#4: Bollywood-Hollywood “inspirations”, the world’s first female head of state, and samosas
In this episode
Did you know Tarantino took inspiration from an Indian film for Kill Bill Vol. 1? Or that the world’s first female head of state was from South Asia? Or the samosa, the quintessential Indian snack, is not actually Indian? We talk about all of that on episode #4 of Three Desi Things.
Growing up in India, we always would roll our eyes at some film that was supposedly “inspired by” a Hollywood movie. But I wanted to see if the opposite also happened. And indeed it has. Apparently, the manga killing scene in Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003) was inspired by a Tamil movie Aalavandhan(2001).
Quentin Tarantino told Anurag Kashyap, a renowned Indian film director, that he had seen a DVD of the Tamil movie and was really inspired by the cool animation scene. The link above has both the the clips. See it for yourself!
The world’s first female prime minister
The world’s first female prime minister was Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka in 1960. Her daughter, Chandrika Kumaratunga became the country’s first female President in 1994. Sirimavo Bandaranike became PM three times, and was Prime Minister when her daughter was president. Bandaranaike’s political contemporaries in South Asia included Indian Prime Ministers Nehru and Indira Gandhi, as well as Pakistani PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
Samosa is not Indian?
The samosa may be the most recognizable desi snack the world over. But where does it really come from?
Samosas actually have their roots in the Middle East and Central Asia. The samosa was first mentioned in literature in the 9th century by the Persian poet Ishaq al-Mawsili by the name sanbusaj in his book Tarikh-e-Beyhaghi. Originally called sambusaks, they were spicy, small pies stuffed with minced meat, almonds, pistachios, and walnuts. These were often eaten by shepherds in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as a high calorie staple that they could be conveniently taken out into the fields.
The samosa took its current form when the Portuguese came to India and brought the potato with them. The rest, as they say, is history.