Talk:Bollywood/Archive 2

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Raikhtha Kai Aik Hum Hee Ustadh Nahee...more on Languages

[with apologies to Chacha Ghalib]

Our job is not to dictate to people what they 'should' say or do. Encyclopaedias are only normative to the extent that they appease general consensus ideas of sensitivity and, notwithstanding the new South Asia term, "Indian subcontinent" is still a widely utilized name that, outside of Pakistan, is seen as perfectly neutral and bereft of Republic of India connotations. India is a term not limited to the nation-state (which is only 50 years old) and will now and forever refer to much that occured in what is now referred to by some as South Asia. By the way, the Indian subcontinent has been known as Bharat varsha by Indians for more than 2000 years! This is not a Euro-centric idea... this larger peninsular area, much of the north-west and the Himalayas has been seen as one greater socio-cultural and geographic entity by many different peoples long before 1947! Indians, Muslim invaders and Westerners alike all saw the greater landmass as a larger "Bharat", "Hindustan" or "India" in a continuing history of appellations over 2000 years old. This is not a very difficult concept. See, for instance, the terms "Indo-European" languages, or "Indic religions", etc. --LordSuryaofShropshire 23:45, Sep 10, 2004 (UTC)
Yabbut is the purpose of an encylopedia to be comprehensive and therefore to point out where significant minorities and emerging trends disent from the majority flow? I am not asking that the minority opinion be mentioned as the truth; just that variations be mentioned. After all, if this document was, for example, to mention a certain conqueror just as Genghis Khan and not mention how other people (including his own) refer to him, how would it be different from a million Euro-centric documents out there?
BTW, I will flip-flop and say I liked your earlier characterization then what we have now--could we go back to saying "though many would aver that most Bollywood films are made in a blend of Hindi and Urdu known as Hindustani."--iFaqeer 01:08, Sep 11, 2004 (UTC)
It was Zora who made 'stylistic' edits and so I have no problem going back to the older (and less ungainly) format. As for the mentioning of minority opinions, that's fine. I did so in the Indian subcontinent article. I didn't 'consciously' take it out meaning to suppress info in the Subcontinent one, so I'll just do what I did in the former article. I think this is a reasonable conclusion. --LordSuryaofShropshire 01:24, Sep 11, 2004 (UTC)
A creole language is NOT a pidgin -- it's a second-generation language, with native speakers. But if you don't like that, I'm not going to fight for it. But I'm going to change "aver". It's a useful word when you're writing a paper and running out of synonyms for "say", "state", etc., but there's no point using it if a simpler word will do. Zora 03:08, 11 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Ummmm... whatever. You have such strange notions of style. Adumbrating English isn't a sign of good style and your changes should be reserved for the Simplified English sites (or whatever the heck they're called). I'm reverting, since this is an arbitrary change of wording which renders the sentence more plain without any benefit. In sum? It doesn't sound as good. --LordSuryaofShropshire 06:15, Sep 11, 2004 (UTC)
Adumbrate means to prefigure or augur, and it just doesn't make any sense the way you used it. Making the sentence plainer IS a benefit, especially for readers who don't know what "aver" means.
Could you PLEASE try to cooperate and communicate rather than fight and insist on your own way? You dig in your heels on something and you'll revert it a hundred times rather than try to think of a compromise. The world of words is so vast; there are ways around everything. Zora 07:13, 11 Sep 2004 (UTC)
By the way I'll explain why you're completely wrong about 'creole language': Urdu and Hindi have basically the same exact grammar and share 60% of their vocabulary (Sanskrit-Prakrit). They cannot be classified as different languages coming together to form a grammatically abbreviated language. Hindustani is purely about vocabulary. The grammatical forms (like izafat) that really differentiate grammar are only used in higher literature. --LordSuryaofShropshire 06:22, Sep 11, 2004 (UTC)
Um, creoles usually take their grammar from a base language and then mix and match vocabularies. They may be grammatically abbreviated in the first generation, but return to complexity fairly rapidly, unless a continual influx of non-native speakers exerts a constant pressure towards simplicity (i.e. Hawaiian pidgin, which is really a creole). English is a Germanic-Romance creole, with Germanic grammar and a heavy dose of French vocabulary. But given that I'm not a student of Indian linguistics, and am not completely sure that a historical linguist would classify Hindustani as a creole, I'm not going to persist. I'll google it ... it's an interesting question :) Zora 07:13, 11 Sep 2004 (UTC)
PS. I'm not a dude. If anything, I'm a dudette. But given that I'm 57 years old and have grey hair, I'm not sure that I'm a dudette either.
I remember your deep consternation when I used portmanteau alone, without the qualifying 'word.' It's the same with creole and 'creole language.' Anyway, there's been no grammatical abbreviation and no real departure from the languages' respective grammars. Indeed, for much of their history no differentiation was made; in some ways spoken Hindi and Urdu, for many centuries, were more alike than spoken English from Texas and New York. Anyway, I remember you said once that it was superfluous, with the use of the word melding, to add 'portmanteau (word)' to the sentence about 'Bollwood.' Your current zeal to insert an erroneous 'creole' connection is strange in retrospect. --LordSuryaofShropshire 07:32, Sep 11, 2004 (UTC)

