While American TV Does Bollywood, Bollywood Does….?

Here’s about 1:15 of a song called “Dil Dance Maare” from the new Hindi film, Tashan. The two male leads are the currently ubiquitous Askhay Kumar, and Saif Ali Khan. The female lead is Kareena Kapoor:

The lyrics are a little… well… I don’t really know how to describe them:

White white face dheke dil woh beating fast sasura [When I see a 'white white' face, my heart starts beating fast]
Jaan se maare reeee eehhheeee

Aare
White white face dheke dil woh beating fast sasura
Jaan se maare re
Ohhhooo
White white face dheke

Aahh…
White white face dheke dil woh beating fast sasura
Jaan se maare re
Oh very… oh very…
Oh very happy in my heart
Dil dance maare re
Very happy in my heart, dil dance maare re
Dil dance maare dance maare
Dil yeh dance maare
Oh very happy in my heart
Dil dance maare re

It’s not entirely an arbitrary expression of a self-hating colonial mentality (or, as Fela Kuti said, “colo-mentality”); in the context of the film, the characters apparently come across an American film crew while traveling around India, and join the production — hence the blond wigs and so on. (My wife was watching the DVD in the other room, and she called me in when this song came on: you have to see this.)

Still, am I the only one to find the song/video at once deeply embarrassing and oddly catchy? I’ve been finding myself singing it for comic effect for family and friends this week.

236 thoughts on “While American TV Does Bollywood, Bollywood Does….?

  1. There you go being dishonest again. You are just not a very credible person. First you wrote that the taiwanese told you to your face (how rude) that they found your skin color repulsive, and then just a few posts later you wrote that the taiwanese “looked up to indians”! Of course I didnt take your irrational statement at “face value” and asked you to explain why they looked up to indians when they found indians physically repulsive and India was dirt poor compared to Taiwan. Since you didn’t have an answer your brain blew a fuse and you went nuts.

    No Prema, first of all you lie…continuously and exaggerate to a point that your statements are comical. Let’s stop lying about your name first, shall we? And I’m always asked if I’m Indian or pakistani (lol) or most people just know I’m Indian (as I can tell in a discussion with them) and very often latino and during my stay in Taiwan I was asked if I was philipino often (and that’s just a few)…I think I’ve had this discussion with you already but let me humor myself although you will go “nuts” as usual and start changing your username and lying about my experience – I looked up the discussion that you allude and where it came from:

    http://www.sepiamutiny.com/sepia/archives/004482.html

    The article was about an East Asian looking Indian winning Indian idol and discussion came about the racism that east asian looking people might encounter. An east asian desi, or maybe a nondesi, said something like – I was made fun of b/c of how I looked —- My parents I know do not like the east asian look, nor do any of my family members. I have heard desis that I know Yet, wow they very economically successful.

    Now, I related to SM my experience for a year in Taiwan — where I said I was praised continuously for my looks – my eyes and my nose people said they wanted – and sometimes (much less so, but again who knows what people are thinking) told that “too bad your skin is dark” – often this was followed by but “pyow lien” which means beautiful. So I was showing the nuances of my experience as a dark-skinned indian there;

    I also stated to you that my chinese friends all would make comments about how fat and ugly white people always were. That’s my experience too and the white people that I knew, when I was teaching there, told me that they often heard in chinese rude comments about their looks and weight – funny isn’t it? I also know that there are other perceptions of white people in Taiwan – of course; Just like there are many perceptions of Indians. I was also told by many people, how much they admired Indian’s culture – are there Taiwanese that hate Indian culture – probably, but why should I not also bring about the compliments? Now I’ll quote to you from the previous post when a commentator (again who was East Asian looking) was made fun of by desis b/c of his looks.

    You should go back to that link by the way and read your idiot lies.

  2. Prema -

    my argument from a year ago still stand – here was my argument to you back them -

    Prema says – You are just being naive, gullible and delusional. On the one hand you acknowledge taiwanese racism towards dark-skinned races and on the other you idiotically claim that they look up to indians!

