Holiday season sees a saturation of the cinematic market with an influx of wholesome but cringe-worthy holiday movies. Is it the audience that asks for it or is the industry too used to churning out “tidings of comfort and joy”? Read more to find out.

Be it “Rang Barse” or “Last Christmas”, festivals end up being not just a part of our real lives but also our reel lives. In the 20th century, cinema is not barred to only reflecting reality but rather moves beyond that ambit to build upon our lived realities and create an alternate world as believed by media studies scholar John Mundy. Every festive season is accompanied by an influx of new or repeated holiday cinema against a backdrop of the belief that this is the time when everything is right in the world. 

But can the cinema industry be completely blamed for this saturation of the market during the holidays? In the end, it is only catering to a society that was deeply embedded into the concept of religious festivities and now finds itself dependent upon a highly glamourous, minutely religious rendition of the same traditions. Rather than being restricted to religious beliefs, festivals have been gaining traction as events having aesthetic appeal and a more universal characteristic, the most all-consuming being Christmas.

…being a part of a family that doesn’t really celebrate (Christmas), the day often ends up being a bit disheartening. So, I have made it a tradition to find and watch that perfect Christmas movie every year because it helps bring that sense of joy, comfort, and “Christmas cheer” that I can’t find in my immediate vicinity.”, explains Hitanshi Jain, a first-year student at DCAC.

Psychologists have gone on to distinguish happiness into two types: hedonic and eudaimonic. The former is more transitory and refers to the sensations of pleasure and enjoyment, whereas the latter is a more resonating and long-lasting feeling, rising from experiences that carry a sense of meaning and purpose. Both of these kinds of happiness are considered important for the overall well-being of humans and this is what the cinematic industry has been tapping into: with its humour, traditions, decorations, and backdrops catering to the hedonic approach and the plotline of happiness over misery catering to the eudaimonic.

Most Christmas movies are created around the same storyline: family issues, conflicts, chaos, and negative emotions; all of them getting wrapped up with a happy ending where everyone finds joy and hope occupies the center stage. This craze has not only been fueled by the audience but also by the production companies itself with entities like MarVista Entertainment investing 50% of its development funds on holiday movies alone. When exploring the science of the why behind this, we come upon Christopher Deacy’s statement in his 2016 book “Christmas as Religion” about how Christmas movies act as a “barometer of how we might want to live and how we might see and measure ourselves”, tapping into the feeling of belongingness, familiarity, or the idea of “home”. In the opinion of Penne Restad in her book ‘Christmas in America’, she describes how many movies like ‘Holiday Inn’ (1942) were created from the perspective of providing another line of thought and emotions to the war-stricken atmosphere in America, showcasing a world which “has no dark side”. This notion has extended over the last century into every holiday cinema experience, promoting emotional wealth over materialist or consumerist tendencies and glorifying the essential happiness of humankind while disregarding the misery surrounding it.

The essence of these movies is that they don’t make you feel that you are alone during the holiday season and that you belong somewhere, to someone or to something.”, says Srivarsha Bhukya, a first-year student at LSR.

Each holiday movie ends up being this blank canvas that we know will end up in only the most beautiful colours, barring any possibility of messes, chaos, or disappointment. In a very Dr. Suess accent— these movies make us see that the flawed mirror still reflects that golden light, that the teared-up gift wrappers contained happiness inside, and that everything considered, it’s a wonderful life.


Read also “How to Kill Time Until Reopening” https://dubeat.com/2022/01/how-to-kill-time-until-reopening/


Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives


Manasvi Kadian

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With temperatures soaring up to 47 degrees and most parts of India being engulfed by the devilish summer heat, a getaway to the Himalayas can never be overrated. Regardless of the brutal temperatures in other areas, this region seems insulated from the heat and perfect temperatures reign throughout the summer. Of the many beautiful places to choose from, Darjeeling which has aptly been called the “Queen of the Hills,’ should be on top of your holiday itinerary this summer! While any travel magazine or website may provide a generic insight into this place, here’s a local’s report of her hometown!

1. Nepali Cuisine

Nepali Thali
Nepali Thali ( Image credits: https://kellysiew.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/thakali-thali-set.jpg )

People of Darjeeling pride themselves over the delectable local cuisine, which ranges from a full-fledged Nepali thali to the spiciest street food. An average Nepali thali comprises rice and dal along with an assortment of side dishes including sukuti (dried fish), sidra (another dried fish), gundruk (fermented saag) and the infamous kinema (fermented soya bean, which takes the nose some ‘getting-used-to’).
However, as always, the street food is the real showstopper! Although in the pan-Indian scene, the momo has overshadowed its eminence, Darjeeling’s famous aloo-dum, is a local favourite! Obviously the Indian favourite – momo, has its origins in this quaint little town. But beware! The momo-mayo combination here is not only unheard of but, close to blasphemy.
Then there’s the sel-roti (a type of bread which you have to try to know what it is), phaley (Tibetan bread), thukpa (noodles in soup) and so much more waiting for you in Darjeeling.
I could ramble on all day about the local food, but I have a list to complete!

2. Music in the city

Saraangi performance (Image Credits: http://im.hunt.in/cg/Darjeeling/City-Guide/music.jpg )

We are a music-loving lot!
Although the Darjeeling carnival happens in winter, music performances on the streets are not uncommon here. And if you’re lucky, you may witness a ‘saarangi’ performance as well. A ‘saarangi’ is a local instrument, somewhat like a violin but with a very distinct sound. For all the rock and jazz lovers, there are many pubs with local bands performing live music lining the streets. A lot of musical talent erupts from here, and you have to be here to soak in the glorious ambiance.

