Bollywood, one of the biggest industries, has propagated erroneous perception and stereotyped communities, identities, and gender. Stereotyping is the generalisation of a person or a group to a certain behaviour or object. Based on how they appear from the outside, it is a false assumption about them. It can be entirely or partially incorrect.Bollywood had a significant impact on the stereotyping of communities and gender that led to incorrect perceptions of both. Bollywood has produced a number of extremely problematic films, songs, sequences, characters, etc. that not only convey offensive images but also undercut the very presentations they claim to represent. They have portrayed people of colour as savages and dacoits. This can be seen in the movie "All the Best." There are numerous other films that feature dark-skinned individuals as gangsters, drug dealers, or smugglers. 'Fukrey' and 'Phir Hera Pheri' are two examples of similar cases in films. Bollywood has also established some standards for beauty.
'Ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si Soti raaton mein jaagi si Mili ek ajnabi se' is a very well-known song. Aage na peechhe Koyi A B C D padli bohot, achhi baatein Karli bohot, ab karunga tere sath gandi baat, and Yeh uska style hoyenga Hothon pe na dil mein haan hoyenga are the other songs. encourages crimes against women and the culture of rape.
Another serious issue is how South Indian characters are presented. Since it is the sole southern state, the movies depict the entire South as Tamil. That is also flawed. People from Tamil, Kannad, and Malyali are all mixed together. The entertainment industry portrays them as Idli or dosa fiends, Rajnikant fans, or eccentric individuals. One such instance is Shahrukh Khan's role in the film "Raone," where he is portrayed as a person eating noodles with curd and sporting curly hair and an odd accent.
Indian film has existed for 100 years. However, certain stereotypes never change. In general, nothing has changed about them. The community is still stereotyped in the same way as in the past. I'll start with the Sikhs, who have been represented in Indian cinema as loud, inebriated, violent, and foodies. Are all Sikhs experiencing the same thing? No, it is not true. All four traits may be seen in every Sikh you see in an Indian film. The names of characters in movies like Manpreet, Harpreet, Manjot, and so on contribute to additional Sikh stereotypes. Examples include Diljit Dosanjh's character from "Good Newzz," who is depicted as being stupid.
In the film "Jo Bole So Nihal," Sunny Deol's character is portrayed as an easily agitated, combative, and uneducated individual. Anupam Kher plays a Sikh character in the movie "Mohabbatein" who dresses in vibrant colours and is only there for comic relief. Because of this characterization, people have a generalised perception of Sikhs as being noisy, inebriated, and foodies.
The other prevalent prejudice is the frequent portrayal of Muslims as terrorists. The most frequent and typical element in Indian movie is this. Any thugs, murderous terrorists, or other undesirable characters must be Muslims. As a result, there is a widespread misperception that Muslims are fanatics and aggressive. The Muslims are also associated with the colour green, amulets, skull caps, plaid, kohl, and other stereotypes. Numerous instances of Muslim-dominated areas with green flags, folk wearing amulets and plaid, etc., may be seen in the majority of movies. Majority of the community does not experience this. But because it is depicted in movies, people now believe it to be true. Muslim patriotism has long been questioned in post-independence films. One of its instances is Kabir Khan's need to demonstrate his love for the nation in films like Chak De India. Movies like Fiza, Kurban, and others have portrayed Muslims as terrorists. Currently, the industry is seeing a new trend.Muslim monarchs are depicted as being nasty, perverse, and brutal in the recent films "Taanhaji" and "Padmavat." Muslims have a history of being the victims of traditional families. One current example of Safeena having familial issues is in the film "Gully Boy."
The other stereotypical group is the Christian and Parsi communities. A Parsi would have a recognisable accent and consistently use the word "dikra" in speech. They would drive vintage cars, dress in white coats, and wear the same black cylindrical cap. Such a movie is "Munna Bhai MBBS." Christians are shown as immoral and as speaking with a pronounced English accent.
There is a lot of linguistic prejudice in society. Also true of Indian film. Any language a Bihari individual speaks will have the distinctive Bihari accent. He won't be able to tell the difference between the genders of men and women. He won't have the ability to speak English well. In sounds like sh and s, z and j, etc., he will be perplexed.
