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

GANGS-BC-SURREY-AUSTRALIA

Australian co-accused of slain gangster Sukh Dhak sentenced to 3 years in prison

KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI A co-accused of slain gangster Sukh Dhak was on Friday sentenced to three years in prison for his part in a…
Continue Reading »

Dr Cabbie

Indo Canadian comedy Dr. Cabbie making its way to the small screen

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI This year’s Indo Canadian box-office hit comedy Dr. Cabbie is making its way to the small screen. Toronto-based Entertainment One, alongside…
Continue Reading »

desi fun food collectibles

Surrey Night Market will be ‘bigger and better’ in 2015, say organizers

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI The Surrey Night Market is set to return for its second season next spring “bigger and better” than its inaugural year,…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

GANGS-BC-SURREY-AUSTRALIA

Australian co-accused of slain gangster Sukh Dhak sentenced to 3 years in prison

KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI A co-accused of slain gangster Sukh Dhak was on Friday sentenced to three years in prison for his part in a…
Continue Reading »

Dr Cabbie

Indo Canadian comedy Dr. Cabbie making its way to the small screen

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI This year’s Indo Canadian box-office hit comedy Dr. Cabbie is making its way to the small screen. Toronto-based Entertainment One, alongside…
Continue Reading »

desi fun food collectibles

Surrey Night Market will be ‘bigger and better’ in 2015, say organizers

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI The Surrey Night Market is set to return for its second season next spring “bigger and better” than its inaugural year,…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Avoiding relapse, inviting happiness over the Holiday Season

NIRMALA RANIGA VANCOUVER DESI The holiday season can be an especially challenging time for individuals in recovery from addictive behaviours. Holiday parties and celebrations with…
Continue Reading »

Vagina Monologues

Sex workers from India’s largest red light area seek American feminist Eve Ensler’s help

IANS Kolkata – American activist and playwright Eve Ensler Friday met sex workers in Kolkata’s Sonagachi, one of Asia’s largest red light areas, who sought…
Continue Reading »

Miss World

Bikini round removed from Miss World pageant

IANS London – The Miss World contest, which has been an annual feature since 1951, will no longer feature a swimsuit round in their competition,…
Continue Reading »

sexi desi babes

Gallery: Wait for India’s Kingfisher Calendar Girl 2015 is almost over

VANCOUVER DESI The Hunt for the Kingfisher Calendar Girl 2015 is almost over. An Indian lifestyle channel will air the grand finale of the reality…
Continue Reading »

Taliban attack

Pakistani student who skipped school on the day of Taliban rampage ‘isn’t talking to anyone’

VANCOUVER DESI A 15-year-old student of Pakistan’s Army Public School  – which was bombed by the Taliban this week, killing 141 people, of which 132…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Priyanka Chopra

Gallery: Stars come together for another big fat Bollywood wedding

VANCOUVER DESI After Salman Khan’s sister Arpita Khan’s wedding with businessman Aayush Sharma last month, Bollywood stars gathered for another high-profile Bollywood wedding that turned…
Continue Reading »

BOLLYWOOD

Film Review: Aamir Khan’s PK unconventionally outstanding

TROY REBEIRO IANS Film: “PK”; Cast: Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma, Sushant Singh Rajput, Saurabh Shukla, Boman Irani, Parikshat Shahni; Director: Rajkumar Hirani; Rating: *** 1/2…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood jodis-ex lovers

Bollywood’s ex-flames Shahid Kapoor, Kareena to work together in ‘Udta Punjab’?

IANS Mumbai – Actor Shahid Kapoor, who once dated actress Kareena Kapoor, has said that he has never refused to work with the latter and…
Continue Reading »