Discussion Question: If You Could Show One American Movie to All of India, What Would it Be?

Opposite! I already asked the reverse question on the morning post, Indian movie for America. Easier in some ways for this crowd I think, not because we know more about India than Hollywood but just because we are used to introducing people to Indian films more.

Forget the big recent blockbusters, those are already getting plenty of play in India. But you have the All Power to make all the Indian satellite channels play the same American movie at one time, what would it be? Classic film, Indie film, what have folks been missing that they would love?

I have SO MANY!!!! Like, The Birdcage! Parents trying to do the best for their children, engagements, so much family scrabbles and love. I think India would love The Birdcage! And would never watch it on their own. Let’s force them all to watch The Birdcage!

Amazon.com: The Birdcage: Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene ...

Save the Last Dance

Totally dates me, don’t care! A proper suburban white girl loses her mother and has to move in with her musician city father, acts out her grief by reinventing herself and finding a place in her new mostly Black school, including learning hip-hop dance style from a cute boy to replace her previous interest in ballet. It’s about grief, it’s about identity, it’s about race, it’s about class, and also it’s all swoony and romantic! Oh, AND there’s dancing!

Save the Last Dance (2001) - IMDb

Galaxy Quest

It’s, like, a whole analysis of fan culture and the importance of fiction, wrapped up in a comedy! With Alan Rickman! If you haven’t seen it, I won’t even tell you anything about it, because you deserve to go in fresh and unspoiled.

Amazon.com: Galaxy Quest - DTS: Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan ...

50 thoughts on “Discussion Question: If You Could Show One American Movie to All of India, What Would it Be?

  1. This is such a fun post!!

    Okay, my pick would be Moulin Rouge…because it’s the most “Bollywood” style movie…I even read a Baz Luhrmann interview where he said the movie is a tribute to Bollywood…and also its a really good movie in terms of production, acting, scripting etc…so what I am hoping is that everyone in India will watch this movie and then collectively realize that you don’t have to choose between “masala song-dance action love movies” and “well-crafted effortful movies”…a masala movie does not have to be cliche and lazy…but also needs to be made with love and effort…and then everyone will go aha…we will no longer accept mediocre Salman/Akshay movies…the makers will need to start putting in more effort…movies will get better…audiences will watch them more…and everyone will be better off!

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    • So kind of a circle thing? Indian film influences Baz Luhrman and then Baz Luhrman influences Indian film? I could get behind that. Although I don’t necessarily want Indian filmmakers to lose track of what they already do well in imitation of Baz Luhrman!

      On Wed, Jul 1, 2020 at 7:47 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • My favorite thing about this (which I unfortunately heard second hand) was a big interview with Baz Luhrman around when Moulin Rouge came out where the interviewer carefully mistranscribed a quote from Baz saying he was influenced by something like “the music, colors and emotion of indie film”. Of course western indie film of the time was drab and hyperrealistic….

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        • I sort of think of Happy New Year as a response to Moulin Rouge–at least “Lovely” was really reminiscent of it, and maybe some other parts? Lead female is a dancing girl? Maybe not, especially since MR is a tragedy.

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          • I always think of it as Luhrman=Bhansali, and Tarantino=Ram Gopal Varma

            On Wed, Jul 1, 2020 at 10:13 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. The first thing that came to mind was When Harry met Sally. Probably because it is an independent woman living on her own for much of the movie, and because it is a good movie. But then I know from experience that dialogue based humor often doesn’t work in subtitles… so it might not be a good pick. Of course I recognize that a great many people in India are completely fluent in English, but not everyone is.

    So my next choice is Disney’s High School Musical. And that is based mostly on the fact that I know that much of the world is obsessed with the concept of American High Schools, and it has music, and it is Disney, so no super bad stuff! In college, for half of a summer (super long term there) I had a relationship with a British Indian young man, and he was OBSESSED with American High Schools, so Jitu, I’m thinking of you when I recommend this. Oh crap, another fantastic choice for the High School obsessed would be Greese. Greese might be better than High School Musical, because it is firmly rooted in the past, which is frankly, where everyone seems to want to be.

    And if I’m gonna go for what I think Masala means film wise – I would go for Terms of Endearment. Which I don’t love, but it has that whole K3G vibe going on. But I like K3G more; better dancing.

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    • You are so correct you don’t even know it! High School Musical was a big big hit in India, they did a hindi version complete with top of the line Hindi playback singers.

      When Harry Met Sally was remade as Hum-Tum! Which was kind of a minor hit, but shows that the story concept totally works in India.

      On Wed, Jul 1, 2020 at 8:54 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Agree with your Terms of Endearment idea and also can’t help thinking that we have to go back decades to find Hollywood films that do complex, multi-generational family relationships this beautifully.

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      • But I feel like there are Indie films that do it all the time in the present day! I just can’t think of any of them at the moment. But surely there is some small film made by an up and coming filmmaker that has nice family drama?