    I say to you prema, same thing I said last year – oh and I still have my same username too -

    you are obviously digging yourself deeper into your own ignorant logic – Why do you think that they are mutually exclusive. I’ve noticed the same crap happening all the time in India –

    As OSN claims, she experienced a lot of harrassment looking different as Chinese-Indian, yet I’ve met desis who admire characteristics that they stereotype Chinese as having and at the same time tell me that they don’t like smaller eyes. For the Tiawanese man who sold me my egg and noodles I had 5 people tell me how much they admired Indians — either way, it was nice to hear but i also know how easily these things can change; maybe they were saying it to sound nice to my face, then again maybe that’s how they really felt; – I didn’t take these things too seriously, only I realize the world is complicated and people are much more intelligent than you give them credit for. You are right on par with the blind, India “shining” people.

    Another situation that illustrates the point – I’m with my family in India and they’ll say some nice trait about Jewish people and then say something stereotypically negative.

    Prema – your statement is useless – face it. And your only deluding yourself if you think Taiwanese do not negatively stereotype Japanese — unless of course my experience living there for year is just hogwash. And you continually ignore what I tell you all the good things I heard about Indians.

    The reason I want to present these different experiences, both good and bad, b/c I don’t want my experience in East Asia to be stereotyped to what people like you already have in your head. That’s just not true. I’m sure you would love it if I told you everyday that I was spat on and called ugly and told Indians stink and people rubbed their tummies to me (lol!) all the time, but that’s not the reality I experience. And as I told you, it would be wrong of me to paint it otherwise.

    By the way, I’m on the board of a Vietnamese-American org, where I’m at, and my close friend is the ED, and I’ve heard from people within the org about the whole Indians are model minority crap. From their perspective they see Indian-Americans as very successful and as the ED said, “we have a long way to go for the success of the INdian community”. Wow Prema, can you believe that the Vietnamese-Americans aren’t so stupidly blinded by colorism, despite and let me quote you, that in a world where prosperity and skin color are metrics that assign status, desis, who are the darkest-skinned of asians and the most impoverished, are also the most disrespected. that people could actually admire desis. I guess that some Asians aren’t as ignorant as you.

    I realize you will ignore realities like that – that just doesn’t fit into your world where Indians are seen as the scum of Asia (as I have asked you what proof do you have? and what is the point of your statement? I think it reflects so negatively on the rest of Asia – like as if they are some rabid, prejudicial idiots that read from your hot-headed Korean male manual). As I pointed to the Viet-Am ED, that the whole success of Indians shouldn’t be stereotyped – I pointed out to her that the only Indians that were initially let into the country could only be professionals so that adds a lot to their apparent “success” in this country and it’s different in other countries that had different immigration rules and as for Viet-Amers immigrants – they are immigrants who were running away from a war-torn nation and find themselves in a completely different socio-economic situation than the large number of desis that entered this country with phds. It’s unfortunate Prema you can’t tone down your rabid, delusionary, raging, b/c I know underneath a lot of crap there’s a lot of intelligent stuff you pull out of your butt.

  3. I think mostly when people (i.e. North Indians) call actors like Bips, Nandita etc.. dark (when gvng examples of “dark”-skinned actors in the Indian Film industry) they are making the statement on the basis of what they usually see around them and not being derogatory. Indians do have different perception of skin color according to the region to which they belong. It’s just geography! But whatever the skin color what some Indians can not stand is being compared to an African-American, as I discovered from this girl (from AP) who was deeply offended and almost hysterical when out shopping with one of our American black friend. The American girl simply made a remark that whatever shade of make-up looks good on her would look good on my friend as well since they have the same skin color. She just couldn’t/wouldn’t accept that!! (I on the other hand had no idea how to react to such hypocrisy, though now, 2 yrs down the line I have the exact words to would use in such a situation).

