I would bloody love to go to India. And, I’m not really sure why. I’m a vegetarian so I would enjoy being able to eat almost everything on offer. However, I’m not a fan of really fragrant curry spices. I’m as pale as a ghost so the fiery sun would seer through my skin. And who likes the car crash of smells I’m told you experience in the bigger cities? Nevertheless, I’m intrigued.
I do love yoga and I’ve always wanted to be more in touch with my spirituality, but I’ve always been drawn to Buddhist practices rather than Hindu. I love Bollywood films after taking a course at University in Bollywood film, but I don’t love them that much. Nevertheless, I just know I’d love the country. I’ve chosen a few films that have no doubt played a huge part in my longing to visit India. There are soooo many others and I’ve listed a few at the end, but these are my personal favourites.
The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
There was no way this film wasn’t going to appear on this list. I don’t know how well The Darjeeling Limited is received but I don’t care. It’s set on a train going across India. Three brothers are going to visit their estranged mother living as a Nun in Nepal. Yeah, it’s a Wes Anderson film. That is all the explanation you need for the bonkers narrative. The brothers have their past and their baggage (literally) and the journey is of self discovery as well as a physical journey.
The best part of the film is Owen Wilson’s character, one of the brothers, actively searching for some kind of enlightenment. Which is the reason so many people go to India. Despite his efforts involving feathers and weird hand holding, he doesn’t find the exact kind of enlightenment he’s looking for. But he finds something else, as was inevitable, and probably a good lesson for us all.
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)
The Bollywood fans “in the know” will scoff at my choice of Bollywood entry for this list. And to be fair, they probably should. DDLJ is not even entirely set in India, but rather London and other European countries. And, it’s only towards the end we venture across the continent. But when I considered my other favourite Bollywood films like Mother India (1957) and Lagaan (2001), they actually just don’t show off the country that well. They are also waaaaay too long for audiences that think Slumdog Millionaire (2009) is a typical Indian drama.
My favourite Bollywood film is English Vinglish (2012), but even less of that is set in India. DDLJ features well loved Bollywood actors and is a classic tale of love and the traditional clashing with the modern which is an important Indian theme and a good film to ease into Bollywood cinema for newbies.
I haven’t seen Octopussy in such a long time, but I remember vividly that so much of Octopussy was set in India. And I can’t think of many other blockbuster/high profile action films that have chosen one of the biggest countries on earth as a film location. That’s so silly considering the amount of production services there must be in India, particularly around Mumbai.
Again, I haven’t seen it in a while. But, I can imagine travellers that have been to India extensively might be saying “yes, it’s set in India, but the film doesn’t give a very realistic insight into what India is actually like” and I would probably agree. But that’s not the point. If Octopussy was successful in getting any of it’s viewers to visit India then that’s where India has won. The film has lured viewers into the fantastical and traditional nation of the sub-continent. And then there is the opportunity to present those viewers with more than they could ever experience on screen. And in the future one of those viewer-turned-travellers will hopefully be me.
Other films: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012), Slumdog Millionaire (2009), Passage to India (1984), Rang de Basanti (2006), Eat Pray Love (2010)
Can you think of any other films that will inspire travellers to go to India?