thu 18/07/2024

The Real Marigold Hotel, BBC Two | reviews, news & interviews

The Real Marigold Hotel, BBC Two

The Real Marigold Hotel, BBC Two

Real-life trial at retirement living in Jaipur curiously disavows past precedents

Upstaged, by a cow: from left, Bobby George, Rosemary Shrager, Roy Walker, Jan Leeming, Sylvester McCoy, Patti Boulaye, Wayne Sleep, Miriam MargolyesBBC/Vinod Singh/Twofour

One novel and two movies, but the BBC cheekily claims that this three-part series was inspired by Deborah Moggach’s 2004 novel These Foolish Things, and the pair of films The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – but not related. How did the programme-makers come up with this, and keep a straight face?

We have here a contrived documentary, taking eight sexagenerians and septuagenerians, from the delightful and diminutive character ballet dancer Wayne Sleep and the horizontally challenged, formidably intelligent actress Miriam Margolyes, to the singer Patti Boulaye and newscaster Jan Leeming to Jaipur, to stay for three weeks in a central Haveli, to see if retirement on the subcontinent appeals. The voice-over, impeccably spoken by Tom Hollander, had a script which left no commonplace unspoken: India, we were told, was a country bursting with colour and beauty, not to mention year-round warm weather and a low cost of living. Got that?

It was understandably decided to go for staff 

We met our cast at Heathrow, with the above joined by the darts champion Bobby George, one-time Dr Who Sylvester McCoy, the chef Rosemary Schrager, and Roy Walker, once a game show host. For one, not all these careers are totally in the past, and we were also given no indication (as we were in the material that inspired but, ahem, is not related to this trilogy, any resemblance to which we must assume purely co-incidental) as to family and economic circumstances.

Why would any of these people consider retiring to India, although the viewer can understand the pleasures of a three-week jaunt to Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan, a noted tourist destination, complete with its own Maharajah, fort, palace and ceremonial elephants. Nor did we discover whether any of our chirpy group had visited the East before: except for that Marigold inspiration, the same kind of contrivance could certainly have been applied, let us say, to Thailand, a country which provides equal advantages of climate, inexpensive staff, and indeed superlative medical services for westerners (or those who can pay).

The pink city of Jaipur has a population of 3.5 million, and millennia of history; our happy troupe has three weeks to get to grips not only with the city, but with India too. Their home away from home, the Khatu Haveli, in central Jaipur, is a three-storey house with an internal courtyard, and in the same family – the Singhs – for 160 years; the matriarch introduced them to the house which needed eight staff a day to function effectively, and told them about the food market. Whereupon our intrepid group decided to try going it alone – for a day, which involved not only shopping for food and cooking but an all-too-intimate acquaintance with a live chicken, killed before their eyes, for their dinner. It was understandably decided to go for staff – defeated not so much by the cooking, but certainly by the heat. It was £20 a week each to have the full complement of staff, £20 a night for en-suite living – not to mention the use of the spacious mansion.

We were informed, however, that three days into India the visitors still had a lot more to learn about what made the country tick. To this end, they began to delve into hundreds of years of history. A young English-speaking guide, Ravi, took them not only through the magnificent 500-year-old Amer fort, but to the Galtaji temple complete with clever monkey families who stole the group’s plastic bags full of snacks (pictured above: Sylvester McCoy, Jan Leeming, Roy Walker with temple offerings).

Ravi also told the visitors that he was from a low caste, as our group began to be aware of the hereditary and potentially crippling Indian caste system. He took them all to his own home to meet the family of which he was the only financial support: mother, sister and several nephews and nieces, as well as some goats and a milk-giving buffalo. The family was charming, hospitable, welcoming, and the home certainly humble. His surname evidently made his caste recognisable, so that in spite of his enterprise, intelligence and talent, he did not have access to promotion. Next up, off they go to be entertained to tea by the Maharajah of Jaipur, his Marharanee, and a friend or two, at the Rambagh Palace, now a very grand hotel (with 200 staff) as the kingdoms were nationalised after independence (the Jaipurs have a home in the vast grounds).