  4. I’m always asked if I’m Indian or pakistani (lol)…….. and very often latino and during my stay in Taiwan I was asked if I was philipino often (and that’s just a few)…….my experience for a year in Taiwan — where I said I was praised continuously for my looks – my eyes and my nose people said they wanted -

    You want us to take all this at “face value”, right? ! Fuggedaboutit! Latinos and filipinos (and even pakistanis) are lighter skinned than the stereotypical indian and you are a very dark skinned indian, and yet are mistaken for them? Yeah right. And if the taiwanese thought you looked filipino why the hell would they “praise you continuously” for your eyes, your nose and your looks? Everyone knows that the chinese look down on filipinos. They dont see anything beautiful in their eyes, nose or complexion. A very dark skinned filipino is what you are saying you looked like to the taiwanese. Thats the definition of ugly to chinese eyes.

    You are insulting our intelligence and making yourself look pathetic. You really should be embarrassed.

  5. Bollyhood, didnt know you were such a bigot against colored people. Why does SM let this kind of racism pass?

  6. You want us to take all this at “face value”, right? ! Fuggedaboutit! Latinos and filipinos (and even pakistanis) are lighter skinned than the stereotypical indian and you are a very dark skinned indian, and yet are mistaken for them? Yeah right. And if the taiwanese thought you looked filipino why the hell would they “praise you continuously” for your eyes, your nose and your looks? Everyone knows that the chinese look down on filipinos. They dont see anything beautiful in their eyes, nose or complexion. A very dark skinned filipino is what you are saying you looked like to the taiwanese. Thats the definition of ugly to chinese eyes.

    Wow, Prema – calm down – stop going “nuts” again like you did last year. I have no other response to you – you have proven yourself dumb and like I said to you a year ago, you continue to dig yourself deeper into nonsense; I can’t respond to nonsense so I’ll refrain from trying to make sense of your trolling idiocy.

  7. I think mostly when people (i.e. North Indians) call actors like Bips, Nandita etc.. dark (when gvng examples of “dark”-skinned actors in the Indian Film industry) they are making the statement on the basis of what they usually see around them and not being derogatory.

    They are not being derogatory, just delusional. Brainwashed by Bollywood. Its the height of delusion for you to claim that what one “usually sees around” in U.P., Bihar etc are lighter skinned people than these actresses you mentioned. Its unbelievable how stubbornly and shamelessly so many desis cling to their self-loathing racial fantasies.

  8. Hollywood white/jewish actors that could pass for Desi 1) Jeff Goldblum: 2) Jeremy Piven. When i saw him in that Discovery Channel special on INdia, he blended in quite well.

    OK, both are Jewish in this case.

  9. you have proven yourself dumb and like I said to you a year ago, you continue to dig yourself deeper into nonsense;

    That pretty accurately describes what you just did to yourself ;)

    Its a good idea for you to slither off and hide now. The more you try to defend yourself the more you embarrass yourself.

  10. And how delusional r u???? That u are not even ready to accept that Yes people up north have lighter skin!! No they aren’t more intelligent, beautiful, smarter or anything else but most of them (and having spent 21 years of life in Delhi I think I can state this confidently enough) have skin a few shades lighter. That’s it!! There’s nothing more to it. India has people of (almost) every shade, one is not more or less of an Indian because of it or do u presume that just because someone has lighter skin that person will inevitably be biased towards darker skin tones??? Why such defensiveness?

  11. And how delusional r u???? That u are not even ready to accept that Yes people up north have lighter skin!!

    Hahaha…..

  12. I think mostly when people (i.e. North Indians) call actors like Bips, Nandita etc.. dark (when gvng examples of “dark”-skinned actors in the Indian Film industry) they are making the statement on the basis of what they usually see around them and not being derogatory. Indians do have different perception of skin color according to the region to which they belong. It’s just geography! But whatever the skin color what some Indians can not stand is being compared to an African-American, as I discovered from this girl (from AP) who was deeply offended and almost hysterical when out shopping with one of our American black friend. The American girl simply made a remark that whatever shade of make-up looks good on her would look good on my friend as well since they have the same skin color. She just couldn’t/wouldn’t accept that!! (I on the other hand had no idea how to react to such hypocrisy, though now, 2 yrs down the line I have the exact words to would use in such a situation).

    Your American black friend must have been astonished! I assume she was pretty offended.

