It’s hot, I want to still be on vacation, let’s do a lazy question! It’s really just picking between a handful of movies for your favorite, a classic fandom challenge.
For the “NRI Hero”, Shahrukh has done shockingly few American set films. Which is fun for us, because it means we have all probably seen all of them and can discuss which is our favorite/the best and why.
Kal Ho Na Ho
Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna
My Name is Khan
Which do you like best? Which do you think is the best presentation of America? Which is the best movie?
1.1. Kal Ho Na Ho. We see desi taxi drivers, rich businessman, middle-class restaurant owners, the whole cross-section (unlike KANK or Pardes where everyone is fabulously wealthy). And we see realistic interactions with the rest of society. They go to a nightclub with white people in the background, they have white people in their neighborhood, white customers at their restaurant. There aren’t any character roles for white people, but that seems realistic as well, your best friend and your family and your love interests can easily all be desi even if you live in America.
2. My Name is Khan would be my second choice, a mixed bag there. A lot of it is accurate in a way that isn’t show in Indian films, hate crimes against rural hotel owners and ugliness in small town America. Plus our salon worker/owner heroine with her modest house in a small town. But then the other stuff is so extremely tone-deaf (the Wilhemina section, the fake Oprah, the terrorists hanging out in Masques) that it almost ruins the good bits.
3. Swades is kind of okay, doesn’t make our hero fabulously wealthy or put him in an unrealistically desi community (he has one desi co-worker who is also his best friend, that seems realistic). But his apartment is so bleak! And working for NASA is still a bit of a fantasy. Mostly, there just isn’t enough of America shown.
4. Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna. Everyone’s amazing wealth is ridiculous, as is the string of call girls for Amitabh’s character. But New York looks gorgeous, Abhishek ends up marrying a white woman who looks like a perfectly nice reasonable person. and no one ever talks about returning to India really, America is their home now.
5. Pardes. This one is just crazy, the massive Indian combined family transported to America but somehow now evil and wrong, everyone is either cartoonishly rich or cartoonishly working class (really, his studio is also his garage?), there’s no recognizable sense of place for me.
Okay, those are my rankings/thoughts! What are yours?