Nepali Times
RANJAN ADIGA
Nepalipan
Bollywooding in Nepal


RANJAN ADIGA


ANUP PRAKASH

Kumari or Jai Nepal was the question. We finally settled for Jai Nepal because it was closer to Thamel and we could go grab a few beers after the movie. Since I'd arrived home for my summer vacation my cousins had been raving about the movie theatres Ė "bahira ko bhanda kehi kam chaina," (no less than any place outside). They had tickets for the premiere of a Hindi film, a Bollywood flick.

When they came to pick me up, my cousins were dressed in their best, which made me reconsider my rather shabby jeans. It was just as well. The crowd outside the hall looked almost as glamorous as a gaggle of movie stars. My cousins bumped into colleagues and friends and traded talk about stocks and finance. Cell phones buzzed and along with namastes and handshakes, people greeted each other with cheek-kisses and elongated "hiiiiiiii"s. Had I arrived in New Nepal against the backdrop of an opulent Bollywood film?

Once we took our seats and the trailers began in Dolby sound, my cousins worked hard to make me comfortable. "Want more popcorn?" they asked. "How about a burger?" I thanked them and said I was fine. The movie was shot in America, Europe, and India with characters who slipped effortlessly between East and West. At every opportunity my cousins leaned toward me to whisper that crores had been lavished on a single song. To be honest, I knew all of that. I am, like them, a Hindi film buff, but I pretended ignorance and kept my reserve. The movie was a blockbuster hit and no one left the hall until the last credit rolled.

We drove to the newly opened KFC, and on the way, my cousins argued over who was better: Katrina or Priyanka. "Bollywood rocks" someone said and over fried chicken and Pepsi, chitchat over Hindi film stars and their affairs continued. "Let's hit Thamel," a cousin suggested.

Outside KFC, a woman, with her head draped in a sari, approached us carrying a naked child. My cousin grabbed my arm and led me to the car. "Dhat! Bloody Indians Ė always begging. They've ruined our city," she said. Everyone agreed. In typical Katrina Kaif style, my cousin then put on her dark glasses and off we went, speeding towards Thamel, cranking up the latest Coldplay and Bollywood songs.



1. battisputali
This comment has been removed by the moderator.

2. hero hiralal
This is a much better article by Adiga than the last bash-Nepali-because-we-went-to-St. Xaviers article. I noticed the same thing when I was in Nepal last time.....


3. Niel
Your cousins won't take you to a movie again, would they with your shameless ratting on them? Just kidding. 

Sweet story but I did not know there were that many stocks and much finance to talk about in Nepal.


4. Battisputali
Awww...I couldn't say the B word. Great article! I identify with what you've said. I doubt that all the urban youth attempt to copy bollywood and are disrespectful of the poor though. Also, Ignorant behavior is present everywhere.

5. sugar

what exactly are u trying to say here Ranjan? that ure better off than ur air-head csns?? stop generalising n put ur "I'm a NRN" smugness to a stop.



6. Kusume rumal

I love the irony! Isn't it so true that we love bollywood, and all the filmy stars, but can't stand Indians in general.



7. hange
I thought you were going to make some sort of connection/statement regarding watching a Hindi/Indian film "in style" and then bumping into an Indian beggar who has, ". . . ruined our city."  Thought it was an interesting juxtaposition on the upper & lower "Indias" and its impact on Nepal- but a nice article nonetheless.

8. B
 It is not that Nepali youth is in denial regarding their love for "hindustanification"...its just that the hindi movies are so well polished that most of us like them even though we are angry about the Indian 'big brother' meddling in our lives.

"Cliche" is what comes to my mind after going through this article.

We deserve a better article in Nepalitimes. Not that this one by Ranjan Adiga is bad, its only good for a fifth grader.


9. p.rana
An intresting article on an ironical aspect of our so called Nepaliness.

10. Anu Lohani
Nicely done, Ranjan!

11. Basanta Lohani
Good to read this piece, Ranjan. Are you still around?

12. baburee
An Irony mixed bollywood craze. But I worry she may not be an indian begger, we all look same.

13. rishav
Bollywooding in Kathmandu hey! I get your point that the middle/upper class Nepali's are trying to emulate Bollywood and trashy American franchise(KFC) type life styles. Sad thing really our own movies i.e. the artistic ones rather than dodgy Kollywood indian rip off movies and our own food cuisine is so much of a better standard than those you have mentioned. I guess we have to learn to appreciate and identify the qualities around us than just following what market forces i.e. the TV tell us to do.


14. Gaurav

"Are you still around?"

