Bollywood slams The Avengers

Kolkata residents are not generally happy with the scenes they’ve been seeing in The Avengers. They have referred to the Hulk’s alter ego, Dr. Bruce Banner, portrayed by Mark Ruffalo who hides out in the city’s slums. “Kolkata has a rich culture and heritage, and a filmmaker should respect that,” Bollywood star Rituparna Sengupta said to the Hindustan Times. “There are two scenes about India, and they only show the slums. It could have been done in a better taste.” The actress isn’t the only one who has taken offense by the choices made in the superhero film. “It is disturbing to see the murky underbelly of India in Hollywood films,” added fellow actress Neha Dhupia. “But before pointing it out to the west, we need to make efforts to change their perception about us.” The Hollywood Reporter indicates the town where Banner was staying was actually a set assembled in New Mexico, but the Kolkatans see it differently. “When will Hollywood stop cashing in on the poverty here?” said bank employee, Rishabh Bal. Marvel and Disney have yet to comment, but have been extra conscious of the Bollywood market. In the Hindi-dubbed version of The Avengers, the studios included, “Hello, Adheron,” a song by the Indian band Agnee. ~Graeme Mollison

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Suneagle • May 10, 2012 @ 9:33 AM

    That is the most egotistical, self centred, immature thing I’ve ever heard. Your making Bollywood look very stupid!! This movie was not a documentry or based on reality this was purely fiction! There was no “India” as you see it per se in the “Marvel” or “DC” universe this was set in a time period and the Hulk was In isolation. You can’t deni that there are parts of your country that live in poverty but isn’t it fantastic that a movie studio can shoot in that area using locals and feeding the people of India when they sign on people to work in the film. C’mon this is ridicules seriuosly and utterly I’m dumb founded that Bollywood would even say something like this out of pure jealousy. Instead of getting inspired they decide to slam us. C’mon you guys are wayyyyyy better than that and have made fantastic movies don’t put yourself in a Catigorey that everyone will start judging you and laughing.

  2. hulk smash • May 10, 2012 @ 10:03 AM

    Why would Banner, the most wanted man choose to hide out the luxurious or popular parts of the city. If I were on the run id choose the slums and distant outskirts to be off the radar, and prevent chances of an anger outbreak.

  3. Conal • May 10, 2012 @ 10:05 AM

    These people need to shut up, it’s not “insulting” to depict a slum in their country. NOT TO MENTION there’s a reason for Banner being there…he’s on the run from the U.S. military and many other agencies. He’s also trying to keep calm and remain in control, something the city may compromise. If the movie completely fabricated something about the city, then I understand somewhat. Are there slums? Probably, so it’s not a lie. Shut up and enjoy this fantastic movie.

  4. David • May 10, 2012 @ 10:42 AM

    Give me a break. Are they also cryinig about Slumdog Millionaire? Do they cry when Hollywood movies show the ‘rich’ parts of India? Babies.

  5. Pam • May 10, 2012 @ 10:56 AM

    I’m pretty sure that there are many many different cultural slums all over the world…should the movie community deny they exist just to be politically correct? I am sure it wasn’t done to oust anyone in particular…it is a movie for crying out loud

  6. Graeme • May 10, 2012 @ 11:03 AM

    I’m tired of all the whining. People just need to STFU and stop sucking their thumbs.
    The world seems to be filled with a bunch of people who just can’t be satisfied and find umbrage with everything no matter how insignificant.

  7. whatever • May 10, 2012 @ 11:11 AM

    so they’re trying to hide their dirty little secret, which is millions of people live in extreme poverty while the small percentage of rich people in India live in luxury. its called reality and I’m called its not being covered up.

  8. Ophelia • May 10, 2012 @ 11:42 AM

    As has already been said, it was logical for Banner to hide out in the slums; he was able to keep a low profile while working to improve the lives of the people who lived there – by providing them medical service they wouldn’t otherwise get. Thus he kept his mind and body occupied and his own life useful – perhaps his line “I’m always angry” – and the self-control he gained therein came from a righteous anger about the situation of the people around him. Who knows?

