Basmati Blues is a 2017 American romantic comedy musical film, directed by Danny Baron, in his directorial debut from a screenplay by Baron and Jeff Dorchen. It stars Brie Larson and Utkarsh Ambudkar in lead roles with Scott Bakula, Donald Sutherland and Tyne Daly in major supporting roles.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Danny Baron|
|Music by||Rajib Karmakar|
|Edited by||Tom Lewis|
|Distributed by||Shout! Studios|
This article needs an improved plot summary. (April 2019)
A scientist (Brie Larson) creates genetically modified rice with her father (Scott Bakula), and their boss (Donald Sutherland) sends them to India to sell it to rural farmers. Initially ignorant about the country, she is enlightened by the savvy but welcoming Indians, and falls for a college-educated farmer, Rajit, who is fighting for the rights of the local rice farmers. When she discovers that the business deal will destroy the farmers' way of life, she and Rajit must work together to stop it.
In January 2013, Brie Larson joined the cast of the film, with Dan Baron to direct, and Dan Baron and Jeff Dorchen to write the film. Filming first took place in 2013 in Kerala. It was originally set to take place in Tamil Nadu, but dry weather made the planned locations unsuitable so the production was forced to relocate weeks before it began. Not enough scenes were shot in 2013 because the last weeks of the production coincided with monsoon season and sets were damaged. A reshoot took place in 2015 and the post-production ended in May 2017.
On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 8% based on 26 reviews, and an average rating of 3.77/10. The website's consensus reads, "Like the genetically modified grain at the center of its story, Basmati Blues is probably best locked in storage and saved for cases of cinematic famine." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 30 out of 100, based on reviews from 11 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
Rohan Naahar of the Hindustan Times said the "film is unbelievably and insultingly racist." He continues "this isn't the loving homage to Bollywood musicals that was originally intended. It isn't a takedown on global capitalism and the corrupt food industry. And it most certainly isn't a celebration of India.
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Upon release, the film was criticized on social media, as well as by film critics, for allegedly promoting racist stereotypes of South Asians. In particular, the trailer was perceived to play into the white savior trope common in Hollywood cinema, where a white protagonist acts as a messianic figure and 'saves' a non-white culture from themselves, thus promoting the notion that morality and ethics are innate characteristics of white people only. This is considered particularly offensive, given the history of British colonialism in India. The film has also been criticized for cultural insensitivity, and promoting one-dimensional and simplistic narratives of Indian culture that have negative consequences for Indians. In response, the filmmakers have expressed regret that the trailer presented the movie as pandering to racist tropes, that the trailer does not adequately capture the spirit of the movie, and that the film is, in fact, an homage to Indian Bollywood cinema.
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- "Basmati Blues movie review: You won't believe how racist (and insulting) Brie Larson's film is". Hindustan Times. April 6, 2018.
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- Smith, Anna (November 15, 2017). "Brie Larson's Basmati Blues and other lost movies A-listers wish had stayed buried". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
- Roy, Ujjainee (November 15, 2017). "Basmati Blues makers regret racist trailer, claim movie is a love letter to Bollywood". T2 Online. ABP Group. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
- Little India Desk (November 18, 2017). "Basmati Blues Filmmakers Apologize for 'Cringeworthy' Trailer". Little India. Retrieved March 19, 2018.