I Will Be Exploring The Short Film Surviving Sabu Which Was Written And Directed By Ian Iqbal Rashid In 1998

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Explore the presentation of Orientalist discourses in the short film Surviving Sabu.

I will be exploring the short film Surviving Sabu which was written and directed by Ian Iqbal Rashid in 1998, with reference to the 1942 film The Jungle Book. My analysis will question the presentation of Indian and Muslim identities in both films.

Surviving Sabu presents the relationship between two characters: a father and his son. The family have immigrated to England at some point in recent decades, although the audience is never told when or specifically where from. The characters have anonymity, we are not even told their names. They could be two individuals of any migrant Indian, Muslim family, and the son concludes that this is all that they
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They tell a kind of Indian folklore which is not of India, but constructed by Kipling himself. This is not to suggest that what The Jungle Book depicts is a work of complete imagination; ‘essentially an idea’ with no corresponding reality, but rather that there are ‘regular constellations of ideas which become the pre-eminent thing about the Orient’. The Orient is conceptualised by strict and rigid lines of thinking which can never do justice to the ‘lives, histories and customs’ of the ‘cultures and nations whose location is in the East’. It is the pre-supposed authority of what ‘is said about them (the Orient) in the West’ which establishes the relationship between the Occident and the Orient as one of ‘power, of domination, of varying degrees of cultural hegemony.’5 Kipling arguably secures this authority in his use of Hindi words and names; he can be perceived as merely documenting the ‘true’ voices of ‘the other’. In the same way, the 1942 film presents a character who is played by an actor of Indian heritage; what is depicted henceforth says something ‘true’ about Indian culture. Such presentations legitimise stereotypical and problematic representations of Orientalist characters, for example the village men in The Jungle Book as brutish, simple minded and power-hungry. The greedy characters of the barber, the pundit and Buldeo are easily corrupted by the
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