June 20, 2021: Continued poor / under-representation of Northeasters in Bollywood paints a depressing picture
Stereotypes and incomplete knowledge of one’s culture can lead to misrepresentation in popular media and we need an authentic voice to make the story clear. But are we ready to extend the mic to everyone? We haven’t been with Northeast Indians and traditional Hindi cinema. The brutal honesty of Manipuri actress Lin Laishram has now started an important (delayed) discussion. Let’s explore.
Details: “Mary Kom”: “Not Priyanka, a girl from the northeast could have been chosen”
What did Laishram say? The 35-year-old actress was featured in the 2014 sports biography Marie-Kom who saw world star Priyanka Chopra try out the titular role. While Laishram acknowledges Chopra’s dedication to playing Manipuri’s esteemed boxer, she rightly noted: “A girl from Manipur or the northeast certainly could have been chosen.” Because it’s not about hard work, it’s about proper performance.
Stereotypes: the country refused to consider the inhabitants of the northeast as Indians
The country has refused to accept the inhabitants of the northeast as Indians, their stereotypical portrayal on the screen is only a reflection of this. As Laishram noted in a recent interview, Danny Denzongpa has long been the Northeastern States’ only actor in mainstream cinema. “But we also couldn’t identify with him because he was fluent in Hindi, which most of us didn’t speak,” she said. Is the scenario changing now?
Instances: Stories now have more Northeast characters than before
There are surely more players from the North East getting non-stereotypical roles in the industry today. Let it be Laishram in Axon, Karma Takapa in the Amazon Prime Video series The last hour, or Andrea Tariang in Pink. As Axon director Nicholas Kharkongor says: “Unlike the past, these stories [set in the northeast] are not only filmed in these states, but also have characters from the region. “
Next step: Bollywood is resolutely North Indian in its global approach
In the sea of under-representation, these stages are just drops. Bollywood, the driving force behind Indian cinema, is resolutely North Indian in its approach. Mainlanders like South Indians and Bengalis also face a compartmentalized representation. Laishram also spoke about Tamil characters playing Tamil roles in the recent The family man-2. If such a representation becomes the norm and not the exception, then we will have moved forward.
Digital platforms: can OTT be the answer to inclusiveness?
Directors may fear that a movie will not work if it is not directed by a star. Thus, “if we want to see more representation, it is the directors and producers of the region who must take the initiative”, Rockstar Village-helmer Rima Das told a portal. And the OTT boom has, however, helped promote inclusiveness by proving that Indians have “an appetite for diverse language content”.
The press article, Continued poor / under-representation of Northeasters in Bollywood paints a depressing picture appeared first on NewsBytes.
Also see: Internet users still want “The Family Man-2” banned: here’s why
Pandemic Affects Schedule, Filming of Shahid Kapoor’s “Operation Cactus” Delayed
Netflix is preparing to release “The White Tiger” adaptation in January
Read more on Entertainment through NewsBytes.
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