I Have Found It: Romanticizing or Resistance of Western Influence?
I have had very little experience with Indian film, and had never heard of Kollywood, going into our class screening of I Have Found It. The prospect of the new experience was exciting and being familiar with the story of “Sense and Sensibility” I was intrigued to see how it would be adapted within this film. I enjoyed the film even more than I thought that I would. I found the characters to be engaging and the level of self-reference towards the film industry within the film was very unique. Although the musical elements were at first a bit jarring, being familiar with Western musicals where the singing tends to flow more seamlessly into the plot line, I grew to enjoy the way in which the musical scenes took the viewer out of the plot. Overall, I had a very positive first Kollywood film experience.
In terms of this course, most interesting to me were the ways in which transnationality was represented within the film. We discussed in class the negative portrayal of Manohar’ s Americanized film, and the ways in which Srikanth is represented as a sort of sly Americanized businessman linked to paparazzi, propaganda and tabloids. But furthermore, it is interesting to think about the ways in which these men are depicted in regards to their relationships with the female leads. While at first the film represents the men as desirable because of their transnationality, this seems to be undermined by the plot line. Srikanth for instance is represented as global, knowledgeable and cultural, part of what makes him such an interesting topic for the Indian media. However, I think that Srikanth is represented as being a bit disconnected from his cultural roots due to his extreme focus on the global business arena. Signs of this are present in the way in which Srikanth misidentifies the quote from the famous Indian poet. It seems to suggest that Srikanth’s cultural knowledge is only superficial and basic in comparison to Meenu’s in-depth knowledge. Srikanth does not end up with Meenu because he is so engrossed in big business that he must cut deals in order to save himself. Manohar’s transnationality causes him to decide to make an American-style film which is not received well by his partners. Manohar can only be with Sowmya after he is successful at producing his first film, and his colleges continuously warn him that the Americanized version is doomed to fail. The partners insist that is not the type of film that Indian filmgoers want to see. Manohar’s ignorance towards the wants of the Indian public is the hurdle he must get over in order to finally marry the girl of his dreams. It is only after Manohar embraces the Indian elements of filmmaking that his film is successful and he is able to win Sowmya’s heart. (And in addition, Sowmya chooses to pursue a relationship with Manohar over moving to work in California!) In this way the film, seems to resist the romanticizing of Western influence, portraying the characters returning towards their cultural roots as most positive. Did you get the same feeling from seeing this film? What consequences of the transnationality of these men makes them appear undesirable / not fit as romantic partners for the female leads in this film? Or do you disagree?