“I went to India to find myself”

Tracing world cinema’s neoliberal orientalisms

Authored by: Rukmini Pande

The Routledge Handbook of Popular Culture and Tourism

Print publication date:  June  2018
Online publication date:  July  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138678354
eBook ISBN: 9781315559018
Adobe ISBN:


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When the British television channel BBC 2 announced early in 2016 that it was about to produce a reality show based on the very successful movie franchise, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel—in which a number of older celebrities would stay in a mansion in Jaipur, India in order to test out the possibility of retiring there—it was a remarkable demonstration of the ways in which the forces of Western cinematic representation, revitalized neo-orientalism, neoliberal capitalism, and the voyeuristic impulses of reality television are converging in the contemporary moment. In a write-up on the show in the Huffington Post, it was also detailed that, “viewers will see them [the celebrities] participating in activities such as practicing Yoga for the first time, and meeting Jaipur’s royal family” (McGarth, 2016). Kim Shillinglaw, the controller of programming for the channel has also hailed it as kicking off a season of “entertaining new programmes with real purpose” (McGarth, 2016). What the purpose of this “social experiment” was with regard to the actual people of Jaipur was not touched upon.

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