  13. @ PS,

    There was no way not to be! It was an embarrassing and shameful episode to witness. And hard for me to react since I was very new in the country then whereas my fellow desi had already been here for 4 years (and thus should hv been more respectful but…)

  14. Hollywood white/jewish actors that could pass for Desi 1) Jeff Goldblum: 2) Jeremy Piven. When i saw him in that Discovery Channel special on INdia, he blended in quite well.

    As a child in NY, I was surrounded by desis of all colors, and I thought anyone with black,black hair was desi – I was sure Eric Estrada in chips was desi and of course Elvis was desi.

  15. There was no way not to be! It was an embarrassing and shameful episode to witness. And hard for me to react since I was very new in the country then whereas my fellow desi had already been here for 4 years (and thus should hv been more respectful but…)

    I wonder what they teach in schools in India about black africans or african americans if it comes up at all in world history? I wonder how they teach it too – as there seems to a lot of disrespect for africans and AAs wins in general; But I’ve also met desis who admire different AAs too. It’ll be interesting to see if Obama b/comes President. I know my own dad who has said negative stereotypes about blacks, is going to vote for Obama.

  16. I wonder what they teach in schools in India about black africans or african americans if it comes up at all in world history?

    With all due respect, why don’t order some books from different Indian boards and schools, some of the websites for Doon School/ Springdales (elite end member) etc. will let you know of their books, and they may cost few dollars to buy them. Why don’t you go to NCERT websites, as CBSE affilated board shools(middle of the road schools) use them often. And you will know.

    There are about 30 (or more than 30) educational governing bodies at the school level in India – one for each state, and then some national ones in addition to them. There are schools that teach from some of the best books in the world, some teach from NCERT books (which are mixed bag, with governments with their own agenda twisting them, but, still they do have some very good books), and some teach in their own regional languages (they do sometimes have very good books, some times not). There are schools in India that same exams and syllabi like private schools in UK – with O levels, A levels, and then there are schools that are taught out in open (without bathrooms, and buildings) in small villages, and no printed books, but mostly verbal education.

    With so much educational diversity in India due to economics, and languages, making a comment “What they teach in India?” is almost a foolhardy question. The answer is: It all depends, where in India, what economic class, and no one can give you a straight answer in all honesty.

  17. Kush,

    Actually I was hoping people like Kris would give their experience about what they were taught in world history about africa or african americans. I wasn’t assuming that everyone is taught the same…and if someone gave an experience about what they were taught, I wouldn’t assume that is the end all of everyone’s experiences. And of course I could do some research on the matter and maybe one day I will, but why not get people’s responses on their experiences about what they were taught on Africans instead of me delving into research on Wed afternoon – on the specific topic of Africans in the indian education system when I’m procrastinating enough at work? And as I said what it states officially is taught, is different than “how” it was taught and that’s something I was wondering too. Why don’t I order books? – umm, I think I’d rather just ask on a blog for now.

  18. PS,

    Almost all publishing house of the world have India edition (like McGraw Hill is Tata McGraw Hill). A book that is US $60 here, is Rs. 60 there (a factor of 40 or so cheaper). Sometimes States in India fund translation of well known books in their languages.

    There are schools that use these elistist books, but most of them not. In elite scholls that use, Tata McGraw Hill type books, students debate finer points of history and all.

    However, most of students in India cannot afford books – any books. Even in IITs, they have book banks for semester loans so that engineering can use expensive engineering books for entire semester.

    In a little village school in UP/ Bihar/ Assam/ Nagaland, where most of the education is verbal, and one book written in their regional language is shared by many students, the topic of Africa/ African Americans and all is of little value to them, and most probably never ever discussed, so their is no misconception to even begin with.

  19. I wonder what they teach in schools in India about black africans or african americans if it comes up at all in world history?

    Here is my Response. note this was in the late 80′s early 90s’ State syllabus. south Indian Metro.

    Slavery in the USA American War of Independence. Abraham Lincoln and American Civil War. Martin Luther King (very brief – maybe two paras) Egyptian civilizations. European conquest of Africa

    Then of course – Mark Twain.

