A new Bollywood blockbuster about an Indian who is caught up in race-related violence in Melbourne has been labelled “insensitive” by India’s own film critics.
The film, called Crook: it’s Good to be Bad, reportedly depicts Melbourne as a city plagued by racial attacks and full of promiscuous women.
Reviews in Indian media have slammed the film for its sensational and stereotypical presentation of Australia, the Herald Sun reports.
“The film tries to pack in every sensational aspect of racism that is possible. There’s a white woman who pole dances and sleeps with (the male lead) with equal fervour,” a review in India Today reads.
“Naturally she is blonde and has big you-know-whats. There is a Australian man, her brother, Russell, who goes around hitting and bullying Indians. There is no other word for it. It’s terrible. More than that, it is badly directed.”
The review said that the film, which was released this week in India, spews “venom” against Australians.
“A country of ex-convicts. A country where they sleep with each other without marrying. A country where they don’t take care of their families. Yes, that’s the sort of venom that’s spewed against the Australians in Crook,” the reviewer wrote.
Film website bollyspice.com also slammed the film, calling it “far too insensitive”.
Crook was inspired by a spate of attacks against Indian students in Melbourne, including a number of stabbings in June last year.
The racial tension culminated in a protest by the Indian community during which Flinders Street in the CBD was blockaded.
The film has also been criticised for a topless scene, which although shot from the back, is considered very racy for a Bollywood film.
Director Mohit Suri said he got the idea for the film when he was in a convenience store in Melbourne.
“As the news flashed ‘Over 20 incidents of curry bashing have taken place in Sydney and Melbourne in the past 30 days’, I found myself standing outside a 24-hour convenient store in the Sunshine district of Melbourne city in search of a story,” he told an Indian entertainment website.
“Inside the very same store one of the most brutal racist attacks had taken place just a few months back. The events as told to me were horrifying, about how an Indian was brutally beaten up only because of his colour and religion.”
But Suri said a poster on the wall made him realise racism exists in all societies.