Just back from googling "Hindustani history linguistic" and hey, that was FUN. I learned a lot. Here's a quote:

Historically, "Hindi" is actually a result of a movement of Hindu nationalists to "purify" what was then called Hindustani of the Arabic and Persian words. The Muslims kept the words, and Hindustani came to be called Urdu. Urdu is a Mongolian and Turkish word meaning "military camp" and is the root of the English word "horde." When the Central Asian tribal warriors came into northern India, Urdu is the creole that ended up being spoken in the camps so that Hindu traders could sell the Muslim grandees their goods.

per Juan Cole, Professor of Modern Middle Eastern and South Asian History at the University of Michigan.

I never would have guessed that the word "Urdu" is connected to the word "horde".

Anyway, I'm not sure that it adds all that much to the article.

I read most of another article (rather dense and jargon-ridden) about Hindi/Urdu/Hindustani [1] and it made the point that in Bollywood movies the dialogue is usually very colloquial, understandable to both Hindi and Urdu speakers, and that the song lyrics tend more towards the Urdu. All those "poetic" words -- which I recognize when I listen to Persian pop music.

I should be working on my PHP homework ... Zora 07:47, 11 Sep 2004 (UTC)

You insist on creole language but that is not the case. The grammar is completely Prakrit. The difference is in vocabulary and, while I see you're somehow invested in calling the language a creole, no linguist would agree with that characterization of Hindustani, which is a dialect. Secondly, Hindi was not invented by late 19th-century agitators since a purely Sanskrit-Prakrit vocabulary Hindi, a direct result of "Khadi Boli", was in active use contemporary to Mughal rule. Tulsidas' Ramacharitmanas, for example, is in pure Hindi and Kabirdas (15th c.), for instance, wrote in a language that has practically no Arabo-Persian loanwords making it a practically pure Hindi language. Surely there was more an activism towards the end of the 19th century and early 20th century and there was more of a split based on nomenclature, more of an emphasis on 'separating' the two variants, but there has always been a fork in the Hindustani tongue for as long as Hindvi (sic) has existed. --LordSuryaofShropshire 20:01, Sep 11, 2004 (UTC)

Surya, you seem to be operating with a model in which languages are always definable and separable. In a pre-industrical world, in which most people don't read, there are few if any mass media, and travel is restricted, language can be more of a geographical and social gradient.

Dialect varies from village to village -- geographical gradient. Each step may be small, but villagers from widely separated towns may not understand each other. I'd guess that there would be much more Arabo-Persian influence in the western part of the Hindustani-speaking area than the east. But I'm guessing.

Dialect varies according to class -- social gradient. The closer you get to the Moghul sultans, the more Arabo-Persian words in your vocabulary. That at least I got from my reading.

But there's no sharp dividing lines anywhere, just differences in vocabulary, accent, minor grammatical points, etc. Linguists map these with isoglosses, lines marking the areas where 50% of the people speak one variant and 50% of the people another. Mass media wipes out a lot of the variation, but it still exists. Discernable even in an area as homogenous as the U.S.