3. For the Adventure-Junkies!

Sandakphu ( Image Credits: http://www.airtraveller.org/media/reviews/photos/original/b2/ba/2b/Sandakphu-2-73-1417767135.jpg )

To kill the mundane, an adventure seeker should definitely visit Darjeeling! The local Himalayan Mountaineering Institute offers courses on rock-climbing and conducts expeditions to Sandakphu, a nearby village which has the shortest aerial distance from Mt. Everest. Apart from that, one can hike to nearby places including – Tiger Hill where you can witness the most beautiful sunrises. Bikes can also be hired to soar along remote roads rich in landscape and one can also paraglide over town. For lesser adventurous individuals, a morning jog around the scenic Mall Road may also prove a memorable experience.

4. Shopping

Shopping (Image Credits: http://www.sinclairshotels.com/assets/images/darjeeling/sightseeing/selfhelp_centre.jpg )

Tourists often pick up mementos to take back home in order to reminisce their eventful vacation and luckily, Darjeeling abounds in such knick-knacks. The curio-shops here are veritable treasure houses where one can scavenge everything from – Tibetan Masks, jewelry, gems, traditional attire to the infamous weapon of the Gorkhas- the khukuri! On the hand, art or any handicraft enthusiast should definitely take home a ‘thanka,’ a valuable scroll painting depicting Buddhist gods.

5. The people


But what is a town without its people? Needless to say, in keeping with the vibrancy of the town, its inhabitants are equally as friendly and welcoming. Striking up a conversation with locals at pubs or at Chowrasta (a meeting place of sorts) couldn’t be easier and proves rather helpful to the enthusiastic traveler.
The people are the real gems here, and it is they who can guide you to the best bakery in town or the cheapest haunt for local ‘daaru’ (it’s called ‘tongba’).

Lastly, in case you couldn’t keep up with the entire local lingo that this article abounds in then, that is just one more reason for you to visit Darjeeling this summer!

Swareena Gurung

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View from the CN Tower.

After 18 hours of air travel and a completely messed up body clock, a breath of fresh air is like heaven and when it’s in a country like Canada you can’t help but feel elated. The car ride from the airport to home was my first introduction to Canada. I landed at 7 30 pm at Pearson International Airport, Toronto in broad daylight. The sun doesn’t set before 9 30 pm which leaves you with a false feeling of 6 pm!

Notre-Dame Basilica
CN Tower

Even though Toronto isn’t a city with a checklist full attractions but it still has plenty to offer. The Lake Ontario spreads endlessly over acres, mesmerizing and beautiful. The sunlight reflects off the water and changes the water’s colour to various shades of blue. One of the more popular tourist attractions is The CN Tower; the second tallest building in the world offers a spectacular view of downtown Toronto and the Toronto Island.  The CN Tower opened the EdgeWalk in 2011, an amusement in which thrill-seekers can walk on and around the roof of the main pod of the tower at 356 m (1,168.0 ft). It is the world’s highest full-circle, hands-free walk. However, people are harnessed and it is safe. Nonetheless beware! Your heart will be in your mouth.

Montreal is a French speaking city, second only to Paris, situated in the province of Quebec. One step into the city and you get transported to Europe. It is a miniature Europe in America. The same narrow cobbled streets, road side cafes, street artists and exorbitantly expensive food! Archaic buildings, churches and souvenir shops are the three most common sights one gets to see. The highlight of the city is Notre-Dame Basilica. The church’s gothic revival architecture is among the most dramatic in the world; its interior is grand and colourful, its ceiling is a collage of deep blues and decorated with golden stars, and the rest of the sanctuary is a polychrome of blues, azures, reds, purples, silver, and gold. It is filled with hundreds of intricate wooden carvings and several religious statues. It’s beautiful and a must visit. However if you don’t know how to speak French, you’re in for a tough time because even cult brands like McDonald has its menu written in French!

‘The’ place to go to when visiting Canada is definitely The Niagara Falls. They are 165 feet high and 2,600 feet wide. The combination of the height plus width is what makes them so spectacular. It is a sight to die for and a living proof of how nature can be stupendous. The Maid of the Mist is the boat tour of Niagra falls. The boat starts off at a calm part of the Niagra river, near the Rainbow falls, and takes its passengers past the American and Bridal Veil Falls, then into the dense mist of spray inside the curve of the Horseshoe falls. The impact with which the water falls is so great that the spray generated is blinding. The view from the boat is unparalleled and absolutely nothing can match up to it. Standing so close to the falls, listening to the roar of the falling water with the spray drenching you, the experience is out of the world.

Niagra Falls

The town is also known for its night life and has tons of casinos. The place is surely a gambler’s delight!

In terms of food, the variety this country offers is not even funny. Food maniacs will find all cuisines ranging from fast food, Greek, Mexican, Afghani, steaks, Mediterranean, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and of course Indian. Toronto has a whole street called Jerard Street dedicated to Indian food which has everything from south Indian food to biryanis. The street even has a ‘pan ki dukaan’! The shop has that exact same Indian feel, tiny shop, sweaty man making pan asking you if u want gutka in it! The street is like a little India in Canada.

There is no concept of home cooking there. Everything is available packed, tinned or frozen. However, food is not cheap but quantities sold are massive.

Canada is pretty as a picture and inhabits people who are way too polite. Be it a waiter or a cop they would begin by asking how you are even if the cop wants to fine you! Unlike Indians, Canadians are over enthusiastic helpers. Pedestrian is the king and no matter where you cross the road from the traffic will stop for you. Every coffee shop, mall and restaurant has unlimited free Wi-Fi.  The air is supremely fresh and the country clean. Spending a month in Canada spoils you. The pollution, traffic and the filth of India hits you in the face. But as the saying goes, there’s no place like home!