Let Them Eat Kulfi: France Escapes to Fantasy India

While the Russians bizarrely seem to think banning the Bhagavad Gita and freedom of conscience with it is actually sensible, the French by contrast appear to be entering a new phase of India-fetish. Mira Kamdar over at the NYT's India Ink:

The French have found a way to cope with the unrelenting bad economic news in Europe: escape to India. Not the real India but a fantasy land far removed from the realities of sinking currencies and credit-rating downgrades.

Paris metro stations are papered with huge posters for “Rani,” this year’s Christmas-season television special about the improbable adventures of a dispossessed marquise in 18th-century France and India. While, for a much more elite public, the house of Chanel unveiled on Dec. 6 to 200 handpicked guests, including Frieda Pinto and Sonam Kapoor, its Paris-Bombay collection at a sumptuous durbar in the Grand Palais.

The title “Rani” is helpfully translated for the French public as “the Hindi word for the raja’s wife.” The raja, who makes the French renegade Jolanne de Valcourt his wife, is played by Hrithik Roshan, the only name Indian actor in the series. The lead role is played by French actress Mylène Jampanoi who was married in real-life to Indian model and actor Milind Sonam.