    It’s sad that there are such places anywhere in the world, but I really don’t think that Joss Whedon, who wrote the script and directed the movie, and who is known for his thoughtful portrayals of all sorts of people, would characterise India as all-slum.

  9. David • May 10, 2012 @ 11:43 AM

    Maybe the Bollywood community was expecting “The Avengers” to have more musical numbers with dancing?

  10. Jon • May 10, 2012 @ 11:47 AM

    I for one am Indian and I took no offence in that scene..Not sure what these Bollywood folks are in a up roar about..they need to get up from there expensive leather couches and help the needy people in those areas..

  11. Todd Bennett • May 10, 2012 @ 11:53 AM

    There are slums in every city. People who want to go unnoticed would generally choose such a location. If you’re an American you would pick a slum in a foreign country.

    If Bollywood doesn’t like their slums they should take some of their money and clean them up.

  12. Mike • May 10, 2012 @ 12:57 PM

    Idiots.

    It’s not a movie about India… it’s about the Avengers and the Hulks journey at that point. If a documentary about India and all they showed was the slums… then HEY, you have a point. BUT get a grip… it’s a sci-fi super-hero film. Get onto a more worthy soap box and let us enjoy our genre without the “mud-slum” job you are attempting.

    Idiots.

  13. TheTruth • May 10, 2012 @ 2:24 PM

    Ophelia that was pretty deep.

    Would Bollywood have preferred the scenes in the Avengers be shot in a call center instead?

  14. Garry • May 10, 2012 @ 3:12 PM

    When they stop making darker skinned Indians feel ugly and worthless in comparison to the light ones, they can start talking and complaining, but the things they do within their country to their own people in their own movies is SO much worse than Bruce Banner hiding out in a slum.

    So until they clean up their attitudes towards their brothers and sister, shut the hell up.

  15. ... • May 10, 2012 @ 3:56 PM

    I’m indian myself and I think that they’re overreacting. I take no offense to the movie, it makes sense for him to be hiding out in the slums like many said. I do however take offense to some of the comments on here about India, like ‘Maybe the Bollywood community was expecting The Avengers to have more musical numbers with dancing?’
    . . .Yea, real mature . . .

  16. John • May 10, 2012 @ 4:01 PM

    I can understand that people seeing your slums would be offensive. What would be a good solution is to build enough decent housing for your population and then movies couldn’t show these types of scenes any longer. In addition, fix your storage and transportation issues so your food doesn’t end up rotting before it can be distributed.

  17. Timmy • May 10, 2012 @ 4:52 PM

    Shut up!! These people are over reacting. I’m Indian and don’t care. They needed a slum place where he could hide out and there is so many places they could have chose. India doesn’t need a special film to showcase it. They should be happy they were even chosen. He could have been back in the Brazilian slum. A slums a slum, don’t try changing the story. “if you film in India you should only show its beauty” GET OUT OF MY FACE and respect the story.

  18. Basil • May 10, 2012 @ 5:42 PM

    2 “Bollywood actresses” and 1 bank employee from India are complaining that “It is disturbing to see the murky underbelly of India in Hollywood films”. What’s so disturbing about showing what is real? Besides if you’re a fugitive like Banner then how could you hide in the lap of luxury? They are TOTALLY MISSING THE POINT OF A MOVIE PLOT. If these Bollywood actresses want to change the image of their country, then they should donate their TIME and MONEY to improve India. In neighbouring Pakistan, only 2 percent of their population pay income taxes. How much of India’s pop. pays income tax? Probably, the same proportional number. Total Hypocrisy on their part!!!

  19. Roggs • May 10, 2012 @ 5:55 PM

    So sick and tired of this BS from other countries. Get over yourself. I am offended that they changed the movie by putting in their own song. May the Hollywood studio should sue them for changing the movie from it’s intended form.

