India has had a truckload of global icons in the past few years, be it the stars originating from here and making it in big in Hollywood or the ones who carry an Indian heritage regardless of being born and brought up in the West.
We’ve had various actors and actresses who have represented our country in the West and yet we’ve always been viewed in a polarized outlook among the mainstream audience.
So, let’s take a look at what happened, what went wrong and what’s the silver lining:
Whenever we used to global icons from India from the early to mid 2000’s, the name of Aishwarya Rai was the one that was reigning at the top spot for many years. Her elegance was unparalleled but after taking a back-seat from movies, she has only been a regular at the Cannes Film Festival.
