Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, which opens on January 15, follows bounty hunters who get sucked into a web of betrayal and deception while seeking shelter from a blizzard. The cast includes Walton Goggins as Sheriff Chris Mannix. Goggins, who also appears in Tarantino’s Django Unchained as a sadistic slave trainer, started his career with the television series The Shield, in which he plays the iconic detective Shane Vendrell, and progressed to the silver screen with films such as Machete Kills, Lincoln and Predators.

After wrapping up The Shield in 2008, Goggins took a two-month break in 2009 in India. His blog, Hindu To You Too, traces his journey of his journeys through India.

Goggins started out in late February 2009 at the popular tourist spot Varanasi, then travelled to Delhi, and then on to Bodghaya, where he befriended Buddhist monks. In March, he marvelled at the Khajurao temples, mused about Indian attitudes towards marriage and sex, visited a mosque in Bhopal and ended the trip by celebrating Holi in Pushkar in Rajasthan.

Though his itinerary might seem predictable, Goggins presents an interesting outsider’s point of view of India. Here is why he thinks people identify with the United States of America.

a group of young boys spotted me taking pictures and began asking where i was from. “America” i said, “BARACK OBAMA” they replied.

— Post titled “There's some f*****g going on”, March 9, 2009.

An excerpt from his Holi blogpost chronicles his attempts to escape the festivities.

i must admit i simply wanted to participate as an observer. i even took refuge in the foyer of a HINDU temple thinking SHIVA would protect me. my efforts were in vain. 5 young men, suspecting my reticence, snuck up behind me and began smearing paint all over my face. i broke the grip of the biggest one, began running down the street, only to have my escape route closed off by 20 teenage INDIANS, who looked like they'd been on the road with THE GRATEFUL DEAD for 6 months. tackled to the ground i was, color stuffed in every orafice. i surrendered. i happily surrendered.

— Post titled “HOLI”, March 11, 2011.

Goggins also taps into the fact that Indians love being photographed. His subjects are run of the mill and that is how he brings out the distinctive in his everyday surroundings.

A tender moment between man and beast in Varanasi.
A tender moment between man and beast in Varanasi.
Goggins made friends with a Buddhist monk at Bodghaya.
Goggins made friends with a Buddhist monk at Bodghaya.
Reading through the newspapers in Delhi.
Reading through the newspapers in Delhi.
The Khajurao temples are interesting to Indians too.
The Khajurao temples are interesting to Indians too.
At the Khajurao Fair.
At the Khajurao Fair.
A late-night stop at a tea shop.
A late-night stop at a tea shop.
A mosque in Bhopal.
A mosque in Bhopal.
Goggins loves this t-shirt.
Goggins loves this t-shirt.

He also accurately summarises travelling in India.

Imagine you body, your human form, hollowed except for one artery running its entire length. then imagine everything passing thru that artery; blood, oxygen, carbon dixoide, water, food, waste, muscles, ligaments, joints, bones, thoughts, emotions, all functions of the body. add to that cows, chickens, elephants, goats, monkeys, rickshaws, oxcarts, tractors, transport buses, tourist buses, bicycles, rickshaws... welcome to traffic driving in INDIA.

— "Mobility", March 8th, 2009.

Goggins is likely to become more familiar to Indians after the release of The Hateful Eight. He gives us a peek into Chris Mannix, who claims to be the Sheriff of Red Rock town.

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All photos courtesy Walton Goggins at hindutoyoutoo.blogspot.in.