  20. Garry • May 10, 2012 @ 7:39 PM

    @Garry well said. Indians should be more offended that they have turn skin lightening creams into a multibillion dollar industry. Yet no one cry about the fact skin lightening in India is as common as big macs in America (Michael Jackson would feel right at home). Wont change the fact that as light as your skin is altered to be I am Caucasian while you are Indian, and why should that matter?. And dont get me started on the uproar they were in over the film Water because of the child widow portrayals, or portrayal of gays in India, or Richard Gere kissing one of their actresses in public. like come on people you DONT want the world to see what happens in India? We should only show your Taj Mahal? Dont our movies show our ghettos, our rural farms with tough life, small town America as well as big cities. Get a grip GD babiesSincxe when we are suppose to care if we portray the truth? That is what America is about freedom to be truthful.

  21. Ed • May 10, 2012 @ 9:57 PM

    There are alot of disturbing and degrading images towards culturals and humans shown by hollywood in the movies and on tv.

    Look at the tv show `The Biggest Loser`, where they show the public that a person that is overweight and unable to lose the weight is a BIG LOSER. Instead of teaching the public that a person is worth being respected no matter what size they have. If the person wants to lose or gain weight that is a choice they make. NO ONE should be made to feel humiliated because of their size, color or race.

  22. Lloyd • May 10, 2012 @ 10:27 PM

    I’m Southeast Asian and am somewhat offended by the people on this page basically attacking Indians in general for the comments of a few. Seems pretty stupid and close-minded.

    Further more, one of the two actresses interviewed even said sentiments that you guys are echoing about improving themselves, but they’re still being called “babies” and “idiots”.

    Seems to me that the actresses are just saying that it seems that Hollywood generally depicts India as impoverished and a giant slum. That’s a fair observation. No one said anything about Josh Whedon or the Avengers being horrible.

    That banker isn’t the most intelligent sounding person though.

  23. Lloyd • May 10, 2012 @ 10:29 PM

    @Ed: think you got it wrong there bud. It’s called “The Biggest Loser” because it’s a competition to see who can lose the most weight. The largest amount of weight lost would make them “the biggest loser”. Kind of taking a negative term and putting a positive spin on it.

  24. yuck • May 11, 2012 @ 4:48 AM

    Lloyd is right that some ppl here don’t get the issue but Lloyd, your defense is really no different from the comments made by the actresses and the bank employee quoted in the article in that you are only supporting them.

    Garry definitely said it right!

    The problem these wealthy Indians have, and yes it also happened when Slumdog Millionaire became a huge hit, is that now that India is on the up and up, they don’t want their country’s image to be tarnished by images of poverty, which is pretty ironic when you see just how much poverty there is in India.

    They want us all to ignore the extreme levels and quantity of poverty of their country. Bear in mind that this culture still adheres to the caste system where class/status is everything, and this is further indicated by their preference for a lighter complexion. Any culture that is that class-conscious will be dogmatic about treating those “beneath” them as, well, worse than garbage.

    The poverty in India is real, and there are few places one can go *and please don’t take this the wrong way, I have been to India so I have seen with my own eyes and smelled with this nose but also other Indians have also said* it doesn’t matter where in India you are, there are all kinds of smells and dirtiness that is not sanitary. That’s just how it is. Overpopulated countries with a high percentage of poor people will create a certain standard.

    I think it’s sad how the poverty-stricken are ignored and taken advantage of. It’s sick that any one human can allow or even inflict the kind of damage that they do to another human, but on top of it, to your own?

    Read articles about poverty in India, and how the poor are treated: check out the one about the Indian pharmaceutical company that did studies on unknowing school children in a small village which resulted in the death of a little girl. The local govts were aware of the study and pocketed the money, letting innocent people ingest goodness knows what–not a care in the world for the poor! The parents weren’t even informed that their children were being poisoned! But what is saddest about countries like India is that poverty is so bad that people are still sacrificing (selling, etc) their children/family if it somehow means the rest of the family can profit/survive. That’s only one of the ugly truths about poverty in certain countries.

