Indiapendent Television

I’ve noticed recently the popularity of Indian culture in the entertainment industry.  From the success of “Slumdog Millionaire” to the fame of Mindy Kaling, Russell Peters and Aziz Ansari to the sitcom “Outsourced”, it would seem that hollywood loves India.  But is that the case? Some would argue that to finally have “Indian” characters played by actual “Indian” actors is a step in the right direction.  Because Ben Kingsley is part Indian we’ll forgive him for portraying Ghandi. But what can we say about Peter Sellers playing an Indian doctor in “Road to Hong Kong“? There must have already been established Indian actors burgeoning from Hindi cinema. It was several years ago that I was introduced by a good friend to the tragedy of  Devdas, the hope of  A Fine Balance and the elation of Butter Chicken.  I’d like to think that I’ve evolved from being a “mainstream” aficionado of the Indian culture and am moving towards a deeper understanding of India. Or maybe not. The hope is that everything we are currently seeing on screen will help us become more educated about India beyond the stereotypes.  Do you know the difference between Sikh’s and Hindu’s? Do you know the significance of wearing a turban? What exactly is curry? Why is calling someone a “Paki” derogatory?  If watching Outsource doesn’t challenge our  ignorance than maybe we should stop watching the show and meet someone from India. Their name may be hard to pronounce but don’t worry, because your name just might return the favour.

5 thoughts on “Indiapendent Television

  1. Jabs…um…I was referring to Salima. Ha! Completely agree with what you’re saying.I’m so glad you posted your comment. It legitimizes what I’m saying! Good rant my friend. I think Mindy Kaling and Aziz Ansari are departures of the stereotype and are funny on their own merit. Whether you’re a fan of “The Office” or “Parks and Recreation” is another story. I actually watched a bit of “Goodness Gracious Me” at your place a while ago. Again, another necessary introduction to Indian pop culture made possible by…salima of course 🙂

  2. well put. being ignorant isnt an excuse.
    speaking of caucasians acting in indian films, when my brother was in india, he got a lead extra role in a bollywood film. “welcome” worth watching!

  3. PS. Great clip! I bought the whole “Goodness Gracious Me” series when in England….hilarious stuff.

  4. Oh no you didn’t! haha. Nice shout out buddy. Here’s my rant.
    I want more indians on TV WITHOUT accents and not playing typical roles. I do NOT want to have to hear the “pet the dog and twist the bulb” EVERY time indians come up…..we’re more than that……Outsourced is a disgrace, the show is TERRIBLE and should be cancelled because it just makes a mokery of the culture. The movie was ok because it had a “learning/growing/human” aspect to it and the characters weren’t goofball “the office” character style copies. I’m sure there’s some planned growth for the main character but he’s terrible along with a terrible cast and watching it annoys the hell out of me. Especially since everywhere I go people are going to be making the same old worn out indian jokes we’ve been hearing for years which this show is just re-using instead of trying to do something fresh. I’m done. Thank you for the article Omar, those are good questions which most people cannot answer.

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