It’s very easy to call something racist these days for a variety of reasons. It’s very important though that the word racist to not be confused with the word ignorant. Yes, ignorance can easily lead to racism, but they are never, ever the same things. That being, said, having just watched Basmati Blues for myself so that I could form my own opinion, I thought it was one of the better musicals I’ve seen and honestly I don’t think there was a racist bone in this movie’s body.
Bear in mind however that I also fully admit that I am not an expert on the culture of India or its people, so I cannot honestly vouch for the accuracy or inaccuracy of the details in this film. All I know is that it did not leave me with a negative or diminished opinion of the people of India. If I am being honest it probably left me with a better opinion of the people of India. I consider myself a novice when it comes to such issues, so I certainly consider myself to be at least somewhat sensitive to racism in the movies.
A scientist named Linda(Brie Larson) finds herself in India when it turns out she is going to be growing a new kind of rice for the farmers to plant. Linda arrives there, with no preconceived notions of how things are going to be, so its only natural that she’s not aware of everything she needs to know for communicating and interacting with the people there. Remember, ignorance does not equal racism.
Linda meets Rajit, a man she met on the train who she quickly becomes sweet on. Of course this romance has quite a few ups and downs throughout the film, but the major issue of the film is about focusing on growing all this rice, and getting the farmers to sign the contracts from Mogil, which we learn fairly early on is corrupt and intent on taking advantage of the farmers of India. Now if there’s anybody in the film who you might want to call racist, it’s the evil white rich head of a corrupt worldwide conglomerate(portrayed by Donald Sutherland with Tyne Daly as his assistant)
I also have to admit, the music wasn’t bad either. I very rarely found myself cringing during any of the musical numbers. In fact, I didn’t really cringe at all, mostly because before I started watching this thing I was already fully aware this is a musical! I also did like the foreshadowing at the beginning where somebody suggest that Linda should learn to ride a horse.
At the end, Linda realizes what a HUGE mistake she’s made because she doesn’t realize until almost the end that Mogil is going to take advantage of these people, so just like Captain Marvel she takes matters into her own hands to fix the mistake she made(I know, how racist, right?).
With Mogil seemingly beat and all the contracts burned, Linda and Rajit get married in a very festive wedding scene. You know what? I’m like… WOW… this thing got maligned by critics? You know I admit maybe I am missing something but god dammit this was a good movie, even for a musical. The character of Linda is NOT a white savior, she is somebody who sees herself as doing good things for her fellow man(I know, how racist, right?) in an attempt to better the world, not get her name written in the history books.
What really motivated me to check out this movie was in part my love of Brie Larson. I think she is awesome as Captain Marvel and I just feel so sad that so many people seem to have this irrational animosity against the actress portraying her. As far as musicals go, I would have to give this one a pretty good grade.
I think in the end the main message I took away from the movie is that it’s possible to find happiness, anywhere. You don’t need to interfere with the cycle of nature for the world to be a beautiful, wonderful place.