    Also see documentaries/articles about widowed women (including child-brides) and what they have to do to survive because of cultural stigmas against them that make NO SENSE WHATSOEVER. See for yourself! It’s so sad. But apart from that, India is a really beautiful country which an incredibly rich history and culture. If you can manage time away from the cities, the landscapes and nature can be so incredible!
    I am not sayng anything against Indians that isn’t true, every country is corrupt to some extent but you can’t take the comments by these actresses at face value and blow them off as nothing withouth looking at the situation from a socio-cultural perspective.

  25. cliff • May 11, 2012 @ 5:56 AM

    it’s josh whedon’s style. in stuff like firefly, he used slum ‘planets’ as the backdrop for hero’s often, like the mudders.

    even still the hulk last movie started off in rio’s slums for what seemed like half the film.

    hell almost all of new york is a slum anyways, so it’s not much different. bollywood just mad cuz we made a good movie, they think only bollywood can make movies about india.

    sorry, the avengers is better then any of your movies. ever.

  26. Ron • May 11, 2012 @ 8:59 AM

    One of the dumbest movies of all times-made for morons- a sad relection of our tastes and times

  27. SharonS • May 11, 2012 @ 12:56 PM

    If Bollywood is so embarrassed by the slums in their country, why not do something about them? Why not help the people there and clean up the slums?

  28. Lloyd • May 11, 2012 @ 2:21 PM

    Yuck, I wasn’t defending their words (I even called the banker an idiot), I just echoed some of the truth in what they said. Most of Hollywood depicts India as a gigantic slum. I agree with Neha Dhupia though. It must be disturbing to see your country constantly thrown in that light, but she said it’s on them to change that. Completely fair and accurate statement.

    It’s pretty well-known about the rampant poverty in India, no one’s trying to hide that, but show me any case where they show the nice parts of India. Have you been to Goa? Beautiful and picturesque. There are other parts to the country rather than Slum Dog Millionaire’s rundown home, and it would be nice to have those parts more prominently shown in films.

    I don’t know why you’re mentioning the government corruption in this thread. That’s also a problem in most 3rd world countries, but somewhat irrelevant here.

    In conclusion, no one is denying that there is extreme poverty, but if Hollywood keeps depicting India as a gigantic slum, it does take away from the culture and the very nice parts of the country. It creates an untrue and negative perception of the beautiful country that is India. Don’t stop showing the slums, stop ONLY showing the slums.

  29. Samsquanch • May 12, 2012 @ 12:30 PM

    Even Indians think India is a gigantic slum, why do you think so many have left and so many have come here.

  30. josh • May 13, 2012 @ 9:47 PM

    its a superhero movie bollywood shut up or we will send the hulk after you

  31. Ed 2 Lloyd • May 14, 2012 @ 12:12 AM

    If you think that the title “The Big Loser” reflects a positive point then I don’t see why the person who loses the most weight be called a Big Loser. Shouldn’t he/she be called the Big Winner.

    This show degrades overweight people, not only by the label they give to the winner (or losers) but how they treat these overweight people on their show. If you believe that being nasty and a totaly bitch to someone suffering with an overweight problem a positive thing in order to push them to lose weight, then your probably one of those people that behave the same toward all those suffering from other forms of health problems. Positive reinforcement, support, understanding and being respectful to all is the only positive way to lose weight.

  32. Laughterhouse • May 16, 2012 @ 3:57 AM

    Lloyd: Why on Earth would Bruce Banner be hiding out in “the nice parts of India”? Dr Banner always takes refuge in the crap parts of the world where his non-Hulk expertise is most needed: call it penitence. Whedon has to adhere to the dynamics of Banner’s character. Where would you rather have Banner concealing himself? In Ann Siang Hill in Singapore?

