In this intriguing and entertaining thriller, Khalid Youssef tells the story of a young, rich man (Hani Salama) who kills his wife and his brother when he finds them in bed together. After ... See full summary »
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"Film Hindi" plot revolves around the friendship and foibles of "Cheb" Sayed, a barber, and Atef, a satellite dish installation operative. Their friendship of thirty years is tested when a conflict over an apartment in Shobra arises when it turns out that both their respective partners desire that house. "Film Hindi" is an entertaining film overall, with catchy tunes including "raï" music which originated in Western Algeria. It can be viewed as a spoof on Bollywood films, which are distinct for their incorporation of music and dancing.
The film tries to portray the lower and middle class through the goals, dreams and ambitions of the two main leads. It also tackles sensitive subject matter that includes religion, brotherhood, youth culture and Westernization, relationships and national unity. What I particularly disliked about the film was its misogynistic portrayal of women and insensitive treatment of religion.
I felt that the film was biased towards Islam since the Christian characters were portrayed in an unflattering light as compared to the Muslims, though this is debatable. To elaborate, Orthodox Mary is selfish, spiteful and shallow, despite all her religious pretensions. Reformist Atef is a bumbling, repressed weakling who is willing to convert from Reformist to Orthodox for a women, thus showing the strength and devotion to his faith as compared to his devotion to women. Muslim Sayed, on the other hand, was shown as better understanding of the nature of sacrifice and giving despite his outward appearance of frivolity.
Christian ritual was also treated lightly. The priest was shown as more of a relationship and sex counselor rather than a divine guide and leader. The scenes of prayer/mass and candle-lighting were used as backdrops for Atef to pursue Mary, his latest love interest thus making the church seem more like a socializing place/ dating hot spot instead of a place of worship. Interestingly, the interior of no mosque or Islamic ritual was shown.
In terms of misogyny, I felt that the female characters were very one-dimensional, and portrayed more of as objects and as venues for sexual gratification. The women were also shown as having exaggerated characteristics causing them to be quarrelsome and meddlesome. Ultimately they are discarded and Sayed and Atef are shown as happier and more carefree without them.
The film can be merited on account of how the director manages to treat sensitive topics using humor as a medium, and in such a way that does not directly address or undermine the tensions that exist between the (Coptic) Christians and Muslims, though not very skillfully, in my opinion.
All in all, I can conclude that this film should be watched as pure entertainment, and not have serious readings as a realistic portrait of the Egyptian lower/middle class and the issues that they face.
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