We were shown that every home has its shrine or space for worship; Wayne visited a local Hindu shrine, with its Indian guru, and announced that he was on a quest to seek spiritual teaching. Our chef, Rosemary, self-confessedly stressed, visited a guru originally from Europe, now teaching at his own Om Ashram, 20 minutes away from the Haveli: she had a crash course in meditation and claimed almost instant benefit. At the end of the first week they gave a party for the neighbours, getting to know the natives; entertainment included Patti singing and Wayne tap-dancing.

Each of the group in their own way suggested they were falling in love with India, wanted to know more of the culture etc, and were puzzled by the contrast between what they saw as the life, vitality and warmth of the culture and the extremes of poverty they were beginning to glimpse. “I love this place”, they severally declared. What their decisions might be – to retire here or no – will duly be revealed. Meanwhile this curious programme managed to be both patronising to its disparate group from England, several of whom have had glittering careers, and the complex culture and history of Rajasthan.

Even the Indian Tourist Board may not benefit. The programme’s energetically superficial tone of voice underlined the rather maddening pointlessness of making a mockumentary faction out of the fictional Marigold Hotel – even when the only relationship that was claimed was inspirational. Tell me another.

This curious programme managed to be both patronising to its disparate group from England, and the complex culture and history of Rajasthan


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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First thing is that the most of the Indians doesn’t know about India, so don’t ask anyone and simply believe it. Like British people won’t show their feelings as expression in face, Indians show more expressions in face than required, So don’t imagine something based on their face feelings.Indians have many festivals and many rituals, Every festival has so much significance and linked to a story of god.For example : Diwali means “Lights of Festival”, but why? Why only on that particular date? When was it started? So you need to know the story of that.When we discuss about India, I think below are the major topics among foreigners- Food, spiciness or the food - Fantastic, but make sure not to eat spicy food.- Population - It has benefits too.- Traffic with people follow no rules - Another failure of government with corruption, anyone can get car driving license though they never sat on the driving seat.- India has caste system - This system helped to run the country with a negative government from past 65 years.- India has banned beef as they worship cow. - The killing of cows was started by Mughal empire as a war on Hindu culture. - Many Indians doesn’t have toilets - True but they will prefer Open, though they have toilets, What to do?- Yoga originated in India (America will take the patent of it soon, something like that prevails there) - Perfect for your healthy life- River Ganges , so polluted - When the knowledge turned to ritual and superstition, and forgot the real meaning, this is how it can be polluted- Cows and bullshit on the roads - Who are those idiots living them on the roads? they must have owners rather call them idiots.- Communal clashes between religions - They will be there. Better not to discuss about them.- Mosquitoes - Corrupted Negative government from past 65 years has did its best to grow mosquitoes population.- Hot temperature - Very hot sometimes- India is spiritual - Yes it is, but its becoming business, don’t get cheated- Cheap to buy anything - true but not in corporate multinational companies- Uncleanliness - Yes there is as people lost the mind- Taj Mahal - Doesn’t reflect Indian culture.- Please add more more nonsense here I like to hear how much India got corrupted In India everyone is so busy to survive in life, so no time to know about their past and what is good for them. Foreigners are lucky as they have time and the lifestyle that allows to understand something good.So what real India was and how they misinterpreted or misused?...- The education of the skill that inherited through case system- The first poetic scripture “Rāmāyan” by Valmiki and its evidences : About an India’s king who showed the path of life, who constructed a bridge on ocean between two countries, crossed with his army, killed the daemon king who kidnapped his wife and got back    his one and only wife.- The second scripture “Mahābhārath” by Ved Vyās and “Bhagavadgīta” told by Lord Krîshnā- India’s time system ( - India’s own medicine Ayurveda - India’s still widely used organic plant medicines, - Find a solution if you won’t get it in English medicine.- India’s Yoga and Meditation - Know where it started? Know what is Kundalini Yoga and Learn Prānāyām- India's culture of diversity - Diversity of castes and its strong bond between each of them (This Diversity word misused a lot and misinterpreted to diversity of religions to let all religions survive) - India’s holy rivers - why they are holy? Know how river ganges came from heaven and why it was brought back to here? Who did that? What was its significance?