But I digress ... unless IFariq wants to introduce yet more language complexities into the Dialogues and Lyrics article, enough is said about it in the Bollywood article. Zora 07:21, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Thought I would get in here and drop a line or two. Let's see:
  • The name [nome de plume, actually] is [User:iFaqeer] -- as in fakir (mendicant, beggar), a word often used by Sufis and dervishes to describe themselves. Zora, if you listen to Perian pop, you should know that word.
Oh, oh, oh, I am sorry, I do keep forgetting or messing up your name. I would get to the edit screen, realize that I didn't remember it and I'd have to open another browser window to check, and then get lazy. Thanks for giving me a memnonic.
You listen to Persian pop too? I am a major fan of Jamshid, LA artist, tight hard rock and beautiful melody and vocals. He has a second album out, I'll treat myself when I get a job. Zora 18:33, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)
  • Yes, the whole issue of Hindi-Urdu-Hindustani *is* complex. However:
    • One oft-repeated formulation--which I give all here full credit for not using--is that Urdu is a derivative of/derived from/etc. Hindi. Hindi and Urdu are sisters; both products of the linguistic mix in (especially) the nothern half of the South Asian region (and I mean everything extending from Kabul to the Kannada region/Hyderabad and more). Both are modern, more formal, organized incarnations of the mix my grandmother and people of her generation, and even today, speak in the villages and streets of Northern India. Yes, India. In Pakistan, the street vernacular is variations of more formal Urdu and variations of Punjabi/Siraiki/etc.
    • The village dialects in UP, for example, are still varied and not either Urdu or Hindi. For example, there are at least two variants spoken in the villages around Lucknow (I am referring to the ones in which one would say "aiba, jaiba" and "a'eehaiN, ja'eehain" respectively--both sets of words meaning "coming, going"), and these are different from what is spoken in Western UP (nearer Delhi/the new state of Uttaranchal, I think it is) and in turn from what is spoken in Eastern UP (the last region itself having variations spoken in Allahabad, which you will hear Amitabh Bachchan speaking in movies, and as well as variants that are closer to Bihari dialects). These are known variously as Purabee (my father's "mother tongue"), Bhojpuri, and so on.
    • I say all this to point out that these village dialects are very much living institutions, too. They are not historical ancestors of today's language. And their relationship to either Urdu or Hindi is that of Livepudlian or Cockney to the Queen's English. And the relationship of either Urdu or Hindi to Sanskrit and Persian is that of the Queen's English to Latin--namely, they are modern derivatives/descendants/what have you of what was historically spoken by the ruling class in formal settings.
    • There is a scholarly line of research that says that the dialect referred to as Raikhtha/Urdu/etc. was consciously picked out of the whole Urdu/Hindi/Hindvi/Bhojpuri/etc. mix by the folks at Fort Henry (or whatever it was; basically, the British, when they first established themselves as the regional hegemon, based in the Calcutta area) for development as the "language of business"; the business being empire.
  • As for whether Urdu and Hindi are separate languages, you might have noticed that I don't usually engage that question at all. I have only one thing to ask on this topic: If Hindi=Urdu, can you, with a clear conscience, tell me that Ghalib was a Hindi poet?
  • As a disclaimer and an expression of humility, I am not either a scholar or a linguist. I am a professional writer whose knowledge of most of this is thru experience in India and Pakistan and spending (not enough) time visiting with grandparents in my father's ancestral Lucknow metropolitan area.
  • PS: My respect for Juan Cole goes up by the day.--iFaqeer 08:41, Sep 12, 2004 (UTC)
Zora, you're laboring under a false impression of how I view language. Notice that I was not speaking about the vagaries of village or even urban dialects. Your whole post is completely irrelevant to what I was saying! I was speaking of Hindi literature, verse written in a language so unambiguously 'Hindi' (where the definition is of a language completely or largely inclining towards Sanskrit-Prakrit vocabulary) as to rebuff the idea that some people have that a language like Hindi (as opposed to Urdu) was a forced political concoction of the 19th century, which is a statement you (Zora) made based on limited reading of disconnected Google sources. As for spoken language, iFaqeer's mini-dissertation is pretty much on the ball, although I would hasten to add that Brij Bhasha and Khadi Boli (proto-Hindi with purely Prakrit-Sanskrit vocabulary) are considered poetic languages (Surdas and other Indian greats wrote in the former). --LordSuryaofShropshire 17:26, Sep 12, 2004 (UTC)

Interesting discussion. Am I still on the Bollywood talk page?! Seriously, very "ethnologue." I have nothing to add because I don't want to argue or anything, just wish I'd been in on it! Khirad 08:13, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

Removed Bollywoodmasti link

Some anonymous poster (the webmaster?) put up a new link in the external links section. I followed it and my immediate reaction was that the site was commercial, not informative. So I removed the link.

I haven't actually checked out all the links there, and I suppose I should. Adding links is one of the ways people try to use Wikipedia for advertising. Zora 10:12, 14 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I just saw someone add the link (Bollywood Masti) back in. I followed it, and while the page is of mediocre quality, it does have large amounts of pictures of Bollywood stars, lyrics of filmi songs and several other cheap bolly-thrills without the exhortation to whip out one's credit card. I am going to leave this up to you and anon, however.--LordSuryaofShropshire 20:06, Sep 14, 2004 (UTC)

I checked ALL the links. One was dead, one was just for one film, and several were the ring-tone/wallpaper/celeb pics sites on the order of Bollywoodmasti. I deleted all of those except Planet Bollywood and Bollywood Mantra. I'm not even sure about keeping those. They seem to be fairly informative but ... they're still more fluff than information.

When I want to know what's hot, what's the gossip, etc., I usually go to rediff.com. But I'm not sure that's solid enough for inclusion.

