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Bollywood's strategy for attracting a younger crowd? More zombie movies

India's Bollywood has been known for many things over time: the singing, the dancing, the ten costume changes as characters are miraculously transported to rolling hills in some New Zealand-esque setting. And then, of course, there is the beloved genre of saccharine sweet love.

Boy meets girl. Girl can't be with boy because of parents, religion, his terrible dance moves, or an arranged marriage. Boy persists and sings in the rain. They get married.

 

But now directors are looking for something new. Cue the new fad of zombie movies. As Reuters reported on Friday, Indian filmmakers are now trying to appeal to a younger audience by producing more zombie films:

Few horror films are made in Bollywood and those that do make it to the big screen tend to focus on ghosts and the after-life, which are common themes in Hindu mythology.

But this year, as Indian cinema celebrates 100 years, three zombie films made in Hindi are slated for release, hoping to compete with blockbuster U.S. zombie movies such as "Warm Bodies" and "World War Z".

Rise of the Zombie is coming out on April 5, and it's a trilogy. Go Goa Gone will come out in May, starring heartthrob Saif Ali Khan as a fake Russian zombie hunter (complete with "blonde" hair). And then there is Rock the Shaadi (Rock the Wedding), which will come out later this year accompanied by a graphic novel.

 

While Bollywood has typically not had many problems ripping pages from Hollywood's playbook, Luke Kenny, the director of Rise of the Zombie, says he will face a challenge in educating Indian audiences who don't have a culture of zombie folklore. (If you're also wondering how zombies got to India, Go Goa Gone blames it on globalization.) 

Of course, you could argue that India has more experience with zombies than one might think. Exhibit A: this take on Michael Jackson's Thriller.

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How many countries have gun rights enshrined in their constitutions?

American gun culture is exceptional -- that much we know. The United States has more guns than any other country (300 million) and more guns per person (9 guns for every 10 people). It also has the highest firearm homicide rate in the developed world (and the highest rate of unintentional firearm deaths.) But what of the constitutional apparatus that sustains American gun culture? How exceptional is the Second Amendment, which protects the right of Americans to "keep and bear Arms"?

The 2A, it turns out, is also pretty anomalous. As Zachary Elkins explains in today's New York Times:

It is actually quite unusual for gun rights to be included in a constitution. In our historical study of constitutions, my colleagues and I identified only 15 constitutions (in nine countries) that had ever included an explicit right to bear arms. Almost all of these constitutions have been in Latin America, and most were from the 19th century. Only three countries - Guatemala, Mexico and the United States - have a constitutional right to arms. Of the 15, ours is the only one that does not explicitly include a restrictive condition. Of course, many Americans, and a minority of the Supreme Court, believe that our "militia clause" amounts to one such a restriction - an interpretation the court rejected in 2008 when it ruled that the Second Amendment protected the individual right to bear arms.

So what are the other countries that have offered constitutional protections for gun ownership? Bolivia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Liberia have also, at various times, enshrined the rights of gun owners in their constitutions. (Bloomberg has a handy chart with date ranges.) Interestingly, almost all of these constitutions -- including those of Guatemala and Mexico, the only two that still guarantee a right to bear arms -- were modeled off the U.S. example.

Of course, the right to bear arms dates back before the 1st United States Congress, when the first 10 amendments were ratifed, to the English Bill of Rights from 1689, which guaranteed, among other things, that Protestants could bear arms "as allowed by the law." Indeed, in striking down a Washington, D.C. handgun ban in 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to bear arms derives from a "pre-existing" right to self-defense established after England's Glorious Revolution. From Justice Antonin Scalia's majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller:

Between the Restoration and the Glorious Revolution, the Stuart Kings Charles II and James II succeeded in using select militias loyal to them to suppress political dissidents, in part by disarming their opponents...Under the auspices of the 1671 Game Act, for example, the Catholic James II had ordered general disarmaments of regions home to his Protestant enemies...These experiences caused Englishmen to be extremely wary of concentrated military forces run by the state and to be jealous of their arms. They accordingly obtained an assurance from William and Mary, in the Declaration of Right (which was codified as the English Bill of Rights), that Protestants would never be disarmed: "That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defense suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law."...This right has long been understood to be the predecessor to our Second Amendment.

So, exceptional? Yes. Original? No.

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