PUNJABI CHARACTERS: Why no backlash against Bollywood for portrayal of Sikhs?

Published: December 12, 2012

HOLLYWOOD HARV
VANCOUVER DESI

Bollywood actor Ajay Devgan stars in “Son of Sardar”. Submitted photo

I have written articles about being called an Indo-Canadian and about what it means to wear a turban.

But every time I pull out my laptop, I am very careful about not writing something that will upset the Sikh community.

I am kind of proud of the fact that the Sikh community will band together and protest any disrespect of their views, values, and shrines.

But for the same reasons I am careful with my words.

I remember clearly when Jay Leno showed a picture of the Golden Temple on his show and referenced it as the residence of a rich American. It was a harmless joke, but the response from the Sikh community was fast and furious and demanded a swift apology.
However, the same is not the case for Bollywood.

For years now, Bollywood has recognized that there is a major Sikh population outside of India that provides revenue for Bollywood films.

That is why all major recent Bollywood blockbusters will feature at least one Punjabi song.

They will also have Punjabi characters, when in the past the films were solely in Hindi with Hindu and Muslim characters.

But it is how these Punjabi characters are portrayed that really should be of concern.
No one can deny that when a new film based on Punjabi characters is released that it fills box offices in Vancouver, Brampton, Mississauga, Southall, Wolverhampton, Yuba City, Fremont, Fresno, and many other cities around the world due to the large Punjabi populations there.

But why is it that in every one of these movies the Punjabi character is portrayed as a bumbling buffoon?

The Sikh community lines up to see films like “Jo Bole So Nihal” and “Singh is Kinng”. And now we have Ajay Devgan in “Son of Sardar”. None of these people are actually Punjabi. But they play the character and make him look like an absolute jackass.

Now, I understand that these are fictional characters. But why is it that if a writer, or comedian, or artist was to do the same thing there would be outrage from the collective Sikh community but Bollywood gets a free pass?

Not only does Bollywood continue to make a mockery of turbaned Sikhs but they continue to profit from those same turbaned Sikhs at the box office.

If an openly non-religious person like me can see that, why does no one else see it?
Even in the 1970s and ’80s, why did every character in the films have a Hindu last name but the villain’s last name was always Singh?

The sad part is that me writing this blog will get more backlash than anything Bollywood does.

Everyone loves seeing a character they can relate to being featured in a blockbuster movie but at what expense? At what point do you say enough is enough?

Sooner or later somebody will see the deliberate attempts by one community to put down another community. Or maybe it’s just me.

Those are my thoughts and I just wanted to share them with you.

Hollywood Harv is a local born and raised comedian. He can be reached at hollywoodharvcomedy@gmail.com or you can see one of his live performances every Thursday night at Mavericks Lounge on 12th and Kingsway.






Featured

desi-crime-sexual assault

Surrey man who pleaded guilty to mistreating sex trade workers should go to prison for 2-3 years: Crown

KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI SURREY — A Surrey man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old sex trade worker nearly 20 years ago and…
Continue Reading »

sexual harassment

‘Will you have fun with me?’: Immigration officer sexually harasses female passenger at Delhi airport

HINDUSTAN TIMES An immigration officer at the Delhi airport has been suspended after a female passenger complained that he sexually harassed her by asking obscene…
Continue Reading »

crime-Surrey

Two Surrey men in hospital with gunshot wounds after targeted shooting

VANCOUVER DESI SURREY — Two men are in hospital with gunshot wounds following what appears to be a targeted shooting in Surrey on Thursday night….
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

desi-crime-sexual assault

Surrey man who pleaded guilty to mistreating sex trade workers should go to prison for 2-3 years: Crown

KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI SURREY — A Surrey man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old sex trade worker nearly 20 years ago and…
Continue Reading »

Changes to Nova Scotia law allow sex assault victims to sue retroactively

By Keith Doucette THE CANADIAN PRESS HALIFAX — Nova Scotians who have been sexually assaulted can now launch civil lawsuits against their perpetrators regardless of…
Continue Reading »

Changes to Nova Scotia law allow sex assault victims to sue retroactively

By Keith Doucette THE CANADIAN PRESS HALIFAX — Nova Scotians who have been sexually assaulted can now launch civil lawsuits against their perpetrators regardless of…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

World Cup final

Underarm incident recalled as Australia-New Zealand rivalry rekindles in World Cup final

STEVE MCMORRAN THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MELBOURNE, Australia — Relations between New Zealand and Australia at a political level have regained their natural cordiality in the…
Continue Reading »

Cricket World Cup

Clarke’s Australians prepare to take on unpopular role in the World Cup final vs New Zealand

JOHN PYE THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MELBOURNE, Australia — Win or lose, Michael Clarke and his Australian teammates are probably going to be portrayed as the…
Continue Reading »

India-Australia-weird news

Youth cut his tongue as sacrifice at an Indian temple for nation’s cricket victory

IANS Chennai – In a senseless act, a cricket crazy youth in Tamil Nadu offered the tip of his tongue as a sacrifice at a…
Continue Reading »

Freedom-Section 66A-India

Teenager shoots himself after father bans Facebook chat

IANS Lucknow - A 14-year-old boy shot himself Thursday after his father reprimanded him for chatting too often on social networking site Facebook, police said. The…
Continue Reading »

messy custody battle-desi lingerie model

Jeremy Renner’s messy divorce from B.C. model gets messier as custody battle rages

VANCOUVER DESI A B.C. woman who was married to Hollywood actor Jeremy Renner is being accused of being a gold digger and blackmailer who has…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

pakistani sex meera-Veena Malik

Gallery: Bollywood celebs in trouble with the law

ALMAS MEHERALLY VANCOUVER DESI Indian film actress Shruti Haasan has run into legal trouble after she pulled out of a signed contract, according to an…
Continue Reading »

Salman Khan-Bollywood

Bollywood actor Salman Khan denies he was driving or drunk during 2002 accident

IANS Mumbai – Bollywood actor Salman Khan on Friday told a Mumbai court, conducting the trial of the 2002 hit-and-run case involving him, that he…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood movie

Amitabh Bachchan: Balki challenges me with never-done-before roles

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS Mumbai – R. Balakrishnan and Amitabh Bachchan’s much anticipated third outing “Shamitabh” turned out to be a box office disaster, but…
Continue Reading »