A little extra (as if there wasn't enough!)

Trip Start Aug 22, 2005
Trip End Feb 06, 2006

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Flag of India  ,
Sunday, September 11, 2005

I forgot the trip to Bollywood (well the cinema anyway!).

Wow... I felt like a total scruff when we stumbled upon a mall in the depths of the embassy region (Marcus wants to traverse China too!). The tickets were quite expensive for Indians (about 2.50) but it was well worth it. The whole place was so clean it hurt my eyes and smelt of cookies and popcorn (made a change from smog and cow poo).

We saw a Hindi film called 'Mangel Panday -The Uprising'... I was in stitches during the trailers due to the cheesiest adverts for coke/nokias/mango juice I've ever seen. The actual film was incredible, based on a true story about a soldier who almost single handedly initiated the Mutiny against the British in 1857. The Sepoys were actually employed by the British to help them fight their battles, but when the British introduced the new Enfield rifle in 1856 and smeared the cartridges with pig and cow fat, the soldiers were having none of it.

It was obviously a great affront to Muslim and Hindu sensibilities to go smearing cartridges with fat, which were to have the end bitten off and the gunpowder then tipped into the rifle. I actually haven't yet found out who exactly put fat on the cartridges or why, but I have an inkling it was the Indian sources the British used to buy the cartridges from being a little miffed that these Sepoy were fighting for the British. The point was that the British dismissed the soldier's concerns as 'superstition' instead of taking them seriously, something the hero Mangel Pandey revolted against (The actual mutiny was apparently sparked by the hanging of MP).

It was a great story; the lead being friends with one of the British soldiers, falling in love with a dancing girl, lots of cheesy overacting etc etc. Thankfully enough bits of it were in English to get the gist of what was going on and the music and dancing made up for the rest. I would love to watch it again with English subtitles and may have to have a screening when I get home! I can't believe I had dismissed Hindi and Bollywood films in the past but I definitely want to watch more. The difficulty here in India is that they don't screen the films with subtitles and pure Hindi films would be unfathomable I think... I'll just have to wait!

I also should add that I've been reading the papers out here and they are also very entertaining, oh the scandals! an actress has been arrested for allegedly paying a Mumbai don to bump off a movie director who she claims 'raped' her 16 times in two years in the promise of lead roles... and the politics are far more bitchy than anything Blair et al could come up with! They have brilliant little tid bits from around the world; 10 ton purple hamster found in Peru, that kind of thing. The business pages were also readable and I felt the need to study them in case my law firm wonders what happened to my brain. To be honest Indian business and politics are v interesting, mainly because the Indian people seem anything but apathetic, something I personally think Europeans have become. Anyway, it's the first time travelling I've done something like read the newspapers and I have learnt so much more about India and Indians as a result.
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