        On Wed, Jul 1, 2020 at 11:13 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • Was HSM supposed to be an unofficial remake of Grease? The way they meet on vacation and then he’s shocked when she joins his school. Then they have that conflict and are separated the entire year until the end. I remember noticing they were so similar.

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      • Hmm. I don’t think a close remake, but the whole idea of vacation/school relationships is similar. Maybe it’s just such a universal tension? Especially in American schools? You have your “vacation” friends and your “school” friends and you never expect them to mix.

        On Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 1:32 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. `
    “By Grabthar’s Hammer, by the Suns of Warvan, you shall be avenged!”

    I just discovered there’s a “making of” documentary about Galaxy Quest !!!!! Well, I know what I’m going to be doing tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Moonstruck! It’s a multigenerational family drama, everyone lives together in the same house, strong women characters who also have traditional values, two brothers competing for the same woman, and the patriarch comes back to his wife after straying. It’s got everything an Indian audience will love.

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  5. Not a popular choice,as mostly everyone in India has seen it-Avengers:Endgame(okay,not really everyone,some people like me are incompatible with the superhero genre).
    It would be Titanic or Moulin Rouge(Nicole won me with this one).The Godfather movies and Citizen Kane have their own fanbase so they need not be really seen by anyone.As a matter of fact even though certain people(I mean,really,they are winning Oscars in open categories.Give credit where it’s due,even though Oscars too end up with major blunders) in India dismiss animation as just cartoons.But everybody,I mean literally everybody-my friends,my younger cousins,my parents and older relatives,my grandparents,my teachers,my coaches,my school Principal,my ex-landlaord,my neighbours and I,have seen Finding Nemo so maybe that too can be a popular choice.(If you join a new institution,there is a 93% chance students there have seen it).

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    • Ha! I just watched Finding Dory with my parents partly because I had heard it was such a massive hit.

      But what if you come at it the other way? Not what people would want to see if you gave them a choice, but what they don’t even know they would enjoy and you want to introduce it to them? Then what?

      On Wed, Jul 1, 2020 at 10:27 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Moulin Rouge for that. I don’t know why it isn’t that popular in India,despite such common themes and the overall grandeur which is a must for an epic movie.There was so much to like in that one,and it was so exuberant and larger than life.But if people give it a watch,no doubt they are going to love it.

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  6. True Grit. Who doesn’t love a western? And with John Wayne, Robert Duval, Dennis Hopper and Glen Campbell, all fronted by a feisty 14 year old girl – it’s a classic. And no one in the movie speaks in contractions! Makes it easier to understand and is period appropriate.
    And The Black Stallion. Incredible cinematography. A little boy torn from his father and rescued by a gorgeous horse, a brief glimpse of 1940s America with Teri Garr and Mickey Rooney. Did I mention the horse? (Confession – it is based on my absolutely favorite book growing up. The author, Walter Farley, has a lot to answer for.)
    A good Christmas movie wouldn’t be amiss. One like – Die Hard. Action, adventure, Bruce Willis at his best. And Alan Rickman. Perfect for Akshay and Salman boy fans. (Did I mention Alan RIckman? So wicked yet so irresistible.)

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    • YES! The Black Stallion! I also loved those books as a little girl (while not liking horses at all). And our parents showed us the movie because they saw it in theaters and remembered it being really good. It is really good, I’m just surprised it isn’t talked about more.

      The “real” True Grit for me is the newer version, so I would want to swap old for new, but otherwise YES. Complicated relationships that are still clear to understand, beautiful vistas, and good action.

      Die Hard is good. The newer American action movies like that I know are already popular and well-known in India, but Die Hard might have gotten missed.

      On Wed, Jul 1, 2020 at 11:59 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • But everyone would watch it and go “wait, isn’t this just Pooja Bhatt’s Holiday in English?”

      On Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 1:06 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. Dirty Dancing was the first one I thought of too. But here are some others: Legally Blonde, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, 10 Things I Hate About You, and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.

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    • Just realized I should probabaly expand on why I chose these. All of them are light feminist rom-coms

      Legally Blonde – Young women typecasted as being dumb based on how she looks, goes to Harvard, rejects her jerk fiancee than originally dumped her, and becomes a kick-ass attorney.

      My Big Fat Greek Wedding – This has everything most Indian families can relate to. Big joint families, lots of expectations, struggle between various cultures.

      10 Things I Hate About You – Julia Stiles’s Kat! I really don’t need to expand on this one.

      How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days – Battle of the sexes where everyone is having so much fun.

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      • Look at that, I suggested a Julia Stiles movie too! Maybe we should do a mini festival? 10 Things, Save the Last Dance, and The Prince and Me? All feminist rom-coms, all universal stories of love across differences, all of them with an intelligent strong leading woman. And a cute hero, of course.

