• Friday, August 19, 2022

Entertainment

‘The British live in denial about their past’: Netizens school British historian who criticised RRR for casting Britishers as villains

‘It does not record the nastiness of 1920s British rule, but it does reflect the growing nastiness of today’s India,’ the historian wrote in a review.

RRR Poster (Photo credit: RRR/Instagram)

By: Mohnish Singh

Helmed by visionary Indian filmmaker SS Rajamouli, RRR has emerged as one of the most loved Indian films ever made. Ever since its premiere on Netflix after a great run in cinemas, fans, filmmakers, and screenwriters from all across the world have been heaping praises on the lavishly mounted film. It holds the record of the most-watched Indian film on Netflix.

While the world is falling short of words for praising the film, there is a British historian who is criticising the film and Netflix for promoting it. Robert Tombs, who is an author and emeritus professor in history at the University of Cambridge, has said RRR, set against the backdrop of colonial India in the 1920s, is filled with exaggerations about British rule.

“It does not record the nastiness of 1920s British rule, but it does reflect the growing nastiness of today’s India,” he wrote in a derisive review on The Spectator.

“To portray British officials and soldiers roaming the country casually committing crimes is a sign of absolute ignorance or of deliberate dishonesty,” Tombs writes in his review.

He goes on to add that RRR depicts the English as the villains in ‘nationalist myths’ as an excuse for former colonies to ‘make up heroic stories about themselves’.

“We (British) have played such an important role in the world over the last few centuries that we have accumulated enemies as well as friends. In many nationalist myths, we are cast in the role of villains. It’s a way that quite a few countries make up heroic stories about themselves.

“That is no reason why we should accept these stories as true, or start apologising for things that did not happen.”

His views have elicited strong reactions. Dr. Lavanya Vemsani, a professor of history at the Shawnee State University in Ohio, who specialises in Indian history and religions, took to Twitter to express her views.

“Needless to say, fans of the film #BritishBabu is upset that his nostalgia is being disturbed & Indians are awakening to the truth. Colonialist administration oppressed India in many ways, denying it is a crime,” she wrote.

“I read this so you didn’t have to and I can tell you: this entire white boy is in deep denial,” a user wrote on Twitter.

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