The Bihari identity has been the focus of discrimination. It's impossible for this to apply to the entire Bihari population. However, it is depicted in Indian films. For instance, Super 30, Half Girlfriend, etc. have contributed to the widespread belief that Biharis struggle to speak English as well as Hindi. This is how the accent from Bihar has been portrayed in Indian cinema. Filmmakers either do it on purpose or accidentally.Due to its widespread use, this misconception about Biharis has been widely held. The same is true for persons from small towns who move to big cities. They are portrayed the same way in Indian cinema. Thinkistaan, a web series, is a recent example of this. where Amit, a man from a tiny town in Mumbai, lives. He works for a marketing firm while sleeping on the streets. He is hired by the company to work as a Hindi editor. The character is portrayed as being unable to distinguish between words and noises. His accent and Hindi are made fun of by coworkers.
Everyone considers him to be a fool. Another character, on the other hand, is a native English speaker. The other forms of linguistic discrimination against Biharis include labelling them as UPSC hopefuls, stupid, strangers to modern technology, etc. The supporting cast mocks their linguistic use. They are portrayed as brutish, abusive, and other negative traits. The most frequent kind of bias against the Bihari language is its use in comedic situations. Amir Khan has the opportunity to learn the Bihari language dialect of Bhojpuri in the film PK. The majority of the film's humour is focused on the way he speaks and uses words. Why does the Bihari accent often appear in mainstream media comedies? There are several instances of this language prejudice. Any role with a comedic or retro theme will have a Bihari accent.
This discrimination has also affected South Indians. Whenever they are presented, the words "Ayyo," "Inna," and "Akka" are used. A blatant example of this language bias is the "chennai express." Deepika Padukone portrays a female from the south of India in the film. In the film, she may be seen speaking nonstop "Nakko" and "Ayyo." Why is that? Why would a south Indian character in the film always be a Madrasi? In movies, South Indians are typically portrayed as having severe personalities and dark skin. This is now such a prevalent occurrence that it has turned into an identification problem. South and North have always been in conflict. This conflict has become a little more complicated as a result of the language prejudice.Rowdy language, also known as Tapori language, is another example of linguistic prejudice that has existed in the past and is still used in film now. Characters having ties to Marathi or those shown as thugs used to speak this tongue. Now, if someone uses language like this, they should be viewed as potential street thugs. They once wore some sort of distinguishing clothing. This boisterous phrase eventually became humorous and was used frequently. This demonstrates the ability of film to present opposing viewpoints.
Because of the utterances, accents, and usages of these languages, they are mocked. This is promoted by those who like it. In Indian cinema, this linguistic bias is still present.
Gender Stereotypes in Bollywood
The issue of gender discrimination has long existed. The same may be said of Indian film. However, there are films that challenge stereotypes as well. However, in Indian film as a whole, there is gender bias. Every time you see a girl child's room in a movie, it will have a pink decor, while a boy's room would have a blue one. As a result, the colours have been separated based on gender. A girl's preferred toys would be dolls. Guns and cars are used to restrain boys. The second gender stereotype is that the protagonist must be saved by the hero. The protagonist's kidnapping by an enemy requires the hero to intervene and save her. The majority of movies are dominated by men, with the heroine typically playing a supporting role and the hero taking centre stage.Hero will circle her. They will fall in love, which will cause some commotion, and the hero will have to intervene to save her. However, things are starting to change. There are films that focus on women. Nil Battey Sannata, Neerja, and Kahaani are some excellent instances of films that defy this prejudice.
The well-known line "Mard ko dard nhi hota" (The man doesn't feel the pain) from the movie "Mard" has made a lasting impression. Men have been portrayed as valiant and manly as a result of this. Men's inability to cry and their lack of pain perception are both products of Indian cinema. This stereotype has had a harmful impact on society. Men are inevitably bigger, stronger, and less expressive.
The issue with stereotyping is that it leads to prejudice towards certain groups of people, hostility, gender bias, violence against women, intergroup animosity, false information, and other negative outcomes. It produces misunderstandings about both people and groups. Women are now viewed as sex objects and commodities as a result of male characters' teasing and objectification of them as objects. Think about it -if a South Indian travels to the north, won't he get strange looks? Will a Muslim not be viewed as a savage and terrorist? Will someone of colour not face discrimination? Will obese individuals not be stigmatised? The crucial point is that movies heavily impact people in India. Be it in terms of conduct, perception, or what we refer to as "dialogue baazi." Thousands of individuals use movie theatres each week as a distraction from their troubles in daily life. which ultimately have a significant effect on them. The makers now have a duty to use greater common sense. They have a duty to conduct thorough research before producing films.
The audience has a duty to be aware of what is being displayed to them and to know the difference between what is right and bad. They should identify the problem if they encounter such stereotypical information. They should not take what they see or hear at face value. And definitely avoid forming opinions based on a lack of factual facts. Promoting biased-free, more realistically represented content is necessary.
Amity University Kolkata
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