"Anti-Indian" Indiana Jones

I don’t think that every famous and admired story writer or director has only good/brilliant movies to their credit. I’m sure each one of them has one or more movies which they are ashamed of writing or directing. The ones who provoked me to write this post are still living in the illusion that its another wonderful and different creation of their remarkable skills. They advertise the “work of art” using sentences like “The movie which broke all the rules and changed the film industry”!!! Maybe they think that any art they dish up would be lapped up by the public without any criticism and from the hype about the movie I gather they have managed to pull it off. I’m talking about the crap called “Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom“. (Maybe I’m not the first one to write such a strong criticism against the movie as I have not yet researched into the reviews that movie had received and also I believe some sane people are still out there in the industry).
I think Mr.George Lucas (yeah the guy behind Star Wars) the story writer and Mr.Steven Spielberg (yeah yeah the Jurassic Park guy) the director, should hide this movie in question in their biographies and their later real works of art are a compensation to the torture they inflicted on the audience with this Indiana Jones sequel. After hearing so many people rave about the famous movie I decided to download and watch all three. I liked the first one “Indiana Jones and Raiders of Lost Ark“. Infact I think its the source of inspiration for most of the action sequences and damsel in distress scenes of Bollywood, Tollywood et al. It was an enjoyable movie with every imaginable twist in action sequence and drama. Then I started the 2nd sequel. It turned out the movie’s story is set in India and had our own Amrish Puri and Roshan Seth starring in it. (How did Amrish Puri agree to act such a role? Just for Hollywood fame?) I wont describe the plot and lengthen my post. An Indian village was shown where people spoke god knows which language and of course few spoke English!!!!!! The most disgusting scene of the movie and which made me scream out of indignation”Is THIS a Spielberg creation? What was he thinking? Shame Mr.Spielberg” was a dinner scene at the Pankot palace of Bhanpur. In this scene, 1st dish to be served was “snake surprise”. A huge boa was served and when its stomach was cut lots of little snakes crawled out and people aka Indians ate that. Then next on menu were beetles whose shells Indians cracked and slurped the insides with the heroine (Kate Capshaw) gaping at them and ready to puke. Are you too feeling gross? Wait, there’s more. Then the heroin asked for soup seeing such food and she was served soup with eyeballs in it. The dessert was a monkey’s head on a cup with head split and Indians eating its brain with spoon just like icecream. I’m ready to puke now!

Maybe if we really ate that stuff, George Bush wouldn’t have blamed us for price rise. Then maybe SPCA and PETA would have targeted us!!

More absurd and demeaning scenes of a cult of “Thugees” (whatever that means!) who were Kali worshipers were shown. (I think its the practice of sacrifice to Ma Kali that fascinates Western people and inspires them to cook up gory stories). People were made to drink human blood and were thus hypnotized to follow the cult leader, Amrish Puri. He was shown to punish by digging his fingers right into the offender’s bare chest and grab his heart out!!!! By the love of god, that was the height of preposterousness.
Well maybe I’m being too harsh. The mine chase sequence was definitely nicely wrote and shot. But that doesn’t make up for the image portrayed of Indians and their diet. No wonder Western people have strange ideas about India, Indians and their cultural and religious practices, India’s mysticism (e.g. snake charmer found in most cartoons where the snake stands up and is used as a rope to climb or an ascetic on bed of nails or flying carpet). A person like Lucas or Spielberg who are making sci-fi movies should have at least done little bit of research into India before showing such ridiculous and offensive stuff. Neither it can be enjoyed for the sake of fun nor can it be included under artistic license or cinematic license. Any true blue Indian will be enraged at such depiction. I was.

45 thoughts on “"Anti-Indian" Indiana Jones

  1. I m sure i would hv totally augmented your “indiana jones” bashing if i had seen the movie .. but u hv given me reason enough now .After all , who wouldn’t mind giving bolly flicks a miss and tearing apart a “firangi picture” instead ..

  2. I’m mildly surprised Spielberg didn’t throw a snake-charmer in there. You’ll be interested to know that the Indian government refused to let Spielberg film there becuase they were so offended by the script.

  3. oh my god..i havent seen any of these movies..but after whatever u have said, its really disgusting to know, how cud spielberg depict Indians in such a way ..thanks to you, am never gonna see that movie!

  4. @vaibhav u may like the 4th part..infact i enjoyed the 1st and 3rd part..its 2nd part i have ranted about.

  5. Eeeeks!!! Now I am having second thoughts about watching the movie. And the movie has a 87% tomato reading, but the way you are describing it, it should not have even 10%. And the movie was a hit I guess, but can’t understand why Spielberg had to show Indians as savage animals.
    p.s. Your blog does not allow me to put comments using my wordpress ID. You might have turned off an option. Please check. 🙂

  6. yes most of the people have enjoyed the movie…

    Check out the reviews on these blogs
    davekristen.blogspot.com/2008/05/temple-of-doom-live-blog.html

    flickeringscreen.wordpress.com/2008/05/16/a-retrospective-indiana-jones-and-the-temple-of-doom/

    bigmikesmovieblog.blogspot.com/2008/05/my-body-is-temple-of-doom.html

    Morons!!Racists!! Weirdos!