- The power of knowing India’s ancient scriptures, Know them, Most of the Indians doesn’t know them- Dharma (No equal word in English) taught on that land , Know what it is? - The India's knowledge of Universe which world astronomers can never achieve with the kind of education they have now.- Indian Women and their moral values- India’s family culture- India’s agriculture - India’s thousands of variety food- India’s cheapest in medical, - India’s knowledge about this life - You can know where you are on GPS of this universe’s billions of years life time.There may be more to add in this listLittle more in details about casts and beliefs….Veda are hymns to worship god. Which people from Brahmins caste show as the base for allIndia has its own time system( that defines the complete lifecycle of the universe existence. India has its own calendar that follows its time system, It says this year is 5117th year of this Yuga. India’s time system says that this universe life time was divided into four YugasIndia has great scriptures that gives knowledge A scripture from Treta Yuga is  “Rāmāyan”The second great scripture from Dwāpara Yuga is “Mahābhārath”And the Puranas told to the last king of Dwāpara Yuga to give the knowledge to live in this dangerous Kali Yuga, “Rāmāyan” written by sage Valmiki which has 24000 poetic verses. He meditated for long years without moving without food and water in a forest, then an ant hill had grown on him covering his entire body as he was not moving, and when the radiance was coming out of that ant hill, the other great sages who directed him to meditation called him out from that ant hill. Then he came out… (and I can’t explain everything here) with an enlightenment and written the first poetic verses of India about the King who was ruling that country at that point of time.Now every village in India has that kings temple. His name was “Rām”.  “Rāmāyan” means path of “Rām” in his life. Indians constructed temples to him to be reminded to follow him in their life. This scripture also be treated as a story version of Sacred Vedas.  This scripture has lots and lots of secrets hidden inside.As “Rām” walked through the forests from near to Delhi to Kanyākumāri and then constructed a bridge on the Ocean to cross to Srilanka with his millions of army of monkeys and related animals to get his kidnaped wife back from a demon king of Srilanka, the history of the various places and rivers was explained in that scripture. So you have to definitely read that scripture to know about the story of river Ganges and to know why its so holy. If any one visited that river without knowing the birth of that river, what is the point?India’s still strong asset is its family culture, moral values, that comes from King “Rām”’s life. “Rām” never said he believed him as a God, but there is enough evidence in the scripture as he was the Lord Vishnu's seventh avatar. So Imagine, its definitely difficult to know beyond this time about India.“Rām” said that he followed ‘Vedas”, “Vedas” were not written by anyone, they are the hymns heard by the sages when they were in deep meditation in forests, they needs certain type of tone to chant to be effective.Those who learn and chant Vedas are called as “Brahmins”. Learning Vedas is the education only to Brahmins as they follow all rituals and sacrifice their lifeTo be qualified as a Brahmin to chant Vedas, They are strictly vegetarians, Non alcoholic, No Smoking, No lying, no shirt etc…. They should live life bound to those Vedas. As they sacrifice their life by having strict rules in their life, only they are allowed inside to temples to worship god. -  But Many people from this Brahmin Caste is not following their rules, and got many bad habits like drinking, smoking, watching porn etc, they have got proud too which is another bad habit - but they try to show they are great because of their caste is higher, but they are not realising that they are no more great when they don’t follow their rules.Any other cast should not enter inside temples.Not even kings allowed inside temples. That means every one else can see god from outside of the main temple through the door.Its to understand about the caste system in India…Then the caste of Kings known as Kshatriyas, There are no more kings now and This caste is no more in this Yuga.Teaching War tactics and ruling the kingdom was the education to princesses of those kingdoms, Every kingdom has a Guru of that time to teach the princess of those kingdomsAll other education was inherited from their parents, For ex, a potter will teach his kids to make the pots. so he is the caste of potters, There “was” no disrespect for the caste or profession anywhere in its ancient scriptures. Also there were most known Gurus and Sages who were not from caste of Brahmins.The system of this education from