IMHO, links should be to sites with useful information that goes beyond the Wikipedia article. By that standard, only the sound article and the Bollywhat site qualify, I should think. Zora 21:05, 14 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The plagiarism issue resurfaces

Some anonymous IP has removed a sentence saying that plagiarism is diminishing, and added a para citing two movies as blatant plagiarism.

I'm prepared to accept the first deletion, since I usually see only the hits that make it to Netflix and my local Indian grocery/spice/video store. I can't speak from experience re plagiarism diminishing, since I would imagine that it's the B-movies that are the most likely to be cheap xeroxes of Hollywood movies. If someone else here feels strongly that plagiarism IS diminishing and can make a good argument for it, please reinstate that sentence.

However, the added para doesn't work well with the rest of the section (it reads like an interpolation) and it's not clear that TWO movies (neither of which I've seen) constitute an argument for plagiarism.

The problem, as always, is defining plagiarism. Someone can lift a general IDEA and make a new film out of it and it's not plagiarism. (Shakespeare did it all the time.)

Frex, Akele Hum Akele Tum (did I get the title right? I loaned my copy out) has clearly taken the plot of Kramer vs. Kramer and given it an Indian twist. Wife runs away, leaves child, father and child bond, wife returns and wants child, court case ensues. However, the Indian version takes care to make the wife more sympathetic, gives the entire story of the marriage, changes the outcome of the court case, and changes the ending. I'm not SURE that this is plagiarism. However, there's one scene in the movie that I would regard as plagiarized: father attempts to cook eggs for the child and fails miserably.

As I've watched the arguments for and against plagiarism surge back and forth, I've noted that they seem to reflect a pervasive anxiety about the WORTH of Bollywood versus Hollywood. On the one hand you have the fervently chauvinistic Indians who feel that Bollywood is one of the glories of India, it is NOT a pale imitation of Hollywood, and accusations of plagiarism are personal attacks. On the other hand are the Indians who say, "Hey, look, let's be honest, cut this chauvinism crap, most of the movies are just xeroxes of Hollywood hits." They're reacting against the chauvinism that denies plagiarism and -- IMHO -- falling equally far from the mark.

I recently read Lawrence Lessig's book Free Culture, which is an impassioned defense of the right of artists to take a piece here, a piece there, and mix and match. Most art IS reshuffling the pieces. Discussions of plagiarism that assume that everything must be NEW and ORIGINAL are too much shaped by current copyright anxieties and don't really correspond to artistic practice, in all fields, over millenia.

Free Culture can be read online, for free. Zora 21:18, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Pas-de-deux

Pas-de-deux is indeed French (dance of two) but it's ballet French, and is now firmly a part of the technical vocabulary of ballet all over the world. A ballet teacher could probably teach a class to students with whom he/she shared no language, as long as they all knew the French technical terms.

I believe that a great many ballet terms have migrated out into general dance description and criticism, and it was in that sense that I used pas-de-deux. However, if this is misleading or obscure, perhaps a replacement word could be found? I'm struggling to think of one and coming up short. There's duet, but that's for music, not dance! Zora 22:22, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Copyright on movie posters?

Is there any problem using images of movie posters? Could we get in copyright trouble for doing so? Zora 17:14, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Dialogues and lyrics

A new editor added a great deal to the Dialogues and Lyrics section, a wordy encomium to some of his favorite dialogues and songs. I considered dropping it all, and decided that this would not be fair to a sincere editor, nor fair to what I know is the Indian penchant for quoting memorable dialogues. However, I'm not sure that the editor picked the BEST examples. Perhaps we need more examples? We also need an ID for the Amitabh film from which the first dialogue sample is taken. I probably should be able to do so, but I just can't place that first bit. Help from hard-core Indian cinephiles requested. Zora 20:54, 31 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The quote could be from any of a million movies :D. I think this exact wording is from Dharmendra's character in Sholay. (The connection to Amitabh being that the Dharmendra character is very angry over the villian having just killed the Amitabh character.).iFaqeer (Talk to me!) 04:54, Feb 15, 2005 (UTC)
It would be nice if you could either fix the given example, or find a better one.
You fixed the song lyric translation ... it may be a more exact translation, but it's clunky English. No English lyricist would write such lines. That's why I fiddled with the original editor's translation to make it sound better.
This is, of course, the usual problem with translations. Fidelity or felicity? It's worst with poetry. Given that people have been disagreeing about this for millenia, I don't want to say that you're WRONG ... but do you think you could work on it again and make the English lines sound better? Zora 07:31, 15 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I do translations of Urdu for fun (still working on make it work for profit) and am sensitive to the "felicity". Your critique is valid. But a translation that takes away a lot of the meaning is just plain wrong; one might as well be writing a different piece of work. I will see if I can work making them sound better in English.iFaqeer (Talk to me!) 20:14, Feb 15, 2005 (UTC)

Skin color

An anon editor decided to wipe the para on skin color and substitute a para about skin color not mattering at all in India, Southerners don't tend to be darker, etc. That is just plain UNTRUE, and I won't let it stand. Skin color does matter; I can read matrimonials as well as anyone else. Actors DO tend to be lighter in color than the average Indian. Southerners, on average, are darker than people from northern India -- though it's certainly possible to find dark-skinned northerns and light-skinned southerns. That's the way averages work.

