Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Is “New York” a balanced film?
By international standards, Kabir Khan’s “New York” is an extraordinarily ordinary film. It hasn’t impressed critics abroad and reviews in international media haven’t been very charitable.
Khan says that while researching the film he discovered “a huge volume of prejudice” and at least 1,200 people from different nationalities who were detained on the “basis of suspicion alone”.
“New York” puts the spotlight on that prejudice through the story of Samir, an American of Indian origin who turns to terrorism after he is picked up by the FBI and brutally tortured for months only because he took some photographs of the twin towers for a school project.
The movie already looks set to be a monster hit in India, with massive collections in the first weekend after its release.
It’s got all the ingredients of a blockbuster: a star cast, an emotive story line and a viewpoint very sympathetic to Indians.
Khan is emphatic that unlike most Indian films on terrorism that are often jingoistic “New York” provides “a balanced view“.
But the question is: is it more balanced? Isn’t “New York” a one-sided look at a very complicated issue dividing the world? Isn’t the film likely to fan more hatred and anger with its underlying anti-Americanism?
(Reuters photo: The cast of ‘New York’ poses for a photo at a news conference in Mumbai)