Neelam Deo on the Problem With Bollywood

Ambassador Neelam Deo is the Former Consul General of India in New York. She has a Masters degree in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics and has taught in Kamala Nehru College, Delhi University. Ambassador Deo is a career diplomat of the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), with over three decades in the Indian Diplomatic Corps. She has been India's Ambassador to Denmark and Ivory Coast, with concurrent accreditation to Sierra Leone, Niger & Guinea. Prior to her assignment in New York, she led the Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar Division in the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi, dealing with India's overall relations with these countries. Ambassador Deo has also worked in India's Diplomatic Missions in Washington DC, Bangkok and Rome. She is married to Dr. Pramod Deo, an officer of the Indian Administrative Service who is currently the Chairman of the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission in Mumbai, and they have one daughter.

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TRANSCRIPT

Topic: The Problem With Bollywood

Neelam Deo:    Well, I’m not a big fan of all Bollywood films. A lot of them, like, you know, any country that produces a thousand films a year as we do is going to produce a lot which are just light and entertainment and trivial. But Bollywood also produces it has the whole alternate cinema phenomenon where they produce some excellent films. The importance of Bollywood in the Indian case is and perhaps for other cultures as well, is that it is such a popular medium. It really, by the themes that it takes up, it is able to influence the culture as well apart from reflecting it.

And in India, certainly, Bollywood has been very progressive in many ways. For instance, it has always dealt with issues of religion by way of promoting [secularism], by way of promoting religious accommodation and respect for diversity. These are positive things. On the other hand, by also having had films which were very traditional in their portrayal of women for example, I, as a woman, would not see that as positive. I would think that you want to see more space for women in cinema as autonomous, as agents of their own fate. So, but, Bollywood now takes up a great deal more and treats more seriously its a female characters. I’m a big fan of that.


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