“When circumstances throw an American country boy and a Himalayan village belle together, the ‘apple pie’ gets a smattering of ‘masala,’ only to prove that ‘You Can’t Curry Love!'”
That’s from the official synopsis of a film called Americanizing Shelley that’s being released this weekend. It’s a production of something called American Pride Films, and stars Namrata Singh Gujral. It had its premiere at the Nashville Film Festival (wonderfully known as NAFF) a couple of weeks ago. Here’s the trailer:
In the video post here, Michelle Malkin endorses the film, describing a scene that is “highly unpopular in HollyWeird” and says that “for once, it will be worth shelling out the big bucks… to support a movie that supports America.” According to this website, the film is “riling the hate-America brigade.” It interviews Singh Gujral, who says she’s “not a political person,” although as Vinod noted here two years ago, she’s certainly been, er, honored in a political setting. As for the early reviews, the LA Weekly calls the film “minor but sweet,” while the Washington Post dismisses it for “embarrassingly low-rent production values.” Finally, although the film appears made for the mainstream U.S. commercial market, Variety opines that “screenwriter and star Namrata Singh Gujral will probably find her most appreciative aud among young Indian moviegoers who want something outside the arthouse.” Your thoughts?
Okay, I listened to that hindi-ish country song again. Pretty typical radio-friendly ‘pop’ country song, but livened up with the hindi lyrics. First Bollywood Nascar and now this 🙂 Hmmm, this may be the way to beat back the Brit Bhangra hegemony of the diaspora! I like this kind of creativity.
You know t-hype, I think it’s just that broad Peter Sellers comedy and narratives of this kind have been done before so many times, list the movies, it’s done so much, what’s wrong with wanting something original and different, apart from gimpy characterisations and all the rest of it. Plus we’re jaded and bored fuktards, cut us some slack.
WS, who else is a Sikh?
OK, here’s a list of movies made in Britain and America in the last five years which feature the same kind of narrative, scenarios, garish and clumsy ‘Bollywood meets contemporary England / America’ trash aesthetic, featuring stock characters to various degrees of success and gungadin head wagging cliche and stereotype. These are the prevailing stock foundations of commercial diaspora cinema on both sides of the Atlantic. For all of the originality of some of the work, there is lame pandering and laziness of depiction, thought and execution in the others. These are just off the top of my head, and are the syrup that makes you feel sick.
Bend it Like Beckham
Chicken Tikka Masala
Ninaâ€™s Heavenly Delights
Mistress of Spices
Bride and Prejudice
I may have forgotten some. There are things to say for some of them, but in totality, enough to make you groan.
Okay, Red Snapper, I have to disagree a bit with Bend It Like Beckam. When I first saw it, I felt it did a great job of portraying youth! That was the part I liked about it: the feeling of energy and yearning that is so typical of that age. That was the part that really resonated with me, not so much the ‘stock’ characters. It just overflowed with the boundless energy of youth. And, yes, that too is cliched. Still.
Also, the whites are stereotyped in these things, too, but that seems not to touch the nerve of the folks here as much….understandably so.
“I will call you ‘Pinky’ — only”
— that one line makes the film authentic.
Looks like a great, light, funny film.
That’s the one film I think had some originality and freshness MD, as I mentioned. It’s become a kind iof template now.
[quote]For international audiences, she wanted to present America as the multicultural society it is (which she did subtlely)[/quote]
How deceptive? Even the borg consists of millions of assimilated races and species.
By the way, there is hardly a person who doesnt already know that America is a multicultural and multiracial society — and Hollywood cinema depicts that brilliantly. It’s one of the things that fascinates people living abroad about America the most, and they get the sense of this from American movies.
Oh, all right, all right. You people. I give in! I’ll see the movie, although, it ain’t comin’ to Boston, is it?
And, by the way, I am one of the conservatives on this board, so my initial dislike based on the seeing the clips cannot be blamed on ideology! I mean, even the commenters at HotAir weren’t all on board 🙂
So, the Steve Azar/Americanizing Shelley country song is on CMT.com
Is this the first song with such lyrics on CMT? Hmmm….
Punjab is a “himalayan village”, LMAO. Yeah, I would not be Surprised if Michelle Malkin is also going gaga over Mira Nair. The american looney right is close indeed to desi jholawalas who like to dump their milkshakes over evil auntie before cavorting off with Phileas Fogg. what energy!!
Hey, you’ve made a good case for your film, but that’s such a lame question, if something’s not funny, that’s all it is, not that people don’t have a sense of humour.
off-topic, but, here is Bobby Cash. Desi Cowboy. Lives in Dehra Dun, loves Nashville, plays Australia. Did you know there was such a thing as a CMA global award?
I love this kind of stuff.
Americanizing Shelley seems awful. I hated that the statement by the publicity guy. he says “bring me someone who can be an American celebrity. someone like her” points to her down there. the other guy says “but she isn’t American”. great. just great. b/c she is not white therefore she is not American.
my friend asked, ” what makes this movie different from American Desi“?
