Sometimes, English films set in India are delightful and make for great viewing – both parts of the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel being a case in point. However, at times, filmmakers abroad, go on to make English movies set in India; presuming to comment on this vast and extraordinarily complex country of ours – movies that are so clichéd and disconnected from modern Indian reality that they become actually cringe-worthy. Soon to be released Basmati Blues appears to belong to the latter genre.
The story is about scientist Linda played by Brie Larson who creates a type of genetically modified rice with her father Ben played by Scott Bakula. Their boss Gurgon played by Donald Sutherland, appears to be the standard unethical businessman driven only by the profit motive. He sends them to India to sell this rice strain to rural farmers. The story appears to be about Linda’s experience of India, her interactions with Indian farmers, and there also appears to be the obvious white-brown romance thrown in for good measure.
As the trailer begins, the predictable, start to appear almost right away – Linda lands in colourful, chaotic India where people spill out of public transport and small ruminants accost people at train stations. Supposed vignettes of Indian life such as the extra spicy food of India, the simple rural folk engaged in traditional pursuits, the white person being stupidly misled about local customs, even some galloping around on steeds and the mandatory Indian wedding make an appearance.
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