Mem Bou: A Confused ‘Firangi’ Bengali’s Tryst With Her New Family
I am a non-Bengali, surrounded by Bengali colleagues with oblique understanding of the Bengali language. I’ve tried to get my head around Bengali music, for its sheer beauty, but failed miserably with the lyrics.
I assumed I’d have a similar experience once I was done waiting for Mem Bou to buffer. But ahem...what I encountered was a surreal representation of stereotypes stocked together.
The Story, Decoded
This is Mem Bou and she is hopeful that her husband’s orthodox Bengali family will accept her.
This is a bhabi who is scandalised after she witnesses a foreign mem entering her house.
Her hubby/boyfriend who will OBVIOUSLY NOT have the guts to support his videshi mem.
Dadi cleansing the bad omens that the ‘firangi’ brought with her. Not surprisingly, it is Durga Puja time.
Won’t be an easy battle, my friend.
Here are a few of things that I did NOT understand:
1. If the creative directors realllyyyy wanted to portray a fusion family wedding-drama, why didn’t they pick a real foreigner? Puffing a regular girl’s face with dollops of powder and casting a Snapchat filter on her eyes feels tasteless, no?
2. Isn’t having a fair bahu with blond hair and blue eyes the ultimate aim of every khaandaan in the country? So, why the unnecessary brouhaha?
3. We understand the country’s fascination with white skin and blue eyes (stemming from a major colonial hangover), so why regurgitate something that we practice so frequently? At least reverse genders? How about a gora ladka and desi ladki, the drama would perhaps be more fun, right?
4. Foreigners can also mean Africans, Latinos, Mongolians, and East Asians, why only fixate on being fair and lovely?
Conclusion: Stereotypes can be understood in any language: Bengali or no Bengali, you will crack up while watching this!
Do not miss out on the second teaser, it is more epic that the previous one.