How Bollywood movies stereotype regions of India

By May 24, 2017Society

The trend to stereotype different regions of India has always been prevalent in Bollywood movies. And somehow, we all have that mentality and that is why we are able to enjoy it as well. But before moving on, let us for the enlightenment of those who do not know, tell what stereotyping is. In very simple terms, it is defining a certain person or thing or a place with a fixed view based on a wider image of the same. Confused? Let me give you an example. Whenever we talk about Goa the only thing which comes to mind is the beach, parties, booze and so on. Though not every Goan is like that who only drinks and parties. Now let’s see how our movies are doing the same.

South India

According to Bollywood movies, any person from the four southern states belongs to a single division called ‘south Indian’ and for some weird reason, Chennai is their common capital. Apart from this, every south Indian has to wear a dhoti, eat a dosa or idli and use coconut in everything they cook. If you are still confused, let me tell you that is so not true. And then comes our colour bias where every south Indian is compulsorily dark and shabby. But at the same time, we are very comfortable watching films like Kapoor and Sons which depicts them living in Ooty, a city in ‘South India’. I did not see Alia Bhatt eating a dosa or Fawad Khan wearing a dhoti. Very strange!!

stereotypeThe North East

The first thing which comes to mind here are leather jackets and a guitar and some piercings maybe. Trust me, the whole North East is not a rock band and no, not everyone there plays a guitar and sing their way happily. The second bias is obviously food. You know our country should be divided ‘Food wise’ rather than state wise. Every north eastern is supposed to eat noodles and momos and apparently know how to cook those as well. And if that is not enough, then every north eastern girl will have a western approach to things as depicted in ‘Chak de India’. Though this bias was brilliantly depicted and fought in the movie ‘Pink.

The North

These days, this is the focal point for every second movie and the scenario has shifted from Bihar/UP to Haryana/ Punjab. Ever since movies like Udta Punjab hit the theatres, any person belonging to Punjab is a druggie. And this is not the first time. Since a long time, ‘sardaars’ are known to be people who love alcohol and non-veg. You will be surprised to know that even today, majority of families in rural Punjab do not allow meat inside their houses, let alone eating it. Ask your Punjabi friend and they will tell you I’m not lying.

This is also common to Haryana. Most households in Haryana do not allow non-vegetarian food or even eggs. And I am not even talking about ‘Brahmins’ but other castes like the ‘Jats’. This term suddenly brings excitement to the topic doesn’t it? In recent times, even our movies have not been able to distance themselves from it. From Sultan to Dangal, Jats have been the focal point of interest.

But even here, the list of stereotypes is humungous. There was a movie called ‘Tere naal love ho gaya’, where the protagonist’s father apparently runs a kidnapping ‘business’ in Haryana and somehow people are ok with it. I have existed in the state for 26 years and that is the funniest thing I have ever seen. Another movie ‘Mere Brother ki Dulhan’ and even many more show Haryana Roadways, the state transport in a very bad light. To be very honest, that is so beyond wrong that the term loses meaning.

The reason why movies show such stereotypes is because we have them in our minds. Our exposure is limited to a 20 km radius where we eat, live and die. What we see on television or movies is what we believe. These days there is a new trend of forwarding messages on Whatsapp without even verifying its authenticity. It’s about time we actually become educated and start having a broader vision to things, otherwise the only ‘acche din’ you will see is in the movies only.