Friday, February 13, 2004

I Proud to be an Indian 

First of all, if the protagonist of Puneet Sira’s I Proud to be an Indian is so proud of his nationality, why does he go to London to work as a waiter!

The nameless Indian (Sohail Khan) and his father (Kulbhushan Kharbanda) arrive in London to live with a brother (Aasif Sheikh) and his family. The Indian neighbourhood in London is in the grip of skinhead terror (the film opens with a truly scary sequence of the murder of a Sikh man and his pregnant wife) and strangely enough people get bashed and killed but keep quiet. There is a sympathetic white cop who wants to help, but the Indians just let their people be attacked all the time.

It takes ‘I’ to take on the skinhead gang, who then intensify their warfare against his family. Today, the Asian community in the UK is prosperous and powerful, the skinhead problem is not a current one; there must be issues of racism Indians face there, but Sira reduces them to the level of bare-knuckle street brawls.

The film stays with one idea and on one note, making it very monotonous. ‘I’ makes friends with a Pakistani boy (Imran Ali Khan) and falls in love with his sister (Heena Tasleem), and there was a touch of ‘Asian brotherhood’ there, but it seems the film was made for Sohail Khan to parade his muscles (toned) and acting skills (non existent).

The climax is similar to Ghayal, Ghulam and so many other films. By the time the final confrontation happens, the viewer is sick of the violence.

It’s all very well to wave the flag and feel all patriotic, but let’s not go about preaching to the whites on their soil, when there are enough racial/ regional/ communal problems to tackle in India.


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