    As far as I know, India does not teach analysis – just “facts”

  20. The Brazilian post that Sandhya wrote reminded me of a recent show on PBS’ Wide Angle series about how college-age kids in Brasil were having to “try out”, in effect, to determine if they were “black” (this involved having an official photo taken and sent to a governing body) so they would be eligible for a much-coveted seat in university as part of a new affirmative action programme. If anyone’s curious, you can read more about the programme and watch the episode online here.

  21. Slavery in the USA American War of Independence. Abraham Lincoln and American Civil War. Martin Luther King (very brief – maybe two paras) Egyptian civilizations. European conquest of Africa

    Then of course – Mark Twain.

    As far as I know, India does not teach analysis – just “facts

    Thanks Melbourne Desi – as far as the analysis thing, that is something that I get when I hear my dad speak of his schooling – I mean basic schooling – before college. I would think in masters or phd or md programs there would have to be analysis.

  22. The Brazilian post that Sandhya wrote reminded me of a recent show on PBS’ Wide Angle series about how college-age kids in Brasil were having to “try out”, in effect, to determine if they were “black” (this involved having an official photo taken and sent to a governing body) so they would be eligible for a much-coveted seat in university as part of a new affirmative action programme. If anyone’s curious, you can read more about the programme and watch the episode online here.

    This is great – very interesting – thanks for sharing. ONe thing I’ve realized is that what “race” you are determined to be depends on what the community at large sees – and so it can vary. In rural NC growing up, I was often told by people that they thought I was native American; In Taiwan, I was so surprised that anyone would think I was filipino, as in my mind filipinos are light-skinned with a different type of eye. For many Taiwanese they saw filipinos as dark skinned with large eyes. Living in different places in the world or traveling, just made me realize how important it is to have a good sense of personal identity b/c your outside identity may change often.

  23. Reg the songs preferring white/goris, there are similar lyrics in the “PAppu can’t dance” song in the new movie Jaane Tu .I don’t know the context but the lyrics say something like “Pappu ki aankhe light blue, Pappu dikhta angrez hai” . So here the preference to whiteys is blatant. Didn’t read all the comments so not sure if someone pointed this out already.

  24. I don’t know the context but the lyrics say something like “Pappu ki aankhe light blue, Pappu dikhta angrez hai” . So here the preference to whiteys is blatant.

    That song has nothing to do with white people. It is……….

    a) A homage to Aamir Khan’s first commercial movie, QSQT, and Aamir Khan made Jaane Tu. Check the choreography similarities between “Papa kehte the………”, and “Pappu can’t dance”.

    b) It is a serious dig at Salman Khan (his dimeanor, physique, and dancing skills – lack off), so serious, that Aamir Khan and Imran Khan had to deny it to the press, and in person to him on TV.

    c) It makes a light hearted fun at westernized, affluent Indians.

  25. “…Hollywood white/jewish actors that could pass for Desi”

    um, how about British white/jewish Peter Sellers in The Party. But he was even more convincing as Detective Clouseau in the Pink Panther.

  26. I don’t know, this song sounds a bit like a parody since they’re wearing wigs. But, I won’t comment on the nature of this video, it was taken out of context and might have been a joke.

  27. I’m so sick of my race being exoticised in Bollywood cinema.

    I am more than just a piece of smooth white flesh!

  28. “Still, am I the only one to find the song/video at once deeply embarrassing and oddly catchy?”

    You are not the only one.

  29. The Indian Subcontinent needs its own Black is beautiful cultural movement…

    Is it even possible?

  30. “The Indian Subcontinent needs its own Black is beautiful cultural movement…”

    I’ve often wondered this myself seeing that so many Hindus (I am writing from a Hindu perspective and can not speak for Muslims, Jains, and etc.) hold Krishna/Vishnu in such high reverence and glorify “his dark and beautiful form” yet have such an everyday dislike for dark skin.

  31. I just would like to share this video i found from clash entitled The Obama Musical Clash featuring the video of Obama Goes Bollywood…Well,guys try see the various ways he is able to communicate and get his message across :- )This is quite interesting…