Communication is perhaps one of the most important aspects of any culture around the world. Though varying cultures may speak different languages, communication is essential, and can be performed through speaking, gestures, and facial expressions. In the film, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the significance of communication in culture is expressed throughout, particularly in how the Indian culture communicates with both in and out-group members.
From the very beginning of the film, it is clear that there are many cross-cultural exchanges, thus illustrating the importance of communication in all cultures. In the beginning when Muriel and Sonny travel to Los Angeles to seek the advice and support of their hotel management, they sit down in a meeting together, hence combining the three cultures: Indian, English, and American. The Americans in this scene are portrayed as far more straightforward, using scant gestures. Sonny, on the other hand, is the Indian, and is wildly enthusiastic in how he communicates to everyone, using an array of facial expressions, colorful language, and gestures. He also communicates his respect to the hotel management team by waggling his head when he greets them: a customary greeting in India. Throughout the film, this head waggling can be seen numerous times between Indians when they greet one another, thus demonstrating their respect for each other. The English woman, Muriel, is a bit more “salty” in her language, as Sonny says when speaking to the team. Indeed, she is very blunt and direct with everyone she comes across, using very little incorporation of gestures. She is quick to correct the team on their poor preparation of tea, and shows them how to do it properly.
Communication amongst cultures can often be portrayed in various forms, such as through the arts, like dancing. At the end of the film, Sonny and his new wife, Sunaina, are able to perform their finalized dance at their wedding reception, after weeks and weeks of preparation. Bollywood dance has been a mainstay of Indian culture for some time, and is often used to communicate feelings between couples, such as love and passion. In the final dance scene, Sunaina and Sonny are able to display their affection for one another by communicating their feelings through dance, of which everyone joins in later to celebrate their marriage and feelings of joy.
With communication in cultures and across cultures, there is always the chance for cultural barriers to arise, as differing cultures vary in their communication styles. For example, when the writer, Guy, comes to the Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel to inspire his writing, he falls madly in love with Sonny’s mother. Sonny’s mother, however, is more reserved as an Indian woman and mother, and accuses of him being too forward or prying many times throughout the film. To any American though, Guy would probably appear to be merely very interested in her, rather than being forward. However, to an Indian woman, perhaps he would appear to be too invasive. In this way, the communication styles between the two cultures greatly differ, as both Guy and Sonny’s mother initially struggle to navigate through their communication. Throughout the course of the film though, they grow accustomed to each other’s culture, and learn how to communicate more effectively, despite their differences.
In summary, the significance of communication in cultures, as well as between cultures, can be illustrated throughout the movie, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. This film portrays three cultures –American, English, and Indian –which thus bring to light the varying forms of communication that utilizes gestures, facial expressions, and various styles of speaking.
- The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Dir. John Madden. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, 2015. Film.