No he is dead, he wrote this article from heaven. LOL!



15. Bollywood Fan
This writer has a subtle way of putting across his message but Nepali readers are more used to being told things in a straightforward way. But I like his ironic touch.  


16. Bauji Uncle
If we read the article as a work of fiction trying to portray contemporary Nepali (Kathmanduite!) youth, we may be able to appreciate or critically comment without any tinge of uncalled for angst or anger.

17. Arun Acharya

Nicely articulated the reality of "New Nepal", and so called lavish life style of city people….   



18. Rajeev

It hardly matters to Indians whether Nepalis living in Nepal love us or hate us but we don't treat nepalis living in India this way.

Infact it was shock for Indians when nepalis were caught in murders and robberies because for Indian nepalis stand for honesty.

I guess nepal has got chinese flavored now.



19. darshan
we dont want to admit it but our lifestyle is very influenced by bollywood and the hindi serials on tv. hindi film songs are played everywhere. Even nepali gatherings outside nepal always play hindi songs, sometimes over nepali songs. but what choice do your cousins have? even kollywood is a copy of bollywood anyway and why would people want to listen to copies? we should support our nepali music but difficult to do when indian media is so powerful.  


20. Rajan Nepali
"the woman draped in saree..with a naked child" is most definitely from southern Nepal...and yet her fellow "born into rich families" countrymen think of her as an Indian beggar...this is what saddens me!

nice article


21. pritam
What is this writer's point? If he is a "hindi film buff" what exactly is he complaining about?


22. Nripesh Dhungel
What exactly is the point of this article?  I would be content reading this piece in a blog but a collection of thoughts without summary is pointless in a weekly newspaper.  Heading towards Thamel that night after having consumed KFC should prompt the writer to perhaps reflect on what had happened....perhaps a conclusion as to the direction that Nepal and its teens (or adults) are heading. The end is abrupt as if Mr. Adiga was afraid to come right out and say Nepalis are hypocrites or that we praise western culture and are ignorant of problems that surround us.  Perhaps he means to say Nepali people wrongly aim for the so called "high life" but fail to recognize that KFC is a poor man's meal.  Whatever the message is, it is unclear and the writing, while clear and well narrated, is a waste of time.  No more fillers in your paper please. 


23. LN
One thing comes to mind after reading the article -- Stereotyping. How did you know that the woman carrying a baby was an Indian and not a Nepali from outside Kathmandu. As a writer you should know better than that Mr. Adiga. Not everyone in Nepal looks the same, no wonder the fight for identity in Nepal is on the rise.


24. reader
It's pretty sad how some people don't even take the time to read before they blurt out their comments. Take the forum seriously!

LN, have another look as you smile at your 'smart, topical' comment, and curb your cutting edge:

Outside KFC, a woman, with her head draped in a sari, approached us carrying a naked child. My cousin grabbed my arm and led me to the car. "Dhat! Bloody Indians ‚Äď always begging. They've ruined our city," she said.

Not once does Adiga say himself that the woman was Indian. It's his cousin who does the stereotyping. And if you're going to grasp for the subsequent 'Everyone agreed' (that she was an Indian/that Indians have ruined the city), I think we can safely presume Adiga isn't part of that agreement, which is why he mentions it to counterpoint the group's admiration of Hindi movies. What do you think?¬



25. rajeev
"I guess nepal has got chinese flavored now."

There lies the problem rajeev


26. Maya
Baiju Uncle: "If we read the article as a work of fiction trying to portray contemporary Nepali (Kathmanduite!) youth, we may be able to appreciate or critically comment without any tinge of uncalled for angst or anger."

Agreed.

Readers, please stop being defensive and try to understand the writer's portrayal of his experience. Import of foreign music, movies, food, culture. What does that mean for Nepal? Where are we headed?


27. LN
Reader:

How about copying the whole sentence " Outside KFC, a woman, with her head draped in a sari, approached us carrying a naked child. My cousin grabbed my arm and led me to the car. "Dhat! Bloody Indians ‚Äď always begging. They've ruined our city," she said. Everyone agreed."

In your post, you did not include "Everyone agreed".

My question to you then, who is everyone? a group of people with his cousin excluding Mr. Adiga?

I love reading Mr. Adiga's articles but as a reader, I can comment when I disagree or agree. FYI, I take the forum seriously, else I wouldn't be sitting here and commenting on his post.

Have a nice day !


28. HARRE!

LN... what are you talking about? In this context "Everyone agreed" means that 'his cousins' are so quick to judge, that no one even questioned the fact that maybe she was not an Indian, but infact a Nepali. Its called subtle irony. Need brains to understand it. I feel sorry for the writer, very few actually understand what he's trying to say, and just throw coments in.

