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Archive for April, 2009

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Anyone knows just by looking in the world of film in America that the industry lacks people of South Asian origin. Where did they go? We have the African Americans, and many people of Spanish and East Asian descent, but there is definitely a lack of representation from the South Asia Region.

To begin with, South Asia is the region found right under China. It includes the countries such as Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangledesh, India, Burma, and Sri Lanka. Looking at the map we can see that this coveres a fairly wide area of geographical surface. According to statistics in immigration, Asia (Including South Asia) is becoming the top place where people are coming from when immigrating to the United States.

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Just by taking a look around we can see many faces of South Asian origin in different areas in society.We have Sunita Williams up in Space to Bobby Jindal representing the state of Louisianna. Many occuputatoins that we see in society such as medicine, engineering, law have seen a great deal of South Asians taking up these occupations. Finally we see many students who are of first, second generation, or even studying abroad from South Asia in colleges and univerities across the nation. Many young people who were born in the United States whose parents immigrated to the United States beforehand get faced with this problem the most. A common term that people will hear of is that of Desi.  A movie that has captured this term and what it symbolizes for South Asians is revealed in a movie called American Desi.american-desi-dvd1 Desi~ People and culture from the South Asia region.

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So, why aren’t there more South Asians in Hollywood?

A possible answer for this question would be due to fear and prejudice based upon recent attacks that have happened in the past 8 years.  Everybody can and will forever remember the September 11th terrorist attacks. It was a time of fear and pointing fingers.

image1People were afraid of the man walking down the street with a turban for fear he might be plotting the next terrorist attack when really he was just an innocent man who had immigrated to the United States twenty years earlier. This leads to the idea od racial profiling.

racial-profiling1Racial profiling is a huge part of our culture, and it is portrayed in the movies produced. The African Americans are placed within the the BET and nation sports associations while people of Spanish descent are placed under the idea of stealing minimum wage jobs. Last but not least, people who are of South Asian descent are automatically assumed to be apart of or support terrorist groups located in the Middle East. The lack of knowledge that the average American holds in geography is a major problem when making these racial profiling remarks. Assumptions such as these have contributed immensely towards the progression  of South Asians making it big in Hollywood.

Famous directors in America who have produced movies relating South Asians have been limited, but when they have made them, almost always they have been a success. An excellent example of this would be the film director Mira Nair.

mira-nairMira Nair is famous for directing movies that have some cultural element to the public. An early movie that came 51qke8kxrsl_sl500_aa240_1out in the early 90’s was Mississippi Masala. It takes place in the deep south where an Indian girl dates an African American guy. The themes of immigration, race, inter-racial dating, and racial profiling are strong. This movie captures the early beginings of what is becoming more and more common today in our society.

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A recent movie that came out a couple of years ago that was directed by her was the Namesake. This refers to an Indian born in the United States with parents who immigrated from India. He has to deal with racial remarks and references about his ethnicity. Overall, this movie defines the theme of identity and what it really stands for when growing up in the United States.  This relates to the point that I am making is that the main character is struggling to figure out where he belongs as an Indian American in a predominatley all white environment.

A famous Actor that has made great appearance in Hollywood is Kal Penn. He can be considered an icon for those struggle for identity in America. He is ethnically Indian yet culturally American. His various acting roles has made a path for young South  Asians, but there is still more bushwhacking to do.

harold_kumar_2The movie series such as Harold and Kumar portray two Asian Americans, one from East Asia, while the other is from South Asia. The setting, plot, and racial references may seem funny and entertaining to the audience, but the messages behind this event go deeper.  Taking a look at a movie trailer of Harold& Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay can give you a solid understanding onthe point that I am making.


kal-penn-photos-0264“I have a huge political problem with the role. It was essentially accepting a form of racial profiling. I think it’s repulsive. But it was the first time I had a chance to blow stuff up and take a family hostage. As an actor, why shouldn’t I have that opportunity? Because I’m brown and I should be scared about the connection between media images and people’s thought processes?” (in New York Magazine

, commenting about his recurring role as a terrorist on TV’s “24” Kal Penn Website!

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A movie that came out in 2001 is that of American Chai. This is one of the rare movies that depicts a South Asian (Indian) who dreams of becoming a singer rather than pre-med. He goes against his parents’ wishes and pursues his goal. This movie shows a story where, for once, the South Asian isn’t the nerd, or the taxi cab driver.

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Apart from Kal Penn, another South Asian celebrity that has made an appearance in America is artist M.I.A.  I include her in this topic because she is an example of a South Asian in the entertainment business. She was born in Sri Lanka, grew up in London, and has performed in America. She is a person who raises political awareness through music. This has gained some attention, especially when her song, ‘Paperplanes’ was featured in Award winning film, Slumdog Millionaire.


bride2There is an idea  that has become more known over the years which is “East Meets West” or “Hollywood meets Bollywood”. These two industries are similar, yet they are seperated by culture, values, and…..race. However, there is one Bollywood actress who has successfully made an appearance in Hollywood. Her name is Aishwarya Rai and she was the main character in Mira Nair’s film, “Bride and Prejudice” as well as “The Last Legion.”

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When we see South Asians in movies or television shows we often see them in stereotypical roles. For example, South Asians are featured in roles the doctor or engineer, owner of a 7 Eleven, or a taxi cab driver. Does this really help the image of South Asians in the USA? If we continue to place South Asians into certain groups, then there will be no progression in changing the image that America views South Asians. I am not talking about your friend who lives down the road who is South Asian. I am talking about the group as a whole. It is time for Americans to take a step back and reconsider their assumptions based off of their racial profiling………….

For more information on racial profiling, you can visit the following site: Racial Profiling in the U.S.A



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FW_Stupid Thing

I can’t remember a specific time when I did the most stupid thing. For me, these occurances happen weekly…or sometimes daily… For example, I will be texting and almost walk into a pole that I didn’t see…..embarrassing. It’s really embarressing when I do this and look around to see if anyone saw, and then see  that someone in fact did witness it. 😦  Another example is when I am walking and for some reason trip over my own feet. This happens rarely, and only when I am reeeeally tired. For example, if I walk from the library to the dorm late at night. Nobody can see since I’m pretty much the only one out….but, its still embarressing haha. Stuff like this is what happens in my daily life. I wouldn’t call them stupid….just really clumsy moments. Walking into poles I think is really embarressing and kinda stupid b/c ppl aren’t paying attention. So…yeah, these are some examples of my stupid moments in life….lol. 😛

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FW8: First Concert

The first EVER concert that I can remember attending was that of Raffy. He sings little kid songs about random stuff that little kids are into. It’s kinda embarressing looking back on, and rather not remember. raffi-763422 Though its really  kinda funny! I just remember having a good time w/ my family and friends that came along which is the most important thing.

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