I wondered what you guys thought.
Michelle Malkin likes this movie!! Pass the barf bag please!
Is Beau Bridges finshed in H’wood?
Bipasha Basu? Most Bolywood actresses. Why so American-centric?
Red Snapper, you simply MUST write your own screenplay…and novel, too! Show these idiots how it SHOULD be done, hai na?
need to check out the new desi brit flick “Cash and Curry” now that looks funny, in a good way.
How so? how exactly are whites being coagulated into misrepresentation?
Friends, this film promotes the friendship values of everyman America. Have you not seen the porno flicks on the walls of Khajuraho? Any sane joe would rather watch this film than what you yindoos regularly dish out. Even our Hollywood trash is better than the art on your temples.
ROFLMAO!!! I didn’t understand what a “troll” was until I read #85. Book me, thanks so much, I needed a good belly laugh!!!
Preston and Stanley were sitting on the back deck of Preston’s 40 footer one night off the coast of L.A. one late evening. Stanley cleared his throat. “I read in Variety the other day that these ” he made quotes in the air “‘Bollywood’ movies are becoming more popular in the US.” Preston took his cigar out of his mouth and spit over the railing. “Yeah, I bet. I can’t even go to Neiman Marcus any more without bumping into a gaggle of chattering brown people from who-gives-a-fuck-is-stan.” “That’s not what I mean. It’s not just them. Even some white audiences are getting interested in…those movies.” Preston grunted and scratched his crotch. “Some people are saying that these movies are going to consistently gross millions of dollars in the US.” “Millions you say?” “Yup.” A silence hung between them for a minute, and then Preston sat forward. “We should make one. But we’ve got to jazz it up. A real Bollywood movie real Americans can love.” Preston started jabbing the air with his cigar. “A backwards Indian girl coming to the US to get right.” “Like Pretty Woman! Becoming respectable! The ugly duckling turning beautiful.” “Yeahhhhhh, I can see it already. We should see if we can get some big-named endorsements from some…pundits. You know, real Americans so the down-home-on-the-farm-Piggly-Wiggly-shopping Joe Sixpack can relate! The pundits will endorse it, and everyone will go see it.” Stanley smiled. “Hot damn Preston! I’ll talk to Suzy tomorrow, try to get Rupert’s people on the phone. I’m smelling success already!”
good one mate
see that’s the reason, I love Bollywood/Indian movies. People from Africa to Far East, from Middle east to Russia like Bollywood movies because they are fed up with watching “The Great American Heroes” saving the world. Bollywood is getting better in technical aspects of film making, with better scripts it can compete with Hollywood. With in a decade or so, I expect Bollywood to give tough competition to Hollywood.
There’s an interesting story behind it, producers were willing to pay denzel to leave the picture, but Julia threatened to leave it if Denzel did. The white woman/black male relationship is so “sacred” in US culture, not even an actor like Denzel could cross it.
It has to lose the song and dance to do so. And it’s not just a “musical style” of filmmaking, the old ginger rogers and fred aistaire films made song and dance story element, they didn’t just plop music videos in the middle of the film that add little to no narrative component. If Bollywood wants to move on Hollywood, they have to return to the Syd Field storytelling model.
Bombay Cinaema already kicks Hollywood’s ass I’d say, in terms of sheer quantity and distribution.
Hmmmm…is that really the theme of all the movies? I never could figure out all that theme and symbolism stuff in English class (when in doubt, just guess the poem’s about death, that’s how I winged it). So here I thought the theme was: “Male Chauvinist Pigs who underestimate your intelligence, overestimate the size/appeal of their dicks, and can’t satisfy you emotionally…” That isn’t restricted to Asian guys… And hey, everyone knows women don’t give a crap about a guy’s looks…that’s why the chick’s usually the better looking of the couple.
“It has to lose the song and dance to do so”
then its not bollywood.
Michael Medved, Michelle Malkin, and the Washington Times? Pretty much says it all right there. God they are pathetic.
michelle malkin gives the worst endorsement since:
john wayne gacy says, “it’s so discordantly reactionary i laughed til i dressed up like a clown!”
country music – bollywood fusion? yuckhy yuckhy.
Ok.. Indians are not stupid ! The art on the temples is the tradition..
And the reason hollywood movies are so much better is because hollywood directors have so much more money.. Most bollywood films cost 1 – 2 million dollars; compare that too a Hollywood film that costs $100 million..
“…Namrata was also recently declared “Babe-Of-The-Week”, a title she shares with Heather Locklear, Jessica Simpson and Faith Hill, among others. ” though they don’t say who declared her as such.
the trailer says the guy who directed also directed sopranos according to imdb, dude only directed one episode – an episode from Sopranos first season … lol
I haven’t seen the movie, but I’d be happy to see it. It looks silly and trashy but entertaining. Does it have a conservative, right wing subtext? I’ll withhold judgment until I’ve seen it.
