Thursday, 25 July 2013

Indian Summer: Day 12 - Jaipur

Arriving in Jaipur in the late evening, we headed to the Raj Mandir cinema - described as 'a cross between a huge pink meringue creamcake, a temple and Disneyland.

The appearance certainly didn't disappoint, they don't make cinemas like this at home! We went to watch a new release about a famous Indian Olympic runner. Completely in Hindi, with no subtitles, it was an unusual experience.

To be honest, the film made me rather uncomfortable. Not, obviously, due to the average 3 1/2 hour long feature, but the reaction of the audience to the events on screen.

Wonderfully, the audience completely participates in the film, cheering the characters on, booing the bad guys, laughing out loud as one. However it was also this such quality which made me feel uncomfortable.

In the course of the film, a small boy overheard his mother being beaten by his father then forced to sleep with him immediately after. Where I was filled with concern for the woman and pity for the boy, the audience (of mainly males) began to whoop and cheer the husband. They shouted encouragements at the screen, jeered and laughed.

When our tour guide was asked about this by some of the members of the group, he suggested people may view it differently because the pair were married.

I don't for a minute take the one experience as representative of any general feeling in the country, but it was definitely odd.

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