Another day, another white savior movie. That’s the response Brie Larson’s new film Basmati Blues is receiving. The internet is not here for its depiction of stereotypical Indian culture — or Brie’s character, who rides in (she’s literally riding a horse in one scene to stop a train) to save the helpless, waiting brown people.
We know Brie as an Academy Award-winning actress for her role in Room. She’s also been an LGBTQ+ ally, she’s supported Standing Rock, and has even said she looks at her film roles as a form of activism. So it really comes as a shock that this Brie, our Brie, would be a part of this.
Though the most recent trailer for Basmati Blues seems to have been taken down, you can see a previous trailer that was released last month.
That darn, spicy Indian food!
Between the wearing of a sari, the appearance of a random goat, spicy food, and more, the images are just so stereotypical. Twitter, of course, had thoughts.
It’s 2017 & they’re really still releasing these things. https://t.co/yzPbGKOt5G— Anil Dash (@anildash) November 9, 2017
Using my 280. Okay so Brie Larson is in this movie called (uhg) #BasmatiBlues (ew) and I'll be damned if she can even PRONOUNCE Basmati (and no, it's not BAZ-MAH-TEA). White people are always gonna make cringy movies about India, its a fact, but this trailer takes the CRINGE CAKE— Anjali Rathore (@jellibean0415) November 10, 2017
"India...— Dashin' Through The Snow (@dashdidntdoit) November 9, 2017
Five Hundred Billion Farmers,
Yet they need One White Woman to stop the TRAIN OF PROGRESS!"
"COMING SOON TO A THEATRE NEAR YOU."
"Unless you're in India; then you'll have to wait until everyone in your village speaks English!" https://t.co/ZsxvgcmcjN #basmatiblues
The plot revolves around Brie’s character, who travels to India to sell genetically modified rice to local farmers. But then she realizes the company she works for is pushing a product that’s dangerous. *plot twist* Enter the white savior.
Why are these films so dangerous and trite? It’s because we’ve seen them a million times. From The Help to The Blind Side (which won Sandra Bullock an Oscar) to 12 Years a Slave, a white character enters the scene and saves the helpless, uneducated, clueless, or savage black and brown people who would remain helpless, uneducated, clueless, or savage without them.
This is ridiculous, they've completely ignored the culture of the country. Typical to portray India as about rice, spicy food, poverty, poor English and cringy music. India don't need a White saviour. We're good without them.https://t.co/ZxdCLmyn8n— Rahul W (@rahulw_) November 9, 2017
The film, which was shot a few years ago, has struggled to secure a release date but is now scheduled to premiere in India at the end of the month.
In response to the backlash, the movie’s producer, Monique Caulfield, and director, Dan Baron, released a statement reiterating that the film isn’t about stereotypes, but when viewed in its entirety, focuses on a love story, social responsibility, and corporate greed.
“We deeply regret any offense caused by the Basmati Blues trailer. We have heard a number of voices that have understandably reacted to a trailer that is not representative of the film as a whole. Unfortunately, the international trailer has given the wrong impression of the film’s message and heart. This movie is not about an American going abroad to solve India’s problems. At its heart, this film is about two people who reach across cultures, fight against corporate greed, and find love. Basmati Blues is an ensemble musical romantic comedy. The film explores our responsibility for our actions and for each other, and attempts to do it in a disarming way, using music, comedy, and romance.”
We can only hope this film isn’t another example of cultural stereotypes being masqueraded as true life on screen. We’ll have to wait and see.