👀 Before you Naatu Naatu
#198 | Set the narrative straight
The 95th Academy Awards proved to be a historic event for Asian representation in the film industry. One standout moment was the recognition of RRR, a movie that has now been catapulted onto the global stage.
As buzz around the film intensified, an article written by Akash Poyam for The Caravan Magazine at the time of the movie’s release resurfaced on social media. The magazine decided to reshare the article on their Instagram feed, drawing attention to the significance of RRR’s success.
I made the mistake of checking that post’s comment section; far too many people were criticizing the author and the magazine for being ‘overly critical’ of the movie’s treatment of indigenous people.
For context, the piece shed light on the negative aspects of RRR, which is, unfortunately, a troubling trend in Indian cinema, where movies pander to nationalist sentiments and promote bigotry. Despite its captivating storyline and visual effects, RRR is a product of the upper-caste Hindu perspective and serves as a fantasy for that particular gaze.
According to the article, films like RRR are being co-opted to rewrite history and foment stereotypes against marginalised groups, especially indigenous people.
Akash, who was ahead of me at university, skillfully highlighted these points with great nuance and depth. While it may be tempting to dismiss his perspective, gaining a thorough understanding of this discourse requires a deliberate and conscious effort. My JOT today is for anyone willing to put in that effort and learn from the perspective of the oppressed.
Adivasi Resurgence serves as a valuable resource for discovering relevant literature and books. It was established with the intention of assisting indigenous individuals in reclaiming their identity, combatting cultural misrepresentations, and opposing the risk of cultural annihilation. Despite its recent inactivity, the website still provides a plethora of content that can be read and learned from. I find the book recommendation page to be an exceptional literary resource that presents a fresh perspective, and it may also prove helpful to you.