Watching 'The Avengers' In India, With A Twist | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Watching 'The Avengers' In India, With A Twist

Play associated audio

When I went to see The Avengers the very day it was released, I texted a friend in San Francisco. It seems kind of unfair, I said, that because of the 12-hour time difference, I get to see The Avengers before you do.

Turns out I was a week off. The Avengers actually released in 39 countries around the world, including India, a week before it opens in America.

Once, we waited patiently in India for the latest Hollywood releases to trickle their way over. That's no longer true for the big popcorn and cola blockbusters like The Avengers. Perhaps the studios want to get in on the action before the pirates do. Perhaps they have woken up to the fact that there is a big market in the world, beyond L.A. and New York.

Either way, I am thrilled.

But sadly, the more things change, the more they stay the same. The businessmen in Hollywood might be aware there is a new world out there. The scriptwriters, it seems, are still stuck in the old one.

Sitting in a fancy multiplex theater in Calcutta with cushy seats, 3-D glasses perched on my nose, I discovered that Calcutta has a cameo in the film.

It is not the only city to star in The Avengers. There's Manhattan and Stuttgart, as well. Unlike poor Calcutta, however, they look like cities actually worth saving from invading alien hordes.

Calcutta looked cramped, squalid and leprous, as in City of Joy from 20 years ago. Then, Patrick Swayze was saving lepers. This time around, Mark Ruffalo is Dr. Bruce Banner, keeping his inner Hulk under control by saving eternally ill slum-dwellers.

This is not the reverse migration story about the West coming East in search of the future. Or even to Eat, Pray, and Love. It is a throwback to a much older idea of India: a black hole, all slumdogs, no millionaires, waiting to be saved by a foreign do-gooder.

But why does the Hulk even go there?

"For a man avoiding stress, you picked a helluva place to settle," the Black Widow tells Banner.

That is an understatement.

Given Calcutta's notorious traffic jams, stifling sweaty heat and frustrating lackadaisical inefficiency, Bruce Banner should have been exploding into the Incredible Hulk every second day.

That he keeps his cool in Calcutta is the real unexplained mystery of The Avengers. As the summer sweats up here, I, too, want to know his secret.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

No Small Feat: The NBA's Shortest Player Never Gave Up

At 5 foot 3, Muggsy Bogues holds the record as shortest player in NBA history. Criticism of his height started on the basketball courts of the Baltimore projects, and continued well into his career.
NPR

Tracing A Gin-Soaked Trail In London

Around the world, new gin distilleries are popping up like mushrooms after a rain. NPR traces the boom to its historic roots in London, which once had 250 distilleries within the city limits alone.
NPR

Ranting And Throwing Papers: An Angry Candidate Runs For Congress

State Rep. Mike Bost's rants on the Illinois House floor are the stuff viral dreams are made of. Bost says he has good reason to be upset, and wants voters to share his anger.
NPR

Israel's Solar-Powered 'Trees': For Smartphones And Community

The man-made trees are designed to create a public space where people can gather and re-charge a battery — their own and their smartphone's.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.