    That said: I live in Kolkata. Parts of the city are unimaginably worse than anything that’s been shown in ‘The Avengers’. You think what Whedon dreamt up was bad, a Hollywood Orientalist’s take on things? I love my city to bits, but there’s no escaping the fact that I wake up to my city coming down around my ears just a little more every morning; half the city’s got open sewerage; and infants die like flies in government-run hospitals. Weighing it on the scale of development, one-to-one, and “beautiful and picturesque” Goa loses out, every time. There’s just too much Kolkata and too little Goa in India.

    (This article’s got a few things wrong, which is par for the course in a tract written by one ‘Graeme Mollison’ who’s clearly done this whole shit over the phone: Rituparna Sengupta isn’t a “Bollywood actor” – he’s a “Tollywood [as in Kolkata] director and sometimes actor”, and he’s an extraordinary whinger about things he is unfamiliar with [but needs to do a bit of cultural critiquing on now and again], living as he does wrapped in brocade and silk and full-on airconditioning and parfums [literally] so strong they would fell an elephant. Neha Dhupia is a small-time Bollywood – as in Mumbai films – actor who’s most likely never set foot inside a slum, which is telling given that Mumbai is THE slum dystopia of the world. “Perception about us,” my fundament. And as for ‘Rishabh Bal’: it’s a pseudonym; but even if one accepts that the man behind the moniker is a banker, what would he know about Hollywood “cashing in on poverty”? It’s the bankers here – and the politicians – who’re hammering India to the ground, not Hollywood.)

  33. quinn • May 17, 2012 @ 4:45 PM

    I believe there are slums in every city, country etc. And it’s just a movie. Take it for what it is and what it delivers, which is a great time. SMASH!!!!!!

  34. Norman • August 15, 2012 @ 4:24 AM

    Is this why Bollywood never shows the “real” pictures of india in their movies. Compare bollywood movies made in india and those made outside. Last but not least Bollywood can never beat Hollywood…

  35. INDIAN • August 26, 2012 @ 9:33 AM

    what so ever shown in the avengers movie shouldn’t be taken as humiliation to us Indians as it’s in their nature.. I want to tell all Americans that Hollywood never shows beauty, intelligence and qualities of Indians…I accept that our 1/4 population is under poverty..but we are fighting against this problem. In Slumdog millionaire I didn’t saw one single scene showing something good about India. Also in MI:GHOST PROTOCOL brijnath (indian character) speaks “all indian mens are hot”. they want to show we are that much poor in english..Plz we accept that u r on top of the world now…BUT DON’T THINK THAT U CAN MAKE FUN OF ANYONE AND SHOW THEM AS DIRTY AS ANIMALS..

  36. Ananya • October 13, 2012 @ 11:40 PM

    @samsqunach:
    Just the way so many Americans leave their country and migrate to Canada. Because they’re f*cking embarrassed of their country’s foreign policies and the fact that more than 80% of their population is overweight and dumber than a doorknob. I’ve seen Americans in Canada calling themselves “Americans” to hide their embarrassment.Should I judge Americans on that?

    And all those morons crying about “f*cking reality”…F*CKING once care to drop by in your OWN ghettos. FTW India was under British rule for 200 years, and its only been 65 years since we got independence. Plus the second largest population in the world. Do you expect us to be a superpower within 65 years? In these years, we have built up a top IT Industry,can hoist the IPL, the second largest expensive sports event in the world, have much more general knowledge than most Americans can ever dream of, and can finance space programmes.We have some of the biggest MNCs in the world. Mukesh Ambani is one of the richest men in the world.Indian middle-class is one of the fastest and most-expanding classes in the world.
    So, morons, suck it up and ADMIT that Hollywood only bothers about showing the negative side of India. Because you’re F*CKING jealous you can’t be half as intelligent as the Indian nerds in your priciest B-schools. Grow some IQ, morons!!!

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