There’s still nothing that is making me go “WOW! That’s Exciting!” But, you know, there’s some tiny little things that are kind of cool. (If I missed a “wow! exciting!” story, let me know in the comments!)
Multiple sources had big headlines about Demi Moore shooting an Indian film! Oh Wow, So Exciting!!!! And then you read the details and, if you are me, you go “wait, how is this an Indian film? And also, I think I am a little insulted!”
The director is Tabrez Noorani, who worked as a “line producer” on Slumdog Millionaire, Sense8, Eat Pray Love, and basically every other big Hollywood production that has filmed in India in the past 17 years, going all the way back to Holy Smoke in 1999. So, he’s Hollywood’s “Guy in India”, then? The local who can help them figure out how to navigate? But, fine, there will be a lot of Indian people in the film, and it’s dealing with an important topic for India, human trafficking.
But you know what really really bothers me? Tabrez says he is eager to make a film about this issue because it hasn’t been addressed before in Indian film. Only, IT SO TOTALLY HAS!!!! Let’s see, there is: Ghajini, Dil Aashna Hai, Agneepath, Highway, Koyla, Udta Punjab, Sadak, Umrao Jaan and basically every other Tawaif movie,-really any movie where a woman is threatened with being sold into a brothel. Or actually is sold into a brothel. I mean, can you even remember how many 70s movies had that as a plot point? It was, like, half of them! Oh! Bajrangi Bhaijaan! Just last year!
(Man, Sadak was a good movie! I have really got to re-watch it)
Maybe human trafficking hasn’t been addressed the way Hollywood likes to address things, with noble crusading disinterested activists and clear good guys and bad guys and helpless victims. But ignoring these other representations, isn’t just ignoring them as films, it’s ignoring all the victims of human trafficking who don’t fit into the neat little narrative of “parents tricked, girl taken, sent around the world to live in misery until rescued by activists/police”. Sometimes a human trafficking “victim” was kidnapped as a child and trained as a Tawaif in a fancy looking brothel, living in relative luxury (Umrao Jaan, Dil Aashna Hai), or was sold to the brothel by her husband or other relatives who knew exactly what was going to happen to them (Koyla and Sadak), or was just in the wrong place at the wrong time (Udta Punjab and Highway). And sometimes she rescues herself (Dil Aashna Hai, Highway, Udta Punjab), and sometimes she is rescued not by the disinterested forces of Good, but by some guy who loves her (every other movie ever).
So, that’s the big news item, or at least the news item about which I have the most to say. In other news, Shahrukh launched Sania Mirza’s book. Supposedly, she is having multiple launches with multiple HUGE names helping her, Shahrukh did the big launch in Hyderabad, Salman is supposedly doing the launch in Bombay, and Parineeti is launching it with her in New Delhi. Okay, so Parineeti isn’t a HUGE name, but she is really lovable, so I can see wanting to have her with you in New Delhi.
Oh, and Deepika is taking cooking classes. She and her sister are on vacation together in Italy, doing a week long cooking course. Which actually sounds like kind of a nice vacation! But also, there is this little voice in my head saying “oh oh! Is she taking cooking classes because she is about to get married to Ranveer Singh?” I’m going to try my best to ignore that voice, though, because I know it is ridiculous.
And don’t forget Mardaani: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mardaani. The plot is all about trafficking, and Rani is a kickass cop!
Mardaani is so awesome, he was forced to acknowledge it as an exception to his whole “no trafficking movies in India!” comment. But all the rest of them, I guess, aren’t quite up to his standards.
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Oh nice–I guess I should have read the source article as well as yours. 🙂
Why are you limiting “human trafficking” only to trafficking of women/girls for sexual purposes? Even if you only want to look at sexual trafficking, quite a few boys/men are trafficked as well as women. I was told by a friend recently that Boko Haram (notorious for kidnapping girls from school hostels and forcing them into sexual slavery) also does the same thing with boys, for the same purpose. And yet we hardly hear of it in the news. But by far the biggest “human trafficking” has to do with tricking people with lucrative job offers to another country, where they are held as virtual slaves (or sometimes actual slaves) to provide the labor that the luxury lifestyle of the “host” country rests on. This is a huge problem in India, of people being tricked into going to various Middle Eastern countries. Even in the U.S., most of the illegal aliens coming through the Mexican border are trafficked in. But I guess dealing with those kinds of realities may be too uncomfortable for the film makers.
Excellent point! Human trafficking for labor is something too many people benefit from, directly or indirectly, for filmmakers to want to deal with it.
BTW, another film you forgot to mention is one with Manisha Koirala (she may have also co-produced it) about girls from Nepal/northeastern India trafficked into brothels in other parts of India. As you said, this topic has been dealt with extensively.
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