Atlantic Magazine Says I Am a Genius and Right About Everything

Isn’t that nice? I love it when that happens. The things I have been talking about all along now get highlighted in an official publication. Just you wait, someday some fancy magazine is going to say “Everyone agrees, soft cooked eggs should be boiled for 2 minutes and not 3” and I can wave it in my mother’s face. HA!

First, ready for a giggle? Emily sent me a link to this article saying it was interesting and too political for the blog and I thought “ugh, I should read this, but I’ll wait until I feel up to something political”. Then FilmiKudhi sent it to me a few days later and said it was too political for the blog, and also had gossip. Immediately I click the link!!! Political content, bleh. Gossip, YES!!!!

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2021/07/can-bollywood-survive-modi/619008/

I have been saying for years that the Muslims are being pushed out of Hindi film, remember how for a while I was doing a point of mentioning when casts were 100% Hindu? A year ago when SSR died, I said it was clearly an issue of mental health and I refuse and reject an effort to blame it on the film industry in any way and I will not allow that storyline to be magnified on this blog. And I did a whole post on how KJo has a history of liberalism and pushing the envelope and is dancing to try to keep getting those messages out without getting in trouble with the government.

The reason I want to post a link to this article is not to start a new discussion, but more to encourage you to look back on previous discussions in DCIB and think about how insidious propaganda is. Think about how fast it took for the SSR story, even here on DCIB, to turn from “depression is a horrible illness” to “Karan Johar is the Devil”. Think about how easy it is to say “the film industry should be doing more” and forget that they are LITERALLY BEING THROWN IN JAIL if they step out of line.

Rosie's Movie List: Veer-Zaara (2004)

(You know what happens when you go to jail? BAD WIGS! No one wants that)

One of the most useful forms of propaganda in the age of social media is “can’t see the forest for the trees”. If I say “Muslims are being pushed out of the Hindi film industry” and you say “well, this particular Muslim hasn’t had a hit movie in years, and this other Muslim chose to retire, and frankly this Muslim isn’t very talented” that DOESN’T MATTER. Big picture, Muslims are being pushed out of the Hindi film industry.

We can also simply choose not to engage in the issues that the propaganda machine wants us to engage with. Shahrukh’s hairstyle? I care deeply! Whether or not Shahrukh’s kids got into school on merit or money? DO NOT CARE.

DCIB’s “Happy Place” rule exists to protect us from feeling forced to talk about things we don’t care about. So why am I putting up this post itself? I guess my goal is to give us all permission to be happy, in a strange way. Choosing to simply not engage with the Issues that have been created for us around Hindi film is in itself a radical act. This article summarizes the past 5 years quickly and clearly, showing how every film story was twisted into ugliness. So, let’s not do that here! Let’s keep beauty in the world, let’s keep film as a place of escape, let’s talk about how this is the 20th Anniversary of Lagaan and all I really care about is making sure everyone can see that Aamir Khan built lifts and heels into his Humble Villager sandels:

23 thoughts on “Atlantic Magazine Says I Am a Genius and Right About Everything

  1. I posted the article on twitter as there seemed to be so much buzz about it. I did not realize the author was outing his director ex-boyfriend in the article, which he is being slammed for. It’s definitely an article with an agenda, but like you found it a depressing summary of what’s been happening in Hindi cinema.

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    • I mean, it is kind of “outing”. Like, I think anyone who is reading The Atlantic already know Ayaan was gay. My reaction was more of a “OMG! Ayaan dated someone besides Ranbir????”

      Anyway, depressing summary, but we can choose not to engage and instead think about Aamir wearing lifts and other vital concerns.

      On Tue, Jun 15, 2021 at 9:40 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • My first thought when I sent the article to Margaret was that I was not okay with the author outing his director ex-boyfriend without his permission. It doesn’t matter if most people knew about the director’s sexuality. I am still not okay with a public peice that exposes someone’s personal life this way. It was up to the director if and when he wanted to come out to the public.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Do you remember a few years back there was a similar piece about Karan Johar? It was from someone who had worked with him discussing how Karan as a public Gay Man in India has sort of made it “okay” for people to not worry about gay men. Why should they want to get married or have rights, look at Karan! He’s so happy! It’s fine!

        The whole concept of the piece revolved around acknowledging Karan as gay, and as someone everyone knew was gay. But right at the start, the author said that he discussed this piece with Karan and got his permission to run it. That might have happened in this case, but if so, the author certainly should have put in a note clarifying that. “my ex-boyfriend with whom I discussed this piece” or something. And if it didn’t happen at all, not a good thing. Just pick up the phone and run it by Ayaan first, that’s all.

        On Tue, Jun 15, 2021 at 10:33 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Honestly he’s terrible and the article is pretty bad but I do sometimes feel like I’m taking crazy pills when I’m noticing censorship changes or this thing with the minorities being pushed out happening and nobody says anything about it where I can read it, so I’m grateful for that at least. Hopefully this will make someone write something better.