We are so fast to judge that the woman wearing a sari with the child is an Indian, without even asking her. Just like, we seem to be judging the writer without really understanding what he is saying. Either way, we don't do our homework, and so quick to point a finger?

Shame Shame! 



29. Alice in Chains

I don't understand why our folks are completely crazy towards Bollywood movies. Personally, I don't find those movies very interesting. I'd rather watch western channels over Hindi  at home & have had declined  requests from friends many times when asked to accompany them to the movie hall.  


Recently, I've seen a lot of rage against Indians on Facebook pages. There are thousands of people in that groups or pages, but I'm sure they are the first ones who like to watch hindi TV serial or movies, whichever comes first.  So, there's a lot difference between " Garai & Bolai "


Rather than watching those filthy hindi movies, why not watch Nepali Movie?   


30. Arthur
Some of the comments confirm that some Nepalis are more used to a "straight forward" message than, as #15 points out, the subtle irony of the article.

But that is not a weakness of the article, but a benefit for those readers to learn from.

It is quite clear that "everyone agreed" should be understood as not including the author, as explained by "reader" in #24.

The question of stereotyping that "comes to mind" as mentioned in #23, is intentionally brought to mind by the author's subtlety - much more effectively than by a "straight forward" explanation. (That it did not come to mind at all for some of the comments, who assumed the beggar was Indian, only highlights the extent of such stereotyping).

And here for a change I can claim an advantage from only speaking english and not Nepali rather than having to admit to a lack of understanding.

But for those Nepalis who misunderstood, one must wonder whether the problem is difficulty following the subtlety of the well written article in english or ignorance about Nepal itself outside ones own limited circles. How different are those who assumed the beggar was Indian from the authors cousins?


31. Bisu Baau
We should embrace the fact that Nepal is a state of India with its own so called soveriegntity(whatever the spelling is). We Nepalese should work together with India rather than just saying things about India. I do not know if you guys know or not but Nepal has to depend on India, there is no choice. Our cultures are similar, our language are from the same roots, so why hate India or Indians. I do not understand why everybody in Kathmandu say 'Bloody Indians, Dhoti sala haru, dhoti chor haru'. INdia is our Mitra Rastra :D I have a very good Bangali friend. I could relate to him rather than a white or mexican or a black kid. I know many of Nepalese can relate to INdians or for that mattter any south asian than others. So why hate Indians or India? I don;t understand

32. MP
I agree with LN. The writer's subtlety can be interpreted in any way. That does not make us lesser readers (FYI, I'm an avid fiction reader). This exposes the fact that this article can be interpreted in they way I choose. I go with LN's interpretation.

33. rishav
Analysis of this article by a Nepali.

The author quite cleverly mentions how the affluent Nepali's are embracing the Bollywood Inidan cinema watching culture but at the same time dissing a person begging on the street for supposedly being Indian and bringing the country down. The Author is trying to demonstrate the double standards regrading our own prejudiced views about what comes out of India.


34. LN
My comments does not undermine my credibility as a critical reader. In any case, I would like to know from the writer himself (Mr. Adiga) if he welcomes constructive criticism to his posts or is he just looking for praises for his prose considering that I thoroughly enjoy reading his articles.

@ HAARE - how about giving a lesson or two of writing classes for readers like us :-)


35. Sunita
Loved it!

36. suresh
nice one! liked it.

37. Intoxicated_Maverick
I think the author's main premise here is the underlying 'identity crisis' among his cousins, and urban Nepali people at large, and their insecurities arising from it. His cousins (like most Nepalis) are self-conscious of the idea that being an America returned Nepali, the author has lowered views of Nepal, hence the "bahira ko bhanda kei kam chhaina" statement to reassure themselves, including offers for "popcorns and burgers" (foreign foods) to "make him feel comfortable." (You cannot really blame them, though. Since there are many America returned Nepalis who sneer at the Nepali way after a mere one year in America.) 
The immense love for Indian movies and hate for Indians in general just goes on to assert that "identity crisis."
Lastly, Mr Adiga, did you give any money to the beggar or did you walk away with your cousins? Because if you did walk away, then the "everyone agreed" statement should include you as well. Which, by the way, defeats the purpose of your article altogether.



38. pranaya
maybe if you lost the smug attitude i'd listen to you. but even then i wouldn't be hearing anything new. 

39. utsav
Impressive read! I doubt if your cousins will shell you an invite ever.