  7. Well, I havent seen this movie from Indiana Jones series, but Iam not surprised.
    David Lean ( of Lawrence of Arabia fame) was even greater director than Speilberg, I think, and when he portrayed Indians in his famous movie, ” Passage to India”, most of them were hardly beyond stereotypes.
    I was disappointed because I didnt expect Lean to go easy on characterization especially when movie was India centric.
    I think it’s never easy to not stereotype for outsiders..it requires hell lot of research, involvement of local talent & open mind to go beyond stereotyping in depicting characters outside of your own culture.
    Most of the filmmakers, including big ones, dont have time for that, I suspect.

  8. @Lallopallo..welcome to my blog.I have heard about the movie but didnt see it and I think I wont now. Big shots think they have the artistic license to portray anything in any way they feel or think.Only few do their homework before making any movie.

  9. eeks that sounds gross! Most of the stuff mentioned in the movie are out of directors imagination no scientific base at all (at least that what I heard.. I havent seen any in the series)

  10. @Balu yes its ofcourse Spielberg’s over fertile imagination. One would think atleast a director of his calibre would do lil bit of research n would show facts in his movie.

  11. Pingback: Nominations So Far… « Visceral Observations

  12. hmmm… seems to be a horrible film to watch.. the western people can never understand our culture until they live here for certain time period… and I will skip as I already have long list of film to watch and download.. thanks for the info Reema 🙂

    Reema: U r welcome!

  13. Well the heart ripping scene makes me think that they were talking about red indians.. u know the mayans are pretty famous for that… maybe they wanted to show something americans could connect with…
    and come on.. its not like we don’t show lies and stereotype foreigners and nri’s in indian movies… americans are all shown as dumb or half witted and the girls are shown to throw themselves at every guy they see.. and lets thank god that there are no chinese people in our movies cuz everyone here believes that they eat lizzards, babies and whatnot…
    don’t u think they would be offended if they saw that? While I’m not saying that showing these things is right… but I wanted to tell you that we are no less in the stereotyping game…

  14. Hey Reema… of all Indy Jones movies… this was the one I didnt like… !!!!

    But hey… its not a certificate of India or Indians !!!!! Its just a movie….

    I dont know… for a movie things are beefed and changed made silly… criticise it !!! I dont know but it has got nothing to do with being Indian and hating the movie… is it ??

    • See, I think there are certain expectations from a good film maker..that he would deliver a good quality movie. Otherwise whats the difference between Farhan Akhtar and David Dhawan?

  15. I think Spielberg got his oriental people all mixed up. There is no need to take it personally though. Indiana Jones is of that particular genre that people see the movie in that perspective, sort of make believe.

  16. Spielberg has always rubbed people in India the wrong, remember the Alien-ET controversy involving Satyajit Ray. Having said that, why blame only Spielberg? There his no doubt that his deceptions of India and Indians ranged from the outright silly to the outrageously revolting. But at he has the excuse of not being an Indian. What about Amrish Puri, however, how on earth did he agree to do a role which had no relation to facts and was quite demeaning? Was the lure of Hollywood fame too much to refuse?

  17. Have you heard of Left Hand Tantra? This movie is based on some of the practices of Left Hand Tantra that were prevailing in India (and probably still does in some remote corners). In fact a lot of temples in those days had this influence and Adi Sankara was known to have worked with them to abolish the evil usage of divine power. The movie makes reference to 3 stones called the Sankara’s stone which has immense divine power. There is also a village in the Himalayas where a similar styled stone, the shivalinga is the idol. Not sure if you know about any of these, but if you do, you will know what this movie is about. It isn’t Anti-Indian, it has just shown a part of India in a “Movie”ish way.

  18. Spielberg is a great director, he has dealt with all kinds of genres from sci fi to epic world war films. indiana jones series is a pure commercial action adventure stuff….so logically they will add whatever they can to spice it up for the intended audience and that was for the american audience. we all know how well informed our american friends are about the rest of the world.
    we all wud have seen American Pie series of movies… it wud be extremely stupid of me to think the whole of america is jus like the way its shown in that movie. now same goes for indiana jones. they have shown india or some people in india eating snakes and monkey heads… .. we still have people in india eating dead bodies… dead humans…. but thats a minority ..but its still a fact. i think people around the world are well informed about india now than 20 years back….. they know we are much more than snake charmers , land of the elephants ..kama sutra and…spirituality….
    fact is everyone starts with stereotypes….. hollywood does this to everybody…it happened to the African american community…hispanics….
    the success of a filmmaker is to make the audience react to his work…. and i think indiana jones did that pretty well….. some like it some don’t.
    cheers
    pradeep

  19. nice article….
    its a must read article!!
    only indians keep quiet at these things!!
    jus imagine if our neighboring countries are portrayed in this view….their reaction!!

  20. I’ve always hated this film….:D
    worst was the eating habits of Indians as portrayed by them…
    actually things havn’t changed much even now…. only the films that strengthen the stereotypes about us, work well in the West. Slumdog fulfilled all the criteria… poverty, slums, call centers….

  21. I have seen the movie and just like you – found it repulsive. It is really sad to see two hollywood greats dredge to such pathetic levels.
    BTW : a small piece of trivia. In Bengal, in early 20th century, there used to be a group called “The Thuggies”. These people were dacoits who used to kill people using a longish piece of cloth with a stone tied at one end which acted like a lasso. They were also great followers of Kali – the goddess of raw primeval force. Guess the “hollow-wood” directors picked this up and put this into this movie.

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