Director Karan Johar’s upcoming project Meenakshi Sundareshwar is being criticized for allegedly stereotyping Tamil people. As per the trailer, the story seems to follow a newly-wed couple trying to tackle a long-distance relationship and the challenges that come with it. It stars Dangal’s Sanya Malhotra and the son of popular Indian actress Bhagyashree, Abhimanyu Dasani.
Its recently released trailer has stirred intense debate on how Bollywood continues to mimic and generalize certain cultures. For example, a Gujrati character behaves in a typical manner and is often named “Mota Bhai”. Moreover, a Punjabi character also often appears doing “Balle Balle” at all the wrong places.
Similarly, the South Indian community is also targeted in that regard, especially Tamilians. They tend to include funny and inaccurate depictions of Tamil accents, habits, and gestures. The same thing is happening again with K Jo’s new flick and viewers are not happy.
Tamil folks have called out the blatant stereotyping they saw in the released teaser.
Meenakshi Sundareshwar Does Nothing to Improve Tamil Representation
As per the trailer, Meenakshi Sundareshwar seems to casually use Tamil folk songs in the background and Rajnikanth’s name for no particular reason. It can depict to the masses that such mannerism is common in all Tamils. This metaphorical treatment has led the community to call out the industry for painting them in the same picture wrongly. Even the characters in the movie seem to only speak in Hindi or English instead of the Tamil language, which is supposed to be their native. Reviewers have suggested Bollywood do better representation if they are so obsessed with Tamil culture. For starters, they can start with casting at least South Indian actors.
Lack of Creativity in Bollywood
Most viewers are feeling that Meenakshi Sundareshwar is just another eye candy for tone-deaf Bollywood fans who would watch anything regardless of its problematic content. Tamil community pointed this out on social media after watching how their culture, songs, and icons were grossly stereotyped in the trailer. Some even said that Chennai was only a 2-hour drive away from Mumbai so the filmmakers should have visited there first. Only then they can realize what kind of atrocity they have pulled. A lot of viewers just up and left without even watching the complete trailer.
Not all Tamils are Like What Bollywood Tries to Portray
Social media users also highlighted a major connection in most of the Bollywood films that have used Tamil superstars as a target for laughter. It seems that Tamilians are not impressed with this behavior and want the industry to tone down on this dangerous obsession. It sends a wrong message to the common people watching at home or in cinemas. Many Bollywood copy-paste Tamil styles on North Indian actors which ends up further infuriating the public because it usually gives mimicry vibes. This happens a lot with legendary Tamil actor Rajnikanth, whose popular style of lighting a cigarette after a little stunt is recreated many times in many forms of Indian media. The same thing is going on with Meenakshi Sundareshwar, as can be seen from the teaser attached in the following review.