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Bold messages from Bollywood in an era of intolerance

Bold messages from Bollywood in an era of intolerance

by The Daily Eye Team January 15 2015, 2:09 pm Estimated Reading Time: 1 min, 12 secs

Until this year, the line of dialogue that for me best encapsulated India’s mix of chaos and tolerance was not from a contemporary Bollywood film but a four-year-old foreign movie set in Rajasthan. “Everything will be all right in the end,” a would-be hotelier cheerfully assures his disgruntled British guests in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. “If it’s not all right then it’s not yet the end.” In recent months, however, Indian filmmakers have won me over (along with millions of local cinema-goers) with a trio of productions that are simultaneously entertaining, socially relevant in this fast-changing society and commercially profitable. The runaway success of PK (“Tipsy”) — with its mockery of religious charlatans and fanatics — is particularly poignant in the light of the terror attack at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan plays PK, a humanoid alien who lands, naked, in the desert and is promptly robbed of the remote control device that would allow him to recall his spaceship and go home. The hunt for the device takes him to the mayhem of Delhi (where else would stolen valuables be fenced?) and ultimately to a bogus Hindu “godman” who touts the treasure as a gift from Lord Shiva found in the Himalayas and claims to speak to the Almighty on behalf of his awestruck followers.

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