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

Abbotsford

Jag Khosa: Families pay the ultimate price of gang wars

DET. JAG KHOSA SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Late into the night, the parents of a young man struggled to sleep. The mother kept tossing and…
Continue Reading »

linda-hepnerdesi

Linda Hepner, Doug McCallum top two latest Surrey civic election polls

Candidates trade lead spot in polls released this week CHRISTOPHER POON SURREY NOW SURREY — Two new polls released this week show candidates Linda Hepner…
Continue Reading »

DIWALI

Vancouver’s ‘Spice Goddess’ Bal Arneson loves celebrating Diwali with friends and family

LOIS ABRAHAM THE CANADIAN PRESS TORONTO – Ever since she was a little girl in India, “Spice Goddess” host Bal Arneson has loved celebrating the…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Five things to know about who receives honorary citizenship in Canada

By Stephanie Levitz THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA – Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, a co-winner of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, will become the sixth person…
Continue Reading »

Abbotsford

Jag Khosa: Families pay the ultimate price of gang wars

DET. JAG KHOSA SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Late into the night, the parents of a young man struggled to sleep. The mother kept tossing and…
Continue Reading »

Facebook photo showing Martin Rouleau

Canada is Losing the Values War!

UJJAL DOSANJH SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI The dreaded happened in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, a quiet historic town in Quebec. Many years ago I stayed there for a…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Facebook photo showing Martin Rouleau

Canada is Losing the Values War!

UJJAL DOSANJH SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI The dreaded happened in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, a quiet historic town in Quebec. Many years ago I stayed there for a…
Continue Reading »

Vancouver school students

Gallery: Dalai Lama in Vancouver

VANCOUVER DESI Check out photos of the Dalai Lama meeting students and some staff of John Oliver Secondary prior to attending the Heart-Mind Youth Dialogue…
Continue Reading »

INDIA-WILDLIFE-ELEPHANT

Heartbreaking photos of two elephants electrocuted in India

IANS Siliguri – Two elephants, including a female, were electrocuted in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district Saturday, an official said. The tuskers were found in a…
Continue Reading »

Aman Grewal

Gallery: Army officer’s wife wins Mrs. India Worldwide pageant

IANS New Delhi – Aman Grewal, wife of an army officer, was declared the winner of Haut.Monde Mrs.India Worldwide 2014 here. Grewal, who hails from…
Continue Reading »

varsha

Ontario teen fighting superbugs with an assist from Indian home cooking

TOM SPEARS OTTAWA CITIZEN Like a lot of great discoveries, Varsha Jayasankar’s foray into how to kill superbugs with an extract from Indian food started…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Bollywood

Saif Ali Khan poses with pants down

IANS New Delhi – Actor-producer Saif Ali Khan was caught and clicked with his pants down while shooting for his new film “Happy Ending”. As…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt says ‘Going Home’ a special short film

IANS Mumbai – If the masses loved her in movies like “Highway” and “Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania”, Alia Bhatt has again won many a heart….
Continue Reading »

Priyanka Chopra

Why is Priyanka Chopra upset?

IANS Mumbai – Actress Priyanka Chopra had to cancel her pre-Diwali plans as she is down with an eye infection. And now she is fuming….
Continue Reading »