Photograph of Anil Chawla

Queen - An Instrument of Cultural Imperialism

Author - Anil Chawla

Kangana Ranawat in film Queen

Yesterday evening my wife dragged me to a movie - Queen. The movie is surely sponsored by Air France. I suspect that the Governments of France and Netherlands have also chipped in.

The message that the film conveys is extremely negative. It essentially says that when faced with adversity all that one should do is to rush to these heavens where one can drown one's sorrows in harmless booze, sex and gambling. Of course, in the midst of all this if one feels that a bit of religion will help do the necessary purging, one can also dump one's original religion and find true solace in church. The formula is the same whether you have been turned down for marriage or have lost all family members to tsunami.

Escapism espoused by the film is accompanied by glamorization of all that is deplorable in western society. Prostitution, drugs, cabarets, sex with one and all - all this is painted in bright colors and given an aura of respectability. Amsterdam's worst aspect is the shop-windows where prostitutes are displayed as objects available for sale. I had been to this street way back in 1995. The pathos that I had seen in the eyes of those poor objectified women had made me unnerved and I had moved away as quickly as possible from that area. When I had moved a bit ahead in the same street, I saw a man snatch away a can of beer from a man sitting in an open-air restaurant. The two men fought for the can of beer ferociously and finally the thief lost out to the original owner. The scene scared me and I ran away from Amsterdam. None of this crime is shown in the film. Instead the woman from the shop window talks of it as another respectable job to support her family. The truth that most of these women are victims of trafficking and extreme violence is not shown at all.

In fact, the film depicts crime in the sponsor countries as something extremely benign. A criminal in Europe is so sissy that he cannot snatch a bag from a woman holding on to it hard enough. No, criminals there are not like the dirty Indian criminals of India who have knives or guns or some such objects. They see a petty woman and all that they want to do is to snatch the bag if she is ready to give it away easily. They never think of such a thing like rape.

Ah that brings us to another topic. The film would have us believe that rape is something that does not happen in these heavens. A young woman can spend night with men, hugging them, kissing them, even going to a sex shop with them and they would never think of raping her. How I wish that the crime statistics supported such blatant false propaganda!

The film shows all Indians in poor light. Indians are lechers who will start hitting on every woman irrespective of the relationship or age. There are no exceptions to this - whether it is the heroine's younger brother or father.

A still from movie Queen

Europeans are, of course, angels who are above all these faults. An Italian who addresses the young heroine as a pretty lady is only interested in a lip to lip kiss and nothing more. What virtue!

And the ultimate solution is to be surely found in Christianity and no other religion. The heroine, who is a Hindu, drags her friends (one of them is a Japanese, presumably a Buddhist) to a Church. No, she does not go to see the architectural beauty of a cathedral. She could have gone to a Hindu or Buddhist temple (there are many in Amsterdam). But she goes and listens to the choir in the church. Obviously because the makers and sponsors of the film want to give the message that Christianity is the only true religion.

The film, Queen, deserves to be condemned in the strongest possible terms by all Indians. It is a cinematic instrument of cultural imperialism. The film is also steeped in blatant anti-Hinduism. Sadly, there has been no criticism of the film by any Hindu thinkers or by nationalistic Indians.

A few people to whom I talked informally said, "Why do you think so seriously about every thing?" This is just a light film. One should see it and forget it. The problem is that invasions on a culture do not happen like military invasions. Small arrows are shot so that the victim does not even defend. The invaders know it very well and they have a well-crafted strategy. It is we who are foolish enough to ignore their game and just enjoy the so-called "plain simple fun".

13 March 2014

Please write to me your comments about the above article.

ANIL CHAWLA is an engineer and a lawyer by qualification but a philosopher by vocation and a management consultant by profession.

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