Mary Kom movie: Why is she not Manipuri?

Normally, our Hindi film industry, or Bollywood as we call it, has been a neutral entity as well as the one part of the society which spares itself from the ‘isms’ of various nature.

The characters and the stories have always been reflected not only as observation but also as a commentary on the social practices, as and when required. This practice is nicely seen in the movies from fifties to few recent ones, barring the nineties which is clearly the dark age of cinema.

The unemployed youth with a degree trying to sell his medal of honesty, the hard working village guy trying to mend things for his family, the strong headed mother defying all odds to bring the kids up and survive, the poetic love stories with soul crushing character of poor poet or confident guy who just got a good job, stories of injustice, brutalities of life and triumph of will etc have always been portrayed.

Muslims playing Hindu characters and vice versa, prominent individuals marrying in other ethnicities than their own etc were the role models for social coexistence.

But isn’t it weird that Priyanka Chopra has to play a Manipuri boxer because she would earn more money. Money is off course a concern from the filmmaker but why it is assumed that a North Eastern actor won’t bring money?

I have no doubts about Priyanka’s acting abilities, a great actor she might be, but artists and art-driven industries that seek tax-free shows do have the responsibility of national integration.

In Bollywood we are forced to assume identities that director throws at us irrespective of being physically convincing or not.

Remember the days when the actor would just put a pair of shades on the eyes and villains wouldn’t be able to identify? Worse even, he would just apply a black mole on his face and he would be unnoticed as the same guy!

Similarly, director cares least about these things and puts a face that would earn him money and asks us to believe she looks like a Manipuri and acts like one.

Sorry, I am not watching this film in protest.

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