Coldplay’s new music video for the song “Hymn For The Weekend” is extremely problematic. In four minutes and 21 seconds, it manages to pack in as many distinct Indian stereotypes and appropriations of culture as possible, conflating everything Indian with “exotic” and “colorful.”
If you’re looking for better, longer, and more original storytelling about India, here are five must-watch movies.
- Court: The film follows the case of Narayan Kamble, who is accused of provoking the suicide of a sanitation worker. It offers an inside and infuriating look at the bureaucracy of the Indian justice system.
- Piku: The film stars Amitabh Bhachchan, Irrfan Khan, and Deepika Padukone in leading roles. If that isn’t reason enough, it features a beautiful road trip from Delhi to Kolkata and lots of constipation-related humor.
- Masaan: Set in the holy city of Varanasi, Masaan expertly deals with the dueling forces of tradition and modernity on its young characters, played by Richa Chada and Vicky Kaushal. The music alone deserves many, many listens.
- Killa: Killa, which means “fort”, is a Marathi coming-of-age film that follows an 11-year-old boy who has just lost his father and moved to a new town, where he longs to be accepted by the other boys at school. It deals with universal themes, executed forensically and uniquely in a gorgeous setting.
- Talvar: Talvar is based on the true story of the 2008 double murders in Noida of 14-year-old Aarushi Talwar and 45-year-old domestic worker Hemraj Banjade. The case received a huge amount of publicity in India for the botching of the investigation by Noida police and the conviction of Aarushi’s parents as the culprits. The film, written and produced by Vishal Bhardwaj, explores all of the angles of the case and stars Irrfan Khan as the investigative officer and Konkona Sen Sharma as Aarushi’s mother.
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Jill is Bombay-born and NYC-based. She likes Bollywood and chai, and you can tweet at her @jillrshah.