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  • - I've gotten plenty of 'thank you, come again.'

  • - You know, it's not...

  • It's not real.

  • - Probably a step back, probably a step back for Indians.

  • - I grew up in India, I am Indian, and in this video,

  • we are going to be talking about fictional Indian characters

  • in Western television and film.

  • - The main gripe I have is that really it's just

  • so underrepresented.

  • - I think it's changed a lot over the past few years.

  • - We're not in the perfect moment, you know,

  • but I think we're, you know, we're coming along.

  • - I was thinking of dressing up as Indiana Jones'

  • mocha-skinned lovechild. (laughing)

  • Indian Jones.

  • - Alright, this is Raj Koothrappali

  • from The Big Bang Theory.

  • - White writers, they always make an Indian name

  • for the character that even Indians can't pronounce.

  • - Great character.

  • I mean, I love Raj Koothrappali from the show.

  • I think he's written really well.

  • - Probably the worst character on TV right now

  • for brown people.

  • - Raj kind of feels like a blend

  • of a lot of different stereotypes.

  • - But as an Indian,

  • I sort of have a love hate relationship with him.

  • - Really intelligent, he has a job in the field of science,

  • he comes from a rich background.

  • - Why does the Indian guy have to be the biggest loser

  • out of all these four geeks?

  • - I love theater myself.

  • My whole life's basically one long Vagina Monologue.

  • - So, this is Mindy Lahiri from Mindy Project.

  • Mindy Lahiri is a really awesome character.

  • Mindy Kaling really created a character

  • that we haven't seen before with South Asian females.

  • She's humorous, she's really ambitious.

  • - I think it's a step forward to having Indians represented

  • in leading roles, which I think is very good.

  • I don't know if the show necessarily does the best job

  • of exploring her culture that often

  • given that she tries to ignore it for most of the show.

  • - Mindy Lahiri has had some criticism,

  • and I have some of my own criticism

  • as well about the character.

  • One of the main things

  • is that she only dates hot white guys.

  • - Oh, man, I was a little worried.

  • Some of my friends have racist grandmas.

  • - Oh, I see.

  • You assumed I was a racist just because I'm old.

  • - Well, now the tables have turned.

  • I'm sorry.

  • - So, this is Dev Shah from Master of None.

  • This was a really groundbreaking show, I think,

  • for the South Asian community.

  • - Easily the most relatable character,

  • Indian character, on a TV show.

  • He's just him, you know?

  • People view him for what he is, not because he's Indian.

  • - Dev Shah is a pretty accurate representation of

  • what a lot of Indians would experience in America today.

  • - He talks a little bit more about relationships and dating

  • and career stuff through the South Asian lens.

  • - There is, again,

  • disproportionate amount of white girls in this show.

  • Still want a brown girl here and there, you know?

  • Just saying.

  • Throw in a Basanti for every Britney.

  • - You know, Ben Kingsley did an accent in Gandhi

  • and he won the Oscar for it, so...

  • - But he didn't win the Oscar just for doing the accent.

  • I mean, it wasn't an Oscar for Best Indian Accent.

  • - Casting people would always

  • ask brown people to do an accent,

  • and I think this episode

  • made them feel a little bit bad about it.

  • - You're getting money

  • for a role that you might be perpetuating the same ideas

  • about what a culture might be.

  • - While I find that enough of a turn on to get into this car

  • and do what we just did, in the long run,

  • definitely not my type.

  • - This is the lovely Priyanka Chopra

  • playing the role of Alex Parrish from Quantico.

  • - The fact that she's playing this role is awesome.

  • - Priyanka Chopra is actually...

  • Was born and raised in India.

  • So, for her to be kind of this sex symbol

  • and kissing another person on screen

  • is actually a really big thing

  • in Bollywood and Indian community

  • where you really don't see actors and actresses

  • having that kind of physical relationship.

  • - That is interesting.

  • That's not a thing that Indian culture would've allowed,

  • but in this American show, it's a very natural thing.

  • - It's kind of refreshing to see this big step be taken

  • in this particular scene.