parent to child was great in India even today, There is a caste near to where I live in India, they get skill of cooking from their parents, They cook for 10,000 people without an error and with a plan of 15 minutes to estimate what is required to cook. They get the skill from their parents.Those cooks have no education of what we call as education. Some of them can’t even read or write. But they are amazingly skilful, and people from no other country in the world have that skill of cooking.The caste means "people with certain profession”, the caste means community of people who follow certain DHARMA, and each caste has certain restrictions on the food they are allowed to eat. This is not hard and fast rule, but its a moral rule to be part of that community. But King had to resolve issues to keep all caste people follow their dharma.There is caste called Vysya, this caste people does business like selling goods, lending money etc. They are vegetarians but they are allowed to eat egg. But now a days every one is doing business, but India has this caste and they still do business?Then the most worried by you is about backward caste, they are allowed to eat all types of food, so they will be kept little away from certain types of rituals. This is like if you haven’t taken bath or washed hand, will you be allowed to put your hand in the food?I am also in the middle of caste hierarchy, I am not Brahmin or Kings caste but My caste is treated as higher caste and I won’t get any benefits from government.I don’t show the caste to get sympathy.And to those in backward castes gets all types of benefits from the government, they do have reservation in education and job, so they will get university seats and jobs though they are less skilful. But private companies won’t entertain less skilful persons whichever caste they may be from.But that doesn’t mean they are avoided by the community. Then who avoided them? Wait I will tell you.People may show caste as excuse to get sympathy but India is giving 50% reservation to low caste people, There are millions of upper caste families who don’t have money to eat whatever they want to eat, they don’t have money to pay college fee though their children gets distinction in school, They won’t get government jobs though they achieve 70% marks, but low cast person can get govt job though he failed, they just need to attempt the exam, no need to get minimum marks.Though we all caste people are same we have our limits but these limits misused as avoidance by politicians and rebels.The priorities changes when something changed physically and mentally. So its the food that does it. Its all explained thoroughly in the scriptures.So if you want to discuss about caste, ask whether a low caste person is okay to denounce his caste and move to higher caste? they won’t because they loose the benefits. So stop talking non sense about India’s caste system.and As I mentioned above, The second great scripture from India is “Mahābhārath”, The most knowledgeable scripture we have in this world is “Bhagavadgīta” told by Lord Krîshnā (The Eight incarnation of Lord Vishnu’s) is part of “Mahābhārath”, This was written by "Ved Vyas” who is from a low caste of what you call as a low caste. India doesn’t have a religion, Hinduism is a way of life, all things permitted there but they will be treated as different castes based on their way of lifeSo where is the lowness of the Caste? Then where did it came from? Its all started when rulers from Iran and middle eastern area conquered India and forcefully injected wrong things into their scriptures, and forcefully applied their version of rituals and beliefs.So in one way they tried to impose their religion and the other way they tried to corrupt the Indian culture, they injected hatred into the culture. So its a big story how they did it.But whatever is happening not unknown to the genius people in India, but this is Kali yuga, and the sins and dangers of this time was already explained just before this Yuga was started.Indians were given 18 Puranas and some Upanishads that has given information of how to be saved from this life in Kali Yuga, We have also got India’s version of medicine (Ayurveda) Organic medicine without side effects.Its like a kit we have got with enough knowledge for life, medicine etc through the last King of previous Yuga.But we lost our mind and body, so we don’t listen to them, and we don’t use Ayurveda, and we destroy all medicinal plants near to our homes. and we don’t know our history, all we know was almost nothing.We lough at our culture and we try to follow foreign culture which we don’t know the basics of that.India is a complex system of the society which runs though there is no government. India is surviving from past 65 years with a negative government that corrupted the culture more and

The original content is harsh and unnecessay, the previous comment undecipherable. The programme had it's faults but the comments offered by the reviewer were cheap shots.

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