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A Passage to India: Images of India in U.K/U.S Feature Films from 1930-2000
Unformatted Document Text:  A Passage to India Page 20 of 29 Student Paper (1, N = 267 7 ) = 80.7, p < 0.001. Stereotypical places were defined as the wild (especially jungles), on the streets (homeless), in huts, temporary dwellings, palaces, Hindu temples, caves and dens. On the other hand, both Indian and non-Indian characters were almost equally likely to reside in non-stereotypical places such as houses, apartments, mansions, schools and garrisons. In the City of Joy, for example, the central character, Hazari, and his family is shown living in the streets, slums and in dilapidated huts while Mowgli from The Jungle Book spends almost his entire life living in the wild jungles of North India. Language. Indian characters (83.5%, N=167) were much more likely than non- Indian characters (1.8%, N=4) to speak in Indian languages (such as Hindi) and in Indian English, χ 2 (1, N = 421) = 290.4, p < 0 .001. Western characters on the other hand, spoke Western English and hardly any Indian languages. Indian characters were also more likely to be shown talking in broken English and heavily accented English. Sometimes Indian characters actually spoke in gibberish nonsensical language that was meant to represent an Indian language. Often Indian characters also chanted in Sanskrit apart from speaking in Hindi. Interestingly, in movies such as The Deceivers and City of Joy, poor Indian laborers are shown fluent English eventhough traditionally English has been the language of the elite in India. In Stiff Upper Lips, the British Uncle not only imitates the Indian accent but also says that non-verbal signs like “wobbling the head from side to side” is a part and parcel of Indian English. Similarly, in The Party, the main Indian character called Bakshi, played by Peter Sellers, talks in an exaggerated heavily accented Indian English with peculiar choice of words and grammar (for example, “I want to be going to …”, “I am not understanding you” and so on.). In the Foreign Body, 7 Characters whose place of residence was unknown were not included in the analysis

Authors: Ramasubramanian, Srividya.
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background image
A Passage to India
Page 20 of 29
Student Paper
(1, N = 267
7
) = 80.7, p
< 0.001. Stereotypical places were defined as the wild (especially
jungles), on the streets (homeless), in huts, temporary dwellings, palaces, Hindu temples,
caves and dens. On the other hand, both Indian and non-Indian characters were almost
equally likely to reside in non-stereotypical places such as houses, apartments, mansions,
schools and garrisons. In the City of Joy, for example, the central character, Hazari, and
his family is shown living in the streets, slums and in dilapidated huts while Mowgli from
The Jungle Book spends almost his entire life living in the wild jungles of North India.
Language. Indian characters (83.5%, N=167) were much more likely than non-
Indian characters (1.8%, N=4) to speak in Indian languages (such as Hindi) and in Indian
English,
χ
2
(1, N = 421) = 290.4, p
< 0 .001. Western characters on the other hand,
spoke Western English and hardly any Indian languages. Indian characters were also
more likely to be shown talking in broken English and heavily accented English.
Sometimes Indian characters actually spoke in gibberish nonsensical language that was
meant to represent an Indian language. Often Indian characters also chanted in Sanskrit
apart from speaking in Hindi. Interestingly, in movies such as The Deceivers and City of
Joy, poor Indian laborers are shown fluent English eventhough traditionally English has
been the language of the elite in India. In Stiff Upper Lips, the British Uncle not only
imitates the Indian accent but also says that non-verbal signs like “wobbling the head
from side to side” is a part and parcel of Indian English. Similarly, in The Party, the main
Indian character called Bakshi, played by Peter Sellers, talks in an exaggerated heavily
accented Indian English with peculiar choice of words and grammar (for example, “I
want to be going to …”, “I am not understanding you” and so on.). In the Foreign Body,
7
Characters whose place of residence was unknown were not included in the analysis


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