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Jan 01, 2003 07:36 AM 9972 Views
(Updated Jan 23, 2003 09:12 PM)





I thought Pardes was a pretty good movie in spite of some factual errors and major flaws. First I'll talk about the actors. Shah Rukh Khan gave a better performance than I've ever seen him give, except in Devdas. His performance was really understated, and that gave it more strength. I hated his long slicked-down hair, but it doesn't matter that much. Mahima Chowdhary overacted a bit in the opening sequence where she screams ''Papa, Papa''. She also overacted in her first scene with the rich NRI uncle(Om Puri) where she tells him to take his medicine. It seemed like the character of Ganga was like a child-woman. I would have liked a stronger, more independent heroine. Fortunately Ganga's character does mature a little bit by the end of the movie.

Okay. Now about the message of the movie. I realize that Pardes is supposed to be a patriotic movie. However, you can be patriotic without bashing other countries. Pardes struck me as a piece of anti-American propaganda. According to Pardes everyone in America is a sleazy womanizer who drinks and smokes. If that were true, then America would not be the superpower it is today. There are plenty of nice, normal people in America. America is a melting pot that welcomes people from all corners of the world. No one runs around trying to rape Indian girls.

And BTW, there are Indian people who smoke. Who can forget Amitabh Bacchan or Sanjiv Kumar puffing their way across the screen? Pardes is a good entertaining movie, but if you want to watch a real patriotic movie, watch Mother India or Lagaan. Or Purab Aur Pachim. Although Purab Aur Pachim is guilty of the same generalizations, at least it treated non-Indians like human beings. Furthermore, I believe that the responsibility of instilling culture lies with the parents. I completely disagreed with the ending of the movie, which portrayed Om Puri's son as the villain. Actually it was all Om Puri's fault. It is pretty obvious that Om Puri had neglected his son from the beginning, which is why he grew up to be the way he did. His son was used to the world he lived in, and suddenly Om Puri pops up and demands he morph into an Indian. It isn't going to happen overnight. He had no right to abandon his son at the end. Actually, Om Puri deserved a punch in the face. For being an irresponsible parent. His son was only acting the way he always did;it wasn't his fault.

There were also certain factual errors--they live in Hollywood, but their engagement was on the front page of the New York Times. I'm sure the New York Times has more important things to cover than some guy's engagement. I liked the girl-power message at the end. I liked the fact that Ganga married Arjun without caring about what society thought. The songs were all really good, though there were some made-up words. I liked ''Nahi Hona Tha'' the best. For the most part this is a good movie. It's worth watching at least twice.

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