The above-mentioned observations may not be pleasant; we all may wish that there was NO color prejudice in India -- or anywhere else. But Wikipedia doesn't exist to peddle feel-good pablum.

I did try to tone down some of observations in the older para, and noted that Amitabh became a superstar even though he's on the darker side of the spectrum. I think the anon editor was spot-on with that one. Zora 02:53, 15 Feb 2005 (UTC)


Anon Editor: There is no evidence that Southerners are darker. It is a stereotype. Please stop putting stereo types on the encyclopedia. The things that are written in the cast and crew section are incorrect. The article I have up there right now is correct. By the way, do you even watch Indian films regularly? Or are you just one of those people who has seen 2 or 3 films?


Anon editor, you should set up an account, take a username, and interact with us as one person to another. Then you can sign your Talk entries with four tildes.

Yes, I'm a foreigner. However, I have seen a fair number of Indian movies. I've lost track of how many. I rent them from Netflix and my local grocery/spice/video store. I've also read widely, hung out in rec.arts.movies.local.indian, etc. So while I'm not as film-savvy as many Indians, I've got a good background -- especially in the older films, which I've actively sought out. I'll defer to Indian cinephiles on things like the minutiae of music directors, dancers, bios and filmographies of famous actors, and the like. But I won't be bullied by editors with nationalistic or chauvinistic views.

It seems to me that you want to sweep the skin color problem under the rug, and deny that it exists, but it does. Anyone who interacts with Indians frequently AND watches Bollywood movies sees that real life Indians tend to be browner than their matinee idols. Anyone who reads matrimonials sees that light skin is preferred. Anyone who looks at the statistics for the Indian cosmetic industry sees that 40% of the money is spent on skin-lightening creams. Candid Indians themselves complain about these prejudices.

You typed in a HUGE list of actors and insisted that the number of dark-skinned actors was just as large as the number of light-skinned -- but you put Shahrukh in the dark category, which he's NOT, as well as equating less-well-known actors with stars.

As for differences between north and south -- you'll find that in scientific studies. It's not necessarily a matter of race. It's a well-known phenomenon that human populations living near the equator tend to have darker skin than people who live closer to the temperate zones. It's a matter of genetic selection to suit the climate. Nor is it a hard and fast line. It's just that the further south you go, the percentage of lighter-skinned people diminishes and the percentage of darker-skinned people increases. Nowhere do you get %100 one way or the other.

For scientific studies, or Indians themselves discussing the matter, see:

[2] [3] [4]

That's just a google search. I'm not a physical anthropologist, so I don't have better references at hand. I'm sure that there are some.

There's really not room to carry out a debate on these topics IN the Bollywood article. Perhaps we should start an article on Skin color in South Asia or some such title. Then we could link to that from the Bollywood article. Zora 02:33, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)


Please...dont tell me that i am pushing the skin color problem udner the rug. The idea that people living closer ot the equator is correct. i agree with it completely. I still feel that no skin color bias exists. I am Indian and i interact with Indians of all colors all the time. Some are very light, some are in between and some are dark. No Indians discriminate against each other based on skin color. That whole aryan/dravidian thing is false and it has been proven wrong hudnreds of times. It was created by the germans in wwII and it was carried on by europeans so that they could keep india split into many parts. If you look at ancient sanskrit scripts, you can see that it is written that indians from the north migrated south as the indian civilization grew. There were already people in the southern most part of india(which is now the tamil nadu state), and they mixed with the other indians.

If there is such a major skin color discrimination problem, can you please give me an example of one outside of bollywood? There is no problem in bollywood. Just because there are a few more lighter skinned actors than darker skinned oens does not mean there is a major problem in bollywood.

I read all of the articles you put up. I found that the message board with random people posting on it ocntained mostly non-indians. They complain that all indian actresses have light skin, but that is not true. There are many indian actresses with darker skin. The thing about fairness cream is true i think. Ancient indian scripts always talk about how fair hindu godesses are and hindu goddesses are always drawn with fair complexions in articles. I personally have not encountered anyone who had any problems with their marriage because of skin color. I know women with darker skin that have husbands with very light skin and vice versa.

