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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 22 of 29 Student Paper habit, Sikh’s turban, Muslim burka) and religious practices (such as Muslim namaaz, wearing the Christian cross and chanting Sanskrit hymns). Discussion This study is perhaps one of the first ones to quantitatively measure “geographic stereotypes” in film. Geographic stereotypes of India were studied under three different areas – India: the place, India: the practices and India: its people. India as a place is depicted as hot, rainy, polluted, rural areas, mostly unnamed and fictitious places, with locales such as bazaars, palaces, huts, jungles, caves and temples filled with animals, traditional modes of transport (like hand-rickshaws, elephant rides) with lots of riches. The practices associated with India in Western films were religious cults (such as thuggee), Hindu religious practices (such as nature worship, idol worship), superstition, magic, sorcery, death rituals (such as human sacrifice, sati), abuse of women and children (dowry, slavery, beggary etc.), leisure activities (such as henna, sword-juggling, snake – charming) and vices (such as drugs and prostitution). The people of India were portrayed as poor, diseased, non-Christians (Hindu, cult-followers, Sikhs, Muslims), having traditional occupations (such as laborers, unemployed, religious), living in stereotypical places (such as huts, temporary structures, palaces and jungles), speaking accented English and Hindi, wearing traditional Indian clothes. From the above content analysis, four distinct stereotypical formulaic narrative themes emerge. They are the “The Wild”, “The Wretched” “The Mysterious” and “The Magnificent” types of stereotypes. “The Wild” stereotype depicts India/Indians as wild, chaotic, uncivilized, barbaric and evil. Common symbols that appear with this type of stereotypical portrayals are jungles teeming with animals, busy bazaars, chaotic noisy

Authors: Ramasubramanian, Srividya.
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background image
A Passage to India
Page 22 of 29
Student Paper
habit, Sikh’s turban, Muslim burka) and religious practices (such as Muslim namaaz,
wearing the Christian cross and chanting Sanskrit hymns).
Discussion
This study is perhaps one of the first ones to quantitatively measure “geographic
stereotypes” in film. Geographic stereotypes of India were studied under three different
areas – India: the place, India: the practices and India: its people. India as a place is
depicted as hot, rainy, polluted, rural areas, mostly unnamed and fictitious places, with
locales such as bazaars, palaces, huts, jungles, caves and temples filled with animals,
traditional modes of transport (like hand-rickshaws, elephant rides) with lots of riches.
The practices associated with India in Western films were religious cults (such as
thuggee), Hindu religious practices (such as nature worship, idol worship), superstition,
magic, sorcery, death rituals (such as human sacrifice, sati), abuse of women and children
(dowry, slavery, beggary etc.), leisure activities (such as henna, sword-juggling, snake –
charming) and vices (such as drugs and prostitution). The people of India were portrayed
as poor, diseased, non-Christians (Hindu, cult-followers, Sikhs, Muslims), having
traditional occupations (such as laborers, unemployed, religious), living in stereotypical
places (such as huts, temporary structures, palaces and jungles), speaking accented
English and Hindi, wearing traditional Indian clothes.
From the above content analysis, four distinct stereotypical formulaic narrative
themes emerge. They are the “The Wild”, “The Wretched” “The Mysterious” and
“The Magnificent” types of stereotypes. “The Wild” stereotype depicts India/Indians as
wild, chaotic, uncivilized, barbaric and evil. Common symbols that appear with this type
of stereotypical portrayals are jungles teeming with animals, busy bazaars, chaotic noisy


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