Avengers Breaks Box-Office Records While Offending IndiansS

In the United States, The Avengers made $200.3 million over the weekend — breaking a record set in 2011 by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. The flick also made $441 million at foreign box offices — a very good reception — but some in India are upset about the way that country is portrayed.

In the opening scenes of the movie, Dr. Bruce Banner (played by Mark Ruffalo) is living in a poverty-stricken part of India, working with people suffering from leprosy.

Bengali actor Rituparna Sengupta tells The Hindustan Times:

Kolkata has a rich culture and heritage, and a filmmaker should respect that. There are two scenes about India and they only show slums. It could have been done in better taste.

Somali Pal, a student, agrees:

It's as if any scene requiring a slum has to be set in India. Why do they have to project India in such a poor light to the international audience.

And Rishabh Bal, a bank employee, asks: "When will Hollywood stop cashing in on the poverty here? It has become a trend in the west to show Indian slums and a Westerner trying to help the poor here."

A truly ignorant commenter on The Hollywood Reporter's site quips, "Maybe they instead should do something about slums in india so people stop setting films there." A more intelligent reader notes:

This is just a section of Indians (unlike myself) who have a habit of taking things too seriously. Sure I found the child's accent ridiculous.. but I bought a ticket to see Hulk SMASH!!!

Hollywood flicks are among the USA's most successful exports. But when we export movies, we also export ideals, stereotypes, standards of beauty, prejudices and preconceived notions. We ought to be careful what kinds of messages we're selling to a global market.

Interestingly, the "slum" scenes were not filmed in India. They were shot in New Mexico.

'The Avengers' Indian Slum Scenes Draw Criticism [The Hollywood Reporter]
Slum Scenes in ‘The Avengers' Are Criticized in India [New York Times]
Hulk's slum act miffs fans [Hindustan Times]