Typecasting Identity and Portrayal of Trauma in the Reel Rendition of the Northeast: A Cinematic Introspection through Select Bollywood Films
Keywords:Northeast, Bollywood movies, Identity, Mainstream, ‘Othering’, Orientalism, Typecasting, Trauma, Stereotyping, Conflict
Edward Said, in his seminal work Orientalism, opined that the colonialist thought process (the notion that the West is superior to the East) did not come to an end when the colonial rule ended, but continued in varied forms. The vision of the Northeast within the borderlines of India reiterates this idea when one envisions the area through the lenses of mainstream ‘Indo-Aryan' and ‘Dravidian' cultural practices. Often termed as a ‘conflict zone', the Northeast has always had a tense relationship with ‘mainland' India, due to the differences in opinion regarding societal and cultural practices, food habits, territorial squabbles, and religion. When it came to the representation part of the Northeast in various art forms, it almost always got moulded by the mainstream imagination, which had nothing to do with real life practices related to the Northeast, and Bollywood movies act as the perfect canvas for this. This paper would attempt to contextualize the (mis)representation of identity, challenges, contestation in the portrayal of Northeast, the evolution of the process ‘othering’ of the characters belonging to the region in the mainstream Bollywood films, like Tango Charlie (2005), Chak de India (2007), Mary Kom (2014), Pink (2016), and the recent web series Axone (2019). Incisively speaking, the paper would also gyrate around some major concerns like the problematic position of Northeastern consciousness amid the ideology of one-nation-one-language that has been perpetrated in certain ways since the Nehruvian times, typecasting characters while portraying them in popular Bollywood movies, casting actors belonging to the Northeast into stereotypical roles, bereft of variety, and ultimately how off-beat cinematic presentations in OTT platforms have poised thought-provoking questions as counter-narratives to mainstream Bollywood movies of the past.
Axone. Dir. Nicholas Kharkongor. Netflix. 2020. Film.
Barua, Sanjib. Durable Disorder: Understanding the Politics of Northeast India. Oxford University Press, 2005.
Basu, Sohinee. "Bollywood Needs to Break Free from Stereotypical Portrayal of Northeast Sportspersons." The Bridge 8 January 2019: 1-2.
Bollywood needs to break free from stereotypical portrayal of Northeast sportspersons (thebridge.in)
Bhattacharya, Neeladri. and Joy L K Pachuau. Landscape, Culture and Belonging: Writing the History of Northeast India. Cambridge University Press, 2019.
Bhattacharya, Joyati. “Gender, Peacemaking, and the case of Northeast India”, vol. LXXX1, Jan-March 2010
Chak de! India. Dir. Shimit Amin. Yash Raj Films. 2007. Film
Chetia, Sandeep. ""Axone" Is Fresh in Representation, But Lacks Nuance." Where Young India Writes (2020).
Galanter, Marc. Competing Inequalities: Law and the Backward Classes in India. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1984.
Islam, K M Baharul. Literatures from Northeast India: Beyond the Centre-Periphery Debate. Routledge, India. 3 June 2022
Kharpuri, Longnam Wanbiang. "What I Thought of Andrea Tariang in 'Pink' as a Fellow Meghalayan." The Quint (2016).
Lal, Chinmaya. "On Cinema and History: Reading the Representations of Northeast India in Bollywood." Proceedings of North East India History Association (37th Session) (2016).
Mary Kom. Dir. Omung Kumar. Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Vicky Bhatia.2014. Film.
Pachuau, Joy L.K. Being Mizo: Identity and Belonging in Northeast India. Oxford University Press, 2014.
Pink. Dir. Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury. Shoojit Sircar. India, 2006. Film.
Said, Edward. "Orientalism." Penguin Books, 2003. Reprint.
Tango Charlie. Dir. Mani Shankar. Neha Arts. 2005. Film.
Windschuttle, Keith. "Edward Said's 'Orientalism' Revisited." The New Criterion 17 January 1999.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 The Creative Launcher
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.