Monday, April 7, 2008

Not quite a love story, no real political agenda

I was a bit disappointed with both the (lacking) political message and the supposed love story between Demetrius and Mina in Mississippi Masala. The chemistry between Mina and Demetrius was not very convincing, and it would have been nice if there were more development in that arena. I assume that Nair was going for the "love conquers all theme", especially when it comes to forbidden love, however I felt that the "forbidden love" part was as well not as convincing. The only part that I found interesting was the contrast between the love scene of Mina and Demetrius and that of the newly wed couple (Mina's relatives).

As for the political issues between Indian and African-Americans of the south, I felt they weren't portrayed strongly enough to warrant the opposition that ensued with the interracial relationship. Perhaps it was because I am not as familiar with South Asian-American stereotypes in the U.S. that it made me harder to pick up the more subtle details that could have been more apparent to someone who is. The reading in Feng's Screening Asian Americans did clarify a lot of the issues that I had overlooked when watching the movie. Using a motel as the setting for which the nuclear Indian family found a means for survival was peculiar yet seemed more appropriate to me after the reading. I was also not surprised to see the importance that immigrants place on family, which was the case for Mina and her parents.

I found Mina, Kinnu and Jay's struggles in the U.S. very interesting because unlike their relatives in Mississippi, they were born and raised in Uganda, and had no real reason to relate to Indian tradition and culture. Yet they seemed to uphold these views more after they moved to the U.S. During the chaos that ensued after Mina and Demetrius's relationship became public, it was apparent how much family matters both in the Indian and African-American communities.

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