40. SS

perhaps the cousin was expressing the interference of indian establishment's interference in nepalese politics.  look where Nepal is now because the indians hosted the 12-point or who-knows-how-many-point agreement between the maoist terrorists and the band of good-for-nothing evil congressis, emaleys, and the likes.



41. smn
I didn't find anything interesting in this article. What's the big deal?

42. Raja

I simply like to ask writer: "what the heck you said to your cousin?" man i would be all over him and made it understand that it is not what you see but the reality counts when you feel.

I would be more happy/glad to c/read if Mr. writer had somekind of action....I do understand what you are trying to say but just saying doesn't work in real world buddy...Action matters......

Goodluck with writing..



43. hi
i would like to say nepal is better than india. there is no way to be india better.

44. raul

Rajan ji

Your cousin may have few quids in his pocket but mentally he sounds poorer than that poor begger. Please let him know.



45. Bipin

With a caveat that reading two articles from Rajan is statistically very poor sample size to base any judgement, I can see the irony he tries to point out about Nepal and Nepalese. It was not as obvious in his last article (though my first reaction after reading it was, "pointing out the irony", but few sentences in the article changed my mind). So my apology if my comments were too harsh regarding your last article.

 

I would suggest Rajan (and it is just a suggestion) to take Nripesh's (#22) proposition about adding a conclusion if he is working on his next piece of writing.

 

A question I ask to Rajan is why were you complacent towards a mistreatment of another human being by your cousin?

 

Bipin



46. pradeep shrestha
how do you guys have such excellent English. i too went a very good English and living in the usa for 11 years, went to school here and everything but my written English is nowhere near to what you guys have. any suggestions how to improve?

47. pravasi nepali
IF there's no india, then nepal wont be able to survive for a week even. Everything comes via indian ports. It is very expensive to use Chinese ports and there are mountains separating china from us.
And one fact is that, there are more nepalese in india than indians in nepal(i being one of them in india). As i am not a worker in some dhaaba; working as bahadur in some building; and don't have chinky eyes; people find hard to belive when i introduce myself as nepalese expat/student/professional in india. I haven't been racially abused except once and then i punched that bugger right in his friend. Had it not been for my another indian colleague; i would have to have spend a week or more in jail; as the man who got taste of my shuddha-gheu khaeko strenght was the son of a cop.

But true thing is that nepalese of other ethnicity and that too working as daily wagers get abused as bahadurs and chinesse. But don't we ourselves abuse terai wala people as indians and dhotis. That , as per me, is more abhorrable.


48. horrible - meaniful article
If the woman in the sari was a native of our own lowlands, then why do we call her an INDIAN and give galli yaaaar!!!!!!!! this is our mistake and this is from absolute lack of knowledge that our little nation is made up of diverse groups who are also diverse in income brackets. she might be poor, she might be possibly from the terai area, .........however its inhuman to have such poor thoughts on an unfortunate soul. thats where our education come in, not our fancy black glasses and mobile phones.......we as people have long ways to go to learn for good.......enjoy hollywood/bollywood/chinese movies.....whateveeer however pratise decency.

49. Sniper
Welcome to the Neo-Capitalist-YCL-Republic Mr. Adiga.
I hope ur around, to experience the banda......hollywood style. Your article is short and subtle and I guess it is upto the readers to do "Saprasanga Byakhya". C'mon you people!!! You can see so many dimensions and antics in a single action by India or a single phrase Prachanda utters and yet Mr. Adiga has written over 500 words and you people should have seen the world inside it.


50. suman khadka
why does bollywood fool u ? n is the country' depending on a few beggars outside kfc? if it does, r u sleeping? y dont u go n remove them? who is stopping u to make that historic change? if this is not what ur cousin feels, it sounds like u r frustrated and sounds very personal. its really shameful. As an advertiser with nepali times for a long time now i have had greater respect, unfortunately i am shocked to read such an article. just check urself again n u will know how sad u sound.the editors must take this seriously. this isnt even funny. a 2nd std student cud also write a better one incase there is any message at all here.


51. Gemmi
It's hartening to see people struggling to give explanations on behalf of the writer of this imaginative piece. Though the message is righty intended to hit bang on the double standard that the typical nepalese mentality usually thrives on, the cook-up appears to be a little lacking in imagination, especially with the characters involved. Anyway, enjoyed reading the piece!!

52. RAUL

I always thought comments posted by the readers have to be passed by the moderators. I am surpised to read comments by bikram. He is ofcourse free to use distasteful language with his friends and relatives but should not have found place in you reputed magazine.

If this is freedom of expression I have nothing more to say.



53. steve
nice one dude..I liked it.


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