Sep 25 2009

Hollywood and Media- Creating reels about the real Muslim.

One of the notions I wanted to explore in the taxi dialogues was perceptions about Muslims. It’s a tough one to deal with and can come across as being ill informed. However I wanted to give the chance for this topic to surface. There is a shot of a young Hindu driver, Ram Singh asking an old Muslim passenger with a white beard this question. He asks, rather apologetically but also with a hint of curiosity, “If you don’t mind my asking, why does it seem that all terrorists are Muslims?” In fact any taxi drivers removed symbols of their faith after the 1992 – 93 communal riots in Bombay.

A taxi driver displaying symbols of his faith. Something which changed after the 1992 - 93 communal riots in Bombay.

So the taxi drivers and passengers both had some prolific comments to make. But they didn’t look at the media or cinema and how it creates images. Post 26/11 there has been enough media bashing in India and Bollywood isn’t critiqued enough by the masses anyways. However Bollywood’s grand daddy Hollywood has surely come under the radar.

Yesterday I came across this gallery about Muslim celebrities in Hollywood. There are some fine men and women featured. But there seems to be an underlying current that their work is or should be directly connected to their faith. I think it may or may not be. In the case of ‘Allah Made me Funny’, it’s perfect to use humor to break down stereotypes and perceptions. The moment you laugh or don’t laugh about something, you either realize your beliefs on something or change your take on it by the simple act of laughing.

I also came across a great event at The Asian Pacific American Institute at NYU. It will be held today, the 25th of September between 6 and 8 pm at Tisch. Dr. Jack Shaheen is having a screening of his documentary, ‘Guilty Hollywood’s Verdict on Arabs After 9/11′ followed by a Q and A of his work.
Go to http://www.apa.nyu.edu/ to RSVP. It’s open to the public.

And please keep commenting on the blog itself and not on Facebook :)

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