Who cares if Bollywood gives Hollywood any competition? It is what it is, and I don’t want to change it. Indian film is amazing in it’s own right, and so is Hollywood. The two don’t need to be compared. People who don’t like Bollywood and want to make the films “better” just don’t get it, in my opinion.
Does anyone else suspect that all these supporters of the movie are here on a astroturfing call from a brown conservative website, or am I being paranoid?
maybe, you know, they just disagree with commenters here. and, actually dug the movie. why is that so hard for you to believe? why must everyone agree with the mainstream ALL the time?
must be that paranoia thing you mentioned.
Jeez… more “sikh-face”. Untidy turban? Check. Fake beard? Check. Act like a clown? Check. Classic.
It cant be that hard to find real Sikh actors can it?
told you so
Who would want to act with that kind of script? And why would they care? The faker the better since these characters are basically in turbanface anyway.
This movie = Ewwwww!
blockquote>Because I’m interested in working in film, I see the situation a bit differently. I see a woman my age who just wrote, produced, and starred in an independent film that scored national and international distribution!
T-hype, I missed this before. I went to a screening a few years ago of Ashwin Kumar’s “The Little Terrorist”, when it was up for an Oscar. Commercially-viable was the keyword thrown around. In the US, commercially viable = white-palatability. Your average movie goer isn’t an oxford film student looking for usage of mis-en-scene, and subtle applications of the Kuloshov effect, it’s a plumber who’s been working for 60 hours, wanting to relax. Or its a 14 year old that wants to see sh*t blow up.
When a producer gets a script, of any ethnic tilt, the first question is ” Is
‘in’? “, and then following implied inquiry is, “how does it relate to us?” Us being: white America. Why is it the namesake screenplay focuses much more on the child character, when the book focuses on the mother character…? “How does it relate to US” is the question its answering.
Films are huge investments of time, money, energy, most people that work on a set are pissed off and irate, directors are demanding, actors are pains in the asses in between takes, it’s really not the jolly time the DVD features makes it out to be, in most cases. No one wants to invest anything unless they’re somewhat sure of the return. With all the bad movies out there in the world, believe me, no one goes into it expecting it to be “bad” or “suck”
So, while this movie is vomit-worthy, it’s no surprise that it got made.
Where did you see it Seema?
I guess this is just another sign that mainstream Hollywood wants to “get its India on”. I seriously thought the trend would be over by now.
Anyway, “Americanizing Shelley” looks like a rehash of basically every desi-encounters-modern-world movie ever made. The trailer is just awful. I hope the movie sinks like a rock at the box office.
Hollywood already had one ‘bollywood hit’ and didn’t realize it — The Titanic.
You had your secret lovers from the wrong side of the tracks, arranged marriage to an arrogant rich idiot, a controlling mother, hero was poor, but charming wheeler-dealer and looked good cleaned up..there was a dance sequence on the lower deck, everybody was wearing wet clothes sooner or later.. Oh, and you had Celine Dion’s song which was on every single radio station whether you wanted to hear it or not! 🙂
Only difference would’ve been in a bollywood movie, the old lady wouldn’t have thrown the blue diamond back into the ocean, she would’ve ..(I dunno.. fill in the blank 🙂
Okay, I just nuked over a DOZEN comments which came from six different handles/usernames, each from the same IP. Guess what they all had in common? They thought this movie was AWESOME! Mira Shah, Stanfordwhatever et al…viral marketing is great, but state your opinion ONCE– don’t spam us and “game” the discussion just because it ain’t going your way.
hahaha @ SMIntern
Nice try guys!
I’m in my thirties and am saving for a deposit on a house, no time to write, I have a life to lead. I have time to criticise bad art though, it’s my human rights.
I saw this film in DC on May 6 at DuPont Circle. It was NOT political really at all. She does say she thinks Americans are not as bad as she thought at the end of the movie than she thought at the start of the movie and some conservative Sikhs said they do not like the film because she is “Americanized” a little in her accent and habits after swearing early in the film she would not be. That’s it for the “politics” of the film—far less political than Robbin Williams in “Moscow on the Hudson” in 1984. Yes there are some stereotypes but that is sort of what the film is about in the first place and not being from India I have no idea who might be offended if anyone. It was cute and funny but slow in some spots. More funny I suppose to people from India in the small audience who got some of the Bollywood references that I did not and they laughed a lot at a routine on Indian names like “sweetie” and “hottie” and they laughed about “dancing around trees” which is I was told a Bollywood trademark. I laughed when she said all white people sound the same to her and an African-American actor said, “tell me about it.” None of this was knee-slapping comedy but it was cute and enjoyable for an independent little film. I cannot believe in 99 comments above almost no one had seen the film but were reviewing a trailer with such sharp opinions. This film is a threat to no one, it is just mildly entertaining. If you know people from India, it might be funny to you. If not, you just threw away nine dollars or whatever.