Cage Becoming Sadhu?

Nic Cage

Self-described comics fan Nicholas Cage (He named his son Kal-El–that’s pretty hardcore) is slated to play the lead in the upcoming film The Sadhu.

The movie is to be adapted from the Virgin Comics series of the same name. Sadhu is the brainchild of Deepak Chopra’s son Gotham and is ultimately about “one man’s choice between his spiritual oath and his human instinct.”

That man would be James Jenson, the character Cage is set to play. Jenson is an army officer who, upon being sent to colonial India, ends up engaging in a different kind of battle—one that doesn’t involve guns, but rather the state of his spirit.

Call me Debbie Downer, but I just can’t get excited about (yet another) celluloid depiction of “mystical”/colonial India. Why does everything have to be about spiritual journeys dammit?

But enough about what I think. What’s your take?

November 14, 2006
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  1. November 15, 2006, 2:03 am AradhanaD

    I hear ya! It’s another stereotype that is outdated and very unproductive, anyone ever hear of the Maharishi for god’s sake? Come on now…

    There’s more to India than sadhus and saints, there’s also child-molesting sadhus and saints too.

    By denying that India (like any country) possesses both ‘good’ and ‘evil’ forms of religion, is to deny Indians full-humanity and individuality. It’s also a great disservice to religious and caste minorities.

    It’s yet another example of exotification – and is therefore racist.

    It’s funny, because the very people who go to India to seek spiritual healing, are the first to be disillusioned by the caste system, hyper-capitalism and mass-marketing. All things that HAPPEN in INDIA.

    But, I forgot – those aspects of India are all not indicative of the “REAL INDIA”… as though India is not a lived experience or reality but a concoction of the imagination.
    The white imperialist imagination that is.

    Of course there will be those that will argue that it’s ‘traditional’. India was traditional and spiritual and all things good.

    Right… and for those people I’ll say – all things good co-existed with a very rigid caste-system and soul-shattering monarchies.

    What time and place are these people who peddle the mystical notions of India dreaming of?

    I’m not denouncing India as a bad place, I’m just saying it JUST IS. It’s like any other country – with it’s positives and it’s set backs… it’s not a ‘third-world’ stereotype and it’s not a ‘spiritual haven’…

    All of those things co-exist, neither of them being any less or more real than the next. You have religious nut cases in the US – you also have serial killers. That’s the same with India – it’s far more complicated than what most movies make it out to be.

    “Oh, I touched the hand of a leper. He told me to prevent the spread of the disease I should bathe in the Ganges. The colors, the sites and sounds of the Ganges I will never forget. At the bank of the Ganges I met an AIDS invested prostitute with a heart of gold. This 12 year old ‘sex-worker’ showed me the true ways of a man. She showed me what it meant to be really loved. We climed Mt Everest together and we lived happily ever after in the city of joy having saved and adopted 8 starving children who’s limbs had been cut-off for the purposes of panhandling. Despite all their troubles the children were all so happy. This is when you know the real people – the real heart of people – when you’ve realized that you can be poor and happy. After my prostituted wife died at the age of 15, I spent the rest of my days meditating under a Mango tree where I achieved Nirvana.”

  2. November 15, 2006, 2:21 am AradhanaD

    BTW – I hadn’t read the synopsis of the sadhu yet!!! I’m just agreeing with you about most indian movies that rely on the ‘mystical trap’.

    There is something quite irksome that it has to be a white man to show us how ‘spiritual’ india is. Why couldn’t the Sadhu be an indian man who came to a spiritual awakening? It’s the same issue I had with rang de basanti. There was no need to have a white film documentary maker to show US the way of our PREDESCESSORS! Quite tacky…

  3. November 15, 2006, 1:22 pm Gopal

    Haha Aradhana, looks like you could use some of that spiritual peace! Breathe, my friend. I agree that there is often an exotification of India in media, but it is hard to deny that India is a spiritual place. Any random sampling of Indians in India will reveal they are far more superstitious (or religious) than their Western counterparts. It is nearly impossible to find an autorikshaw without a tacky sticker of some Sadhu or Saint plastered on the back. And you are right, that like anywhere else, there are those who would take advantage of the population’s religious fervor. But to say that India is like any other country is to deny that our culture is indeed unique, and part of that culture lies in our religious history. Anyway, just my 2 cents.

    I haven’t read anything about the Sadhu myself but it is written by Indian, so we have a fighting chance that it may be good or at the very least, not offensive!

  4. November 15, 2006, 5:44 pm AradhanaD

    come on now Gopal… not all books written by Indians serve all Indians ‘adequately’. We’re not all the same you know 😉

    I jest, but seriously, I have issues when the main characters are white people who are seeking ‘spirituality’ in India. It’s kind of bogus and flaky.

  5. November 15, 2006, 7:08 pm Gopal

    Good point! There are definitely a bunch of crappy movies that prove your point (the Guru, for one). There is actually this commercial on TV right now for Yoplait with this dim-witted white women who describes the yogurt as “Zen dipped in karma good” or something stupid like that. I should be surprised that stuff isn’t checked by someone in quality control (or at least by the intern who did her power yoga tape the morning before the shoot), but then again, why would we expect quality from a company that pours millions of dollars into their advertisements and 20 cents into their product?

    Anyway, a great book on the topic, if you are interested, is Gita Mehta’s Karma Cola. It is a superbly written semi-fictional account of the white flight to India in the 60’s and 70’s by people looking for instant nirvana. It is at once witty and critical of the Western armchair spiritualists looking for a quick fix and the “gurus” who took advantage of them.


  6. November 15, 2006, 7:09 pm Gopal

    By the way, that pic of nick cage creeps me out.

  7. November 16, 2006, 12:33 am AradhanaDevindra

    I will be sure to check out that book… Also you MUST read the “karma of brown folk” its a little dated now, but I have yet to come across something as comprehensive about the south asian diasporic experience as that.

    Brilliant!!! 🙂

    PS – Don’t forget to eat your zen yogurt in the morning, if you add some fruitloops and ginseng to it – it said that you are guaranteed a tantric experience…