Slum Scenes in ‘The Avengers’ Are Criticized in India
By Dave Itzkoff
“The Avengers” may have left comic-book fans salivating and Hollywood studio executives happily counting their box-office receipts, but the hit superhero movie has taken some criticism in India where audience members have objected to scenes set in a slum in that country.
In a report in The Hindustan Times (and cited by The Hollywood Reporter) residents of Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta) have criticized a sequence from “The Avengers” in which Dr. Bruce Banner, the mild-mannered alter ego of the Hulk who is played by Mark Ruffalo, is tracked down in a squalid and overcrowded part of that Indian city, where he is treating a leprosy victim.
“Kolkata has a rich culture and heritage, and a filmmaker should respect that,” Rituparna Sengupta, an Indian actress from that city told The Hindustan Times. “There are two scenes about India and they only show slums. It could have been done in better taste.” The newspaper also cited the Bollywood actress Neha Dhupia, who said: “It is disturbing to see the murky underbelly of India in Hollywood films. But before pointing it out to the West, we need to make efforts to change their perception about us.”
“The Avengers,” whose cast includes Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson and is directed by Joss Whedon, grossed more than $200 million in its first weekend of release in North America. The film has also been a hit in foreign countries like India, where it was released about a week before it opened in the United States and is available in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu-dubbed versions as well as in English.
The success of “The Avengers” has also spawned rumors that a possible sequel could be filmed in India – as opposed to the scene from the current film, which was shot in Albuquerque.