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        • Yep. Or just more openly state that as the premise of any conversation.

          On Tue, Jun 15, 2021 at 12:27 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • That makes sense to me. The author is validating what many of us have been feeling in an widely-read international publication. And much of this audiance might not be well versed in Indian cinema or politics as the DCIB audiance is, so it makes sense to write an article with the assumption that the audiance has no idea what is going on in India.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, this article is one of the things that made me think about the industry dying. A lot of Indian film people on twitter were saying it was a stupid article and the writer is terrible and it was stating the obvious, which are valid points except the last one because they don’t say these things or public articles about this themselves but somehow expect people outside India to magically know this without being told it or something. But for me it was a good confirmation of stuff I was already thinking. I wish it was A LOT more thorough than it is, though.

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    • Eh, it’s fine. And yeah, I myself have fallen into the trap of expecting people to magically know stuff. I forget on DCIB that a lot of the folks reading understand the unspoken when I talk about “of course there is another article slamming SRK” but sometimes you also have to speak the unspoken.

      In a far more important situation, THANK GOODNESS someone at a conference I was at a few years back told me that Rekha was gay. I didn’t know!!! I was supposed to just intuit it magically like everyone else! Stupid gossip magazines never coming right out and saying stuff. So yeah, thank goodness someone came right out and said the obvious thing to the unaware person (me).

      On Tue, Jun 15, 2021 at 9:40 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I don’t think they realise that everything that gets out to us is sanitised, besides the fact that media in our countries don’t care at all, and our only good source is random people on the internet. I don’t usually even get anything good from Indian people I meet here, besides the fact that I’m not meeting any now. Maybe they think I’m a spy or something.

        I mean, I think LOADS of people still don’t think she is, so it may be obvious to some but definitely not all.

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      • It is tough to get facts but I am okay with magazines not coming right out and saying something about a person’s sexuality that the magazine might not have any way of confirming unless the person tells the magazine that he/she is gay. And again, sexuality still carries with it a lot of stigma in India. So if the person, even a public figure, does not want this to be publically stated (even if it is generally well known in private circles), then it is their choice and we should respect that.

        Liked by 3 people

        • I had come across this earlier and it just enraged me. I might have been able to appreciate the info he’s giving to non-Bollywood non-Indian people, but knowing his and his mother’s history with Indian politics, and the blatant outing of a person without their consent just drove me up the wall! He wouldn’t dare to do that to someone in the west. This whole thing seems like an excuse to boast that he spent time with industry A-listers, which is not even relevant to the point he’s making.

          Popka, these things are pretty regularly discussed on Bolly twitter if you follow the right people. There’s also an excellent podcast discussing current events and news in Bollywood.

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          • There’s amritaiq, asimburney, getfilmy, salandthebadpun, lipstickpatrol, shreemiverma, justinjrao. Anna Vetticad talks about political context in her reviews, Ankur Pathak does good long form interviews, pieces on the industry, Caravan India is another one. Khandaan podcast addresses things in a fun way.

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  3. I really live under the rock because I never heard about this article nor about tax raid in the home of “one of the country’s finest directors, along with those of an actor he worked with” . About which director and actor we are talking about?

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    • I vaguely remember seeing the headlines and ignoring them. Google says, Anurag Kashyap and Taapsee Pannu.

      On Tue, Jun 15, 2021 at 10:59 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Thanks.

        I’m glad somebody brought up the elephant in the room, but man how badly written this article is. I understand the one who wrote it may not be talented but doesn’t people read it before publishing? Such a important topic deserves better editing.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I have read a few of Aatish’s books…I like his writing and his analysis…this article is really good in explaining the situation…

    Aatish has dated many famous people and loves to use these past relationships as fodder in his writing…he also dated a distant British royal and then wrote an article about inside stories of racism…his book about his father (a famous Pakistani politician) reveals a lot of uncomfortable personal details…and it goes on and on…leaving the politics and the gossip aside…I wonder what are the ethics of disclosing these personal stories? Even the “I went to dinner with Ranbir-Katrina” sounds harmless..but did he have the right to share that? Or is this part and parcel of dating/being friends with a writer….you must be comfortable with the fact that one day he will write about you?

    https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2018/04/race-and-the-royals-inside-kensington-palace

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    • Thank you for the context! Now I want to read that article, even though it is questionably ethical 🙂

      On Tue, Jun 15, 2021 at 3:03 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • The Royal Family article is juicy!! He claims he did MDMA in Buckingham palace!!
        And you shouldn’t feel bad about this particular article…the minor royals love publicity…any publicity…so he was just doing them a favor here…

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    • So you are telling me this guy writes books and articles, and “Can Bollywood survive Modi” wasn’t his first article ever?

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      • He is actually a great writer…his books are well-written with great socio-political analysis.

        Unfortunately, his pop-culture articles are terribly written…I think its on purpose…maybe this is his attempt at writing simple language to generate social media attention???

        Like

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