  • - Again, it's a white guy.

  • The more I see these clips, the more I'm realizing it.

  • Yeah, I guess you can not have

  • a brown brown relationship on screen.

  • Is that, like, not financially feasible?

  • I don't know.

  • - Do you have any idea what it's like

  • knowing my real brother and mother

  • spend every day of their lives looking for me?

  • - Yeah, this is Saroo from the movie Lion.

  • - Saroo, I think, is a really interesting

  • person to talk about when talking about representation

  • because he was adopted

  • and grew up in a mostly white community

  • wanting to find this identity.

  • I really actually kind of identified with Saroo.

  • A lot of, I think, second generation Indian people

  • really feel this balancing tightrope

  • where you're trying to juggle the community,

  • like the American community, but also your Indian community.

  • - Hollywood loves casting Indians as street boys.

  • It's either you're an orphan or a doctor.

  • It's just the highest level of sort of a sector

  • or you have no parents.

  • - I mean, they are realities in our country,

  • but there is, of course, a lot more to our country

  • than just the slums.

  • - I'm gonna cry.

  • What I also love about this scene

  • is seeing the entire village come together

  • to really exemplify that sense of community.

  • That is something that we focus on so much in India.

  • It's a small little detail,

  • but to see everyone kind of crowd around this reunion,

  • it feels very real.

  • - (sniffs) Jiminy Cricket.

  • Expired ham.

  • - Uh oh (laughs)

  • - Apu, apu, apu, apu.

  • - This is Apu, not gonna pronounce his last name,

  • from The Simpsons.

  • - This guy is just...

  • Created such a bad impression for Indians worldwide.

  • - Here's the thing.

  • He was the only Indian entity in my life on TV

  • until I was 13, 14.

  • So, while I was growing up as a kid,

  • he's the only Indian I've ever seen.

  • - The problem with Apu is just that

  • he has been the only character, prominent Indian character,

  • on American television for the longest time.

  • So, if someone has never met an Indian person before

  • and they've seen The Simpsons,

  • you're gonna think I talk like that, but I don't.

  • - Everything that we call out as a stereotype today

  • exists in Apu.

  • - It is a case of ignorance as opposed to malice.

  • They just did not know enough about the culture

  • to accurately portray it on screen.

  • - Obviously there are Indian people

  • that run convenience stores and gas stations

  • and drive taxis.

  • We're not saying that that doesn't exist, but again,

  • you're just showing one side of their character,

  • and you're making fun of it.

  • - He is intended to be laughed at.

  • His Indian-ness is something that

  • is supposed to be laughed at and supposed to be made fun of.

  • So, in that sense, I would say Apu is definitely offensive.

  • - Jess, Bend It Like Beckham.

  • Jess is a fuckin' badass.

  • Stereotypes that you kind of generally see

  • about Indian women are very...

  • They're quiet, they're conservative,

  • they're very marriage obsessed,

  • and Jess isn't like any of them.

  • - This is a very good story with good characters.

  • Maybe the mom was a little caricature.

  • She's like 'get married now,' maybe that was a little much.

  • - She is a really cool character

  • because she wanted to play soccer,

  • but she also wanted to please and support her parents.

  • - Some Indian girls and boys do go through

  • that sort of feeling where they're stuck in between

  • trying to keep their parents happy,

  • but also they want to find their individuality.

  • - They did so much risk to get here.

  • They want you to also be safe,

  • and they want you to be well-off.

  • - A movie like this actually, I think,

  • has helped to broaden our society back home.

  • - We're in a much further place even from 10 years ago.

  • I think people like Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari,

  • these types of people really helped push the envelope

  • and really create opportunities

  • for more South Asian representation

  • and kind of breaking away from the stereotypes.

  • (upbeat music)

  • - Hey, Unsolved is on a new channel.

  • And now your part. - Subscribe here.

  • - That was my part.

- I've gotten plenty of 'thank you, come again.'

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Indian People Review Indian Characters From TV And Film

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    Samuel posted on 2018/08/01
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