Oh, by the way, how is Shah Rukh Khan light skinned? He has a medium complexion. And one more thing, the actors and actresses you see in movies do have a lot of make up on, so they seem lighter skinned than they actually are


Anon, if actors and actresses wear makeup that lightens their skin tone, doesn't this argue that lightness is preferred? If the "skin cream thing" is true, then doesn't that argue that lightness is preferred? If there are more light-skinned than dark-skinned major stars (which you admit), doesn't that hint that light skin is preferred? If goddesses have light skin ... etc.

You've also dragged in the Aryan/Davidian controversy, as if I were arguing that there are discernible Aryan/Dravidian races in India. I'm agnostic in the matter; I'm not up on the latest in the physical anthropology of the matter. But I'm certainly not arguing FOR a racial distinction. I begin to have a strong feeling that you're casting me as a villain in an Indian political melodrama (North vs. South) in which I have no interest, nor any stake whatsoever.

You blanked sections of the Bollywood article that had nothing to do with skin color, though they did refer to Indian regionalism. Please don't behave like this. You can't just destroy anything that refers to skin color and regionalism. If you were representative of a large segment of Indian thought, it might be worthwhile to insert a sentence like "However, some people argue that too much is made of skin color and regional differences, etc." But I'm not convinced that you represent much more than yourself, at this point. Most of the Indians I know really don't care much about skin color or regionalism -- as you say you don't -- but they don't deny that prejudices exist.

Again, consider moving this argument to a spin-off article where it can be discussed at length. A movie article is not the place for it. Zora 03:28, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)


Zora: Wikipedia is supposed to be a neutral encyclopedia, so we should put in both of our views. I brought up htat aryan-dravidian thing because one of htose articals you posted talked about it. I do not care about the north-south poliitical issue because it does not exist. Politicians and public figures are form all parts of India and so on. I brought up that there are a few more lighter skinned performers than lighter skinned performers because i wanted to put out the point that you cannot call bollywood biased because of a slight imbalance in the skin color of its performers. No major prejudices exist. You dont see indians killing or injuring each other over skin color out in the streets. No major incidents like htis have ever occured, so you cannot call it a mjaor problem. It is a minor issue that is slowly dying off. Basically, my view is that it was never a major problem and that foreigners are making it a problem. If Indians dont care about it at all, why should foreigners.


If 40% of all cosmetic spending is for skin lighteners, HOW can you say that Indians don't care? Are you male? I can see that this would be less of an issue for a male. It's the women who are judged most stringently by skin color.

But it's there for men too. Once I told my Indian online friends that I thought Sunil Shetty was handsome and they made fun of me for my bizarre tastes.

It's not just me, it's not just foreigners, it's something real. I don't understand why newspaper articles or comments by Indians themselves aren't enough for you. Instead, you deny that the people making the comments are Indians. Zora 05:01, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)


Zora: several of the people that made comments said they were not Indians. There are barely any newspaper articles on the topic.

Did the person that commented about your "bizarre" taste in Sunil Shetty say anything about his skin color? By the way, Sunil Shetty is not well known for his looks, so people may not like his looks in general...or it could be that he has been in very few hit movies. Amitabh, SRK, Hrithik Roshan and Akshay Kumar are some of bollywoods biggest stars right now and they all have medium complexions.

When i say Indians dont care, i mean that they do not talk about it amongst each other and they do not go around commenting on each other skin color. I'm sure peopel care about their own complexions to a certain extent, but that is not a problem. People all over the world care about their own complexions. People in America prefer to have a slight tan nowadays and people in China prefer to have very light skin. I do not see how a skin color bias can occur in a country where people have every possible skin color. People with light complexions have relatives iwth medium to dark complexions and vice versa.

I am a male and i have a medium complexion. I have relatives with all sorts of complexions and none of them comment about each others skin color. Some of my female relatives with darker complexions have better husbands than my female relatives that have lighter complexions. This skin color issue is not a big deal. If people want lighter complexions, let them have them. The creams sell well because al lthe women want to look exactly like aishwarya rai. If bipasha basu was more famous than aishwarya rai(bipasha has a darker complexion), people would immediately stop buying the creams and they would do something else.

Oh yeah, that South Indians being darker thing is a bit odd. For example, people from Bengal generally have dark complexions, but they are technically from North India. I know that the south is closer to te equator and all, but i think skin color depends on occupation. FOr example, farmers will have darker complexions htan office worker,s because htey spend more time outside.


I was away from Wikipedia for a while and had a chance to think about this. Anon, I think that you were reacting to something that you didn't like, but fixing the problem in a clumsy way. I'm guessing that you didn't like the skin color thing being the FIRST thing mentioned in that section, and that the para was writtten as if all Indians felt that way. I have rewritten the section so that first there's a description of movie star life and habits, then a discussion of the competition to get into movies, then a consideration of the various factors that help or hinder an actor. It's also made clear that not all Indians pay much attention to skin color -- just as not everyone puts a great deal of emphasis on physical appearance. However, the movie industry is particularily brutal in that regard. As are all movie industries. Perhaps you'll like this version better.

