La Tomatina

In India, fashion is defined by movies.

When Kuch Kuch Hota Hai released almost a decade ago, basketball became ‘cool.’ Kajol’s… uh huh forgot what it’s called… dresses in DDLJ became a huge hit. And then there was the Karishma saris and Kajol saris. Every time a film showcases something new, it becomes a hit with the masses and goes beyond the movie.

Now, the latest in line is La Tomatina. I’ve always been interested to attend this festival. There are things that are more fun than flinging tomatoes at each other but this is high up in the list.

The festival, held in Bunol, is actually going on currently. The festival has been entwined with the Spanish culture for decades now. Perhaps it started out of a brawl between two friends or due to surplus of tomatoes, it is a part of the culture… and now the tourist culture.

In India, we have adapted various other festivals… so why does the announcement of this one make me slightly uncomfortable? Like we are pretending to be cool?

The movie that showcased this festival made it appear the ‘in’ thing to do. Isn’t it just lame? We have our version of La Tomatina already – Holi. It comes with various colours, bhang, dancing, fires and in the modern version, even eggs and tomatoes.

I’m all for cultural integration and all that… but this has nothing to do with culture. Will be start having bull fights here simply because some movie showcased this as cool?

What particularly irks me is this festival could have a much wider impact on people and vegetable prices. (Am I throwing a tomato at your wow-factor?)

But given current vegetable prices, droughts and floods and inflation rates, we barely have enough tomatoes to eat at reasonably prices… and there we go, flinging them at each other… simply because Hrithik Roshan did it in some movie!

I guess I would love to shoot the festival in Spain though… Here’s a little blog post a Reuters photographer did a while ago.

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