        On Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 10:00 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Yes, please. I am all in for this festival. This sounds amazing! Can we also do a Reese Witherspoon one too.

          Also, to your point, if I want to introduce Indians to American movies, I want to show family-friendly love stories with intelligent strong leading women also also women, my opinion, they can relate to. And every time I have shown some of these movies to my Indian cousins, especially my teenage to early 20s cousins, we have had such fun discussions about image, family expectations, standing up for friends, etc.

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          • Yes! All of these movies have great questions of the right and wrong thing to do in a particular circumstance. And now I really REALLY want to add The Prince and Me, because that has such a delightful and unexpected conclusion to the romance.

            If we do a Reese Witherspoon fest, I vote Legally Blonde, Pleasantville, and Just Like Heaven (because the coma-ghost thing feels very Indian). Or if Pleasantville is too High Concept, swap in Cruel Intentions instead just to blow people’s minds.

            On Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 10:20 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I mean, all four are RW classics! They must all be included.

            And yes, the Prince and Me has the best ending. I really enjoy Julia Stiles in Mona Lisa smile too. Her dialogue with Julia Roberts when she stands up to Roberts, always sticks in my head and may be one of my favorite feminist dialogues in a movie . Infact, now I want to re-watch both of these movies!

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          • Heck, Mona Lisa Smile should maybe go on my American Remakes post! It would work really well in present day India, wouldn’t it? All these women being encouraged to get high level education, but then expected to do not much of anything with it, just use it to get a better marriage. I would love a movie set in a woman’s college with Juhi maybe as the new art teacher, and then three students whose lives are changed in unexpected ways by knowing her.

            On Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 11:15 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Yes!!! A Juhi remake of Mona Lisa smile would be perfect! Who would be cast for the younger women: I feel like Sanya Malhotra would be a great Giselle (Maggie Gyllenhaal).

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          • YES! She would be perfect. Julia Stiles and Kirsten Dunst have to be young women that radiate intelligence and confidence, trying to think of a young actress that fits that bill. Maybe Bhumi Pednakar? Or Radhike Apte? I’ll suggest Sara Ali Khan too, since I know you are the other person who loved Love Aaj Kal 2.

            On Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 11:37 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Oh oh I love Sara for Julia Stiles. I had orinigally thought or Radhika and Taapsee for Maggie’s role too. Kristen Dunst character has to have a bit of prissy-proper front to her. Not sure Bhumi would work there. Oh how about Kriti?

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          • Maybe Kriti, but I don’t know if she can play that kind of “proper”. Julia Stiles character, yes. Maybe Alia in a complete change of persona?

            On Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 11:57 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Yes, Alia would be great. She just has to continue playing the role she does as Ranbir’s girlfriend and a future Kapoor bahu!

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          • HA! And YES! That’s it exactly. And I am going to start re-watching that movie in between work phone calls RIGHT NOW.

            On Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 12:48 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Speaking of remakes, I thought that Sweet Home Alabama could easily be remade into a Hindi film. She’s from a small city (maybe in Karnataka), got married when she was young to her childhood sweetheart, marriage fell apart, she wants to be a fashion designer, moves to Mumbai, meets this upper-class, more Westernized Indian guy, whose mom could be a CEO of a top business or in politics, she lies that she’s actually from Bangalore and not that small town. And so on and so forth…

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          • Oh, absolutely! Except I don’t love the old familiar story of “first love, true love, only love”.

            On Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 2:37 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • It has been remade in Hindi. Well let me use the term remade loosely. They claimed it was a remake. It was called Barsaat. Unfortunately they flipped the genders and ruined it!

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        • Ooh, I need to watch some of these!

          Hard yes to 10 things, Just Like Heaven, Cruel Intentions (too risque?)!

          If I may add some of my favorite romcoms, romantic dramas – You’ve Got Mail, Clueless, While You Were Sleeping, Before Sunrise and Sunset, Enchanted. Actually most of Disney’s catalog, if not already, should be popular in India – Lion King, Mulan, Tangled, Frozen!

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          • Tangeled is one of my favorite Disney movies! My husband and I have Disney+ and watch far too many Disney movies for comfort. I think my husband can sing all the songs to Zootopia, Moana, and both Frozens! We also went to New York to watch Lion King on broadway.

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          • And he makes snarky comments about Hum Saath Saath Hain! You have married The Perfect Man.

            On Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 1:16 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • HA! I am slightely biased but yes, I do believe I have. And, he takes care of ALL the household chores! No, seriously, I do dishes or laundry once and he is so happy and frankly shocked that I know how to use those machines.. It is a dream!

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          • I really want Before Sunrise and Before Sunset to get more play in India! Mostly just in a mad desperate hope that JHMS will finally be appreciated.

            On Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 12:29 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Yes, until the next one comes out to reassure us everything turned out fine.

            On Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 3:55 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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