foreigner in a strange land and dealing with conflicts of identity. Definitely worth watching for the prowess of Om Puri, Archie Panjabi, and James Mcavoy and for the beauty of Chirstopher Simpson (not pictured for some reason).
Where’s the Party Yaar (Dude, Where’s the Party) (2003)
Kal Penn’s first movie and filmed in my hometown (big ups to H-town)! It’s about an American-grown Desi dealing with his somewhat “uncool” cousin and navigating college life. Lots of love and acceptance. (I think it’s all on youtube in parts)
American Desi (2001)
Easily the campiest film on this list, American Desi is an amateur comedy about an Indian-American boy who tries to throw off the cultural traditions of his family only to find consolation in them. It’s a story about learning to be alright and definitely worth watching for the scene where he tries to buy naan at the store.
Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)
I wasn’t sure whether I should include this or not since it’s not a movie that would normally crop up amongst the more highbrow films on this list, but Harold and Kumar is def one of my favorite movies of all time. It’s a stoner comedy that engages humorously with parental expectations and latent racism. I appreciated the little jokes that nodded to my own Indian-American and diasporic experiences. PLUS John Cho is a beautiful beautiful man who is not scared to speak his mind on PoC representation and white-washing in Hollywood films, so, you know, watch it for him too.
The Namesake (2006)
Unsurprisingly, three of the four American films listed here have Kal Penn - who is fantastic, as ever, in this gorgeous film. Less comedy this time and more quiet reflection. The Namesake spans two generations and looks critically at the idea of lineage. Irfan Khan is amazing, as ever. Definitely worth watching if you haven’t already done so.
I would’ve added the Canadian film Bollywood/Hollywood but it doesn’t really engage with the diaspora element.