Oh, and DO take a username. Zora 10:40, 16 Feb 2005 (UTC)

--- Yes, i like this version a lot better. Thank you for changing it.


Then why the #$%@#$% did you remove it? I put it back. The ONLY change I had made to the para was removing the "--but not all--" which I had decided was superfluous, as necessarily implied by the preceding word "some". That did not change the meaning at all. Yet you removed the para. Without any communication whatsoever. And you still haven't taken a username. Please TRY to play well with others. Zora 05:08, 26 Feb 2005 (UTC)



OMG...take out the thing that says the cast and crew are traiditonally from Norther India. that is crap. Many of the biggest stars in bollywood have been from Southern India. For example, superstarts Aishwarya Rai, Sridevi, and Hema Malini are all from Southern India. Also, other people from Southern India include Dia Mirza, Sunil Shetty, Shilpa Shetty and Shamita Shetty. Bollywood is not biased damnit. It is pretty even. Only foreigners seem to come up with stupid ideas like "bollywood has a skin color bias" or "bollywood is biased to northern Indians". Seriously, this encyclopedia is supposed to be neutral, but you continue to put unproven ideas in the bollywood article. I WILL CONTINUE TO CHANGE THE ARTICLE UNTIL IT IS CORRECT! Also, please note that i am not that other guy who you had an argument with earlier.


All the actors you mention are fairly recent. Bollywood USED to be biased towards Northern Indians -- most especially, Muslim Punjabi refugees, though there was a strong Bengali contingent. Things have evened out recently. The article mentions that. The skin color business is factual, however much you may dislike foreigners mentioning it. However, I'll put in a caveat about some people protesting that Indians never discriminate on the basis of skin color. I'll also start an article on the subject, where the whole mess (which is peripheral to movies) can be discussed.

As for your not being the same person ... hah! You're coming from the same IP number, you have the same writing style, and you have the same hot buttons. Pretending to be someone else is just ... trollish. Take a username and learn to cooperate instead of thinking you can hide behind anonymity. Zora 02:39, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)


Ok, i'll see what your new version is like. And i am not the same person. I am in a net cafe right now. The other guy was actually one of my friends who is a regular at the cafe. He told me about this article and i decided to take action.


If people in the equatorial regions are darker skinned, why is it in malaysia (where I come from) the average Malay has much lighter complexion than the populations of both north and south india? One has to remember that Southern India's population is merely 240 million out of 1080 million (hence there are 840 million "North" Indians plus the close to 300 million Pakistanis and Bangladeshis who are also sort of North Indian...1140 million). So even if both regions had fairly similarly proportions of people with light, light brown, brown, dark brown skin etc, North India would still have nearly five times as many light skinned people..No surprises on why there seem to be a lot more light skinned people from the north...As far as climate goes, India is basically a tropical country...the so called winter season only really affects small parts of the North and as far as I can see, even New delhi which is smack in the middle of the cowbelt for the most part of the year experiences very warm weather (above 28 degrees). A recent documentary that was shot in New Delhi, encompassing local schools and some local companies...from what I could see most of the people featured here (most having surnames indicating they were Jats, Mathurs, Aggarwals and various other castes that are typically found in that area looked no different in features or skin color from my friends or relatives back home in Malaysia as well as in Southern India (Kerala)and Sri Lanka, most of whom are Southerners.

Moving on to Bollywood it is in my view one of the most superficial film industries around as its films do not seem to reflect a more realistic picture of the country...even Hollywood in all its bullshit blockbusters showcase a great amount of reality in its depiction of American landscapes and lifestyles, How Hollywood portrays foreign countries is another matter.....Hindi films for one rarely depict rural stories set in the Hindi heartland....a lot of the recent films cover some village in Punjab, where the people are supposed to be yapping away in Punjabi but are instead belting out poetry in Khari Boli. Maybe there has not been much literature to draw stories from or no producer/director is interested in making such films plus I personally think the actors/actresses (sorry catwalk dimwits) do not have the heart to look bare in real life ordinary characters of the countryside or urban middle underclass (plus they dont have the caliber to act). If Bollywood thinks moving away from its masala movies to rip offs of action thrillers will be a winning formula, then it will never be taken seriously as an industry that can produce milestones in film making.

(PS: There are a few arty independant films that have been made in recent years and lagaan in my view was probably the closest Bollywood got to in quality commercial film making....although I don't get why the villagers in it are supposed to be living in a village in the colonial Central Provinces (modern Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh) but were supposedly speaking in Awadhi, a dialect of central and eastern UP.)

Removed section on North Indian tradition

I'm sorry, I really HAD to remove the section on North Indian tradition. It's not at all clear to me that "North Indian" constitutes a unified culture that can be characterized in such sweeping terms. There are just too many films, and too many people, that don't fit the stereotype.

Also, Bollywood may once have been dominated by Punjabis and Bengalis, but it's much more eclectic now. How can you say it's North Indian when the top music director, A.R.Rahman, is Tamil?

I know that I've heard desis talk about Northies and Southies (usually with a denigrating attitude towards one or the other) but we've also had an anonymous editor here who grew apoplectic at the notion that there was any regionalism or regional conflict in India. And played revert war at any mention of same.

We may need to deal with the regionalism issue, but I'm not sure that identifying Bollywood with North Indian tradition is the way to do it. Comments invited. Zora 10:37, 18 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Commercial sites

I sorted out the commercial sites and put them in their own category.

I'm worried about linking to them, as we're inevitably going to get folks like the Webmallindia spammer who are trying to advertise their sites on every page possible. But for getting the Bollywood news, I don't know of any non-commercial sites that do the same thing.

Could the other Bollywood editors comment on this category? Should we just axe all the commercial sites and look harder for good non-commercial ones? Are these the BEST commercial sites? Could we make a good argument for posting these links and turning down others? Zora 02:17, 19 Mar 2005 (UTC)


Well, that seems to have encouraged the webmallindia linkspammer to strike again. Do I need to delete the entire category? Zora 09:37, 19 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • Just deleted the section. I think the better way is to list the sites which may be best to be mentioned Ex. rediff, filmfare etc on the talk page, and if there are no objections after sometime to list these on the main page. I am pretty much against listing commercial site, but i think there are no non-commercial sites which have a large repository of information on bollywood. We should also provide a link to imdb as they have extensive data on bollywood too. Let me see if i can find non-commercial sites. kaal 03:57, 20 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I am wondering, how do you classify commercial/ non commercial websites? Isn't IMDB a commercial website?

Sheesh, someone added it, and I thought, hey, why not? I don't even think of it as commercial, anymore than I think of google as commercial. I guess it's how "in your face" the advertising is ... which is terribly subjective, isn't it? If you want to remove it, that's fine with me. Most individual movies have IMDB links, however, so it would be strange to allow it there and not on a main cinema article. Zora 10:58, 20 May 2005 (UTC)



I think, IMDB should be there, it deserves it, even though it is a commercial website. But I think Bollywhat shouldn't be there as it is a website just like planetbollywood or indiafm. I am not removing the link, but would like to know what you guys think about it. --GuyNextDoor 03:34, 21 May 2005 (UTC)

Well, I like the Bollywhat website. I wouldn't use it now, but when I just starting to explore Indian cinema, I sure could have used it. It's a good site for firang newbies. But if I'm outnumbered, hey, I won't fight deletion. I agree that having any commercial sites gives the wrong message to linkspammers. Is there any in-between solution? Zora 04:34, 21 May 2005 (UTC)

Skin color redux

Sepia Mutiny, a lively desi blog, recently had an article on skin color, which provoked some interesting comments. See: [5].

I don't imagine that anything as paltry as real information will convince our "there is no skin color prejudice in India" anon editor, but I had to try. Zora 23:10, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Recent changes, two anons

I spose I should have said something here about two sets of changes I made recently: one, I turned the film family info into a list, as more readable, two, I added one link to an informative non-commercial site and sorted the links out into categories.

Two anons went to work on the article. One added something re the Mukerjee family, which was badly written and rambling, and in the wrong place. I reverted it, but I think I probably should have tried to incorporate any new info in it into the film family list. So, later. Another added something about how 90% of all films were plagiarized. That's not sourced and seems a bit dubious. If the anon can come up with credible sources, we can re-insert it. Zora 17:59, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Adding news and gossip sites

An anon added apunkachoice.com to the "guides" section of the external links. It's not a commercial site at first glance, but I presume it displays SOME ads to make money. I thought we (an utterly amorphous we) had agreed that it was best to cut out all commercial links. Otherwise we'd be overwhelmed by the hundreds of Bollywood ringtone/wallpaper/etc. sites out there. I'm leaving up the apunkachoice for now, but I'm not sure that it's a good idea. Anyone else have any thoughts? Zora 05:49, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I'd keep it, because it has useful links - perhaps we could use the subjective criterion of usefulness instead of the objective one of non-commercialness? Dboyk 18:20, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Commercial-noncommercial is binary, but "useful" is a continuum, which is a lot harder to police. I've ended up doing a lot of the policing, so I'm prejudiced in favor of "easy to enforce". I'm willing to give the usefulness criterion a try and see what happens. Other opinions? Zora 20:42, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)

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