Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and the new Emperors of India

The famous British director John Madden who has had his greatest success in 1998 with „Shakespeare in Love“ now leaves his homeland for the new film „Best Exotic Marigold Hotel“ and travels to Jaipur, state capital of Rajasthan in India. With him a crew of long-serving British actors take part in this journey as there are Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Tom Wilkinson. The reason for that is simple but rather sad. It`s a story about seven old people, each of them has lost something: the spouse, the pension plan, the helpfulness of their children. In the western society there is no place to stay for these people, only if they arrange with a poor boring life without any adventures. A life in a waiting room. The younger think they are getting superfluous and do not know what to do with them. But the elderly take in hand their fate and decide to go on hollidays for the rest of their life. They arrive in a shabby hotel in Jaipur. A young man inherit it from his uncle. The hotel does not look like the paradise from the brochure, however the new guests come to terms with it and start to enjoy their future life in a foreign country. First Maggie Smith has to undergo surgery, it was too expensive in Britain. Judi Dench undertakes her first big journey and Tom Wilkinson is searching for an old love.

Till 1947 India was under British colonial rule. Jaipur is called the pink city. In view of the state visit of Queen Victoria`s husband Prince Albert of England in 1853 the facades of the houses were painted pink. I believe one has to think about the colonial past watching this film. On the one hand it is a feel-good-movie, not only for an older audience, but on the other hand it reveals a core of today`s ideology - the dark side of our hedonistic society. Because the question is who does the heavy and exhausting work? The economist In his survey „The Rise of the Creative Class“ Richard Florida describes an interesting phenomenon: the young creative people love endless chilling in nice indie cafés, thinking about the digital future, about the next party and how to earn money without working. But these Bobos – a term composed of Bohemia and Bourgeoisie – forget that someone has to do the (dirty) work. Someone has to serve the coffee. The simple idea is, it will be done by migrants. And for all the other time-robbing stuff, like to deliver a child or to care and nurse elderly we have outsourcing. In India many old western people arrive to spend their retirement and many Indian women carry full term the children of rich emancipated women.

Moreover „Best Exotic Marigold Hotel“ affords what we can call „authentic emotions“: willingness to help, true love and a spirituality for tourists. In „Eat, pray and love“ Julia Roberts plays a modern colonial master. She comes to Italy to eat, to India to pray and to Bali to love – after a year of self-optimization she travels back to the USA. She is a part of the generation who do not know what to do with the elderly. Her individual fulfilment does not know welfare. After the traditional colonial rule a new kind of masters is growing up. The new rulers are western consumers. Pier Paolo Pasolini and Peter Schneider prophesied it. The film makes good on it.

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