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

paintball

Photos: In country long awash with weapons of war, paintball takes hold in Afghanistan with splat

REBECCA SANTANA THE ASSOCIATED PRESS KABUL, Afghanistan — The hidden gunman, dressed in long green coveralls and a SWAT-team-style vest and helmet, looks ominous as…
Continue Reading »

carleton-university-phd-student-selvan-mohan-is-trying-to-ra

International student in Ottawa launches campaign to raise money for new prosthetic leg

MEGHAN HURLEY OTTAWA CITIZEN A Carleton University PhD student from Malaysia has launched a fundraising campaign to replace his worn-out prosthetic leg. Selvan Mohan, 24, was born without a…
Continue Reading »

Supporters of Pakistan's cricket celebrity-turned-politician Imran Khan rally against government in Lahore, Pakistan, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary

Pakistan’s prime minister denies asking army to mediate with demonstrators outside parliament

MUNIR AHMED THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan’s prime minister on Friday denied asking the country’s military chief to mediate with opposition leaders and…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

carleton-university-phd-student-selvan-mohan-is-trying-to-ra

International student in Ottawa launches campaign to raise money for new prosthetic leg

MEGHAN HURLEY OTTAWA CITIZEN A Carleton University PhD student from Malaysia has launched a fundraising campaign to replace his worn-out prosthetic leg. Selvan Mohan, 24, was born without a…
Continue Reading »

Today in History – Sept. 13

Advance THE CANADIAN PRESS Today in History for Sept. 13: On this date: In 1503, artist Michelangelo began work on his “David,” which would become…
Continue Reading »

Today in History – Sept. 11

Advance THE CANADIAN PRESS Today in History for Sept. 11: On this date: In 1541, Jacques Cartier reached the Lachine rapids above Montreal on his…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Elephant headed god

Gallery: India prepares to welcome elephant-headed Lord Ganesha

VANCOUVER DESI Preparations for Ganesh Chaturthi, a festival marking the birth of the elephant-headed god, have taken off in India as Hindus prepare to welcome…
Continue Reading »

India-Khatav-Akola,Maharashtra

Baby born with two faces in India fighting for life (Warning: Graphic content)

VANCOUVER DESI A baby born with two faces and four eyes is fighting for her life at a hospital in western India, according to Ruptly….
Continue Reading »

PRV0826-SOCIETYEVICTED_217653098

City of Vancouver gives multicultural society the boot

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI The Vancouver Multicultural Society’s 40th anniversary celebrations have hit a major snag after the city issued the group notice of eviction…
Continue Reading »

Mystic India: The World Tour takes the PNE stage Tuesday and runs until Sept. 1. Submitted photo.

Bollywood dance group Mystic India takes stage at PNE for one week only (w/gallery)

VANCOUVER DESI Internationally acclaimed Bollywood dance troupe Mystic India will be transporting Vancouver audiences overseas as it takes the PNE stage for one week only….
Continue Reading »

cen main.jpg

Woman in India survives hour-long battle with leopard, armed only with small agricultural tool

CEN NEWS A 54-year-old woman has astonished wildlife experts in India after she survived a terrifying hour-long battle with a hungry leopard. Widow Kamla Devi…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

hot photos desi actress bollywood sex

Gallery: Deepika Padukone photo shoot

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood beauty Deepika Padukone, who is creating a lot of buzz with her upcoming film Finding Fanny, poses for the camera. Related Stories:…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood desi boobs sex

Bollywood’s bold babe Sherlyn Chopra strips for Playboy

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood actress Sherlyn Chopra marks the first-ever Indian model to pose for Playboy magazine, according to eonline.com. While the 30-year-old announced she’d be…
Continue Reading »

Imam Siddique

Imam Siddique excited about Bollywood debut

IANS Mumbai – Imam Siddique, best remembered for his appearance in reality show “Bigg Boss 6″, is making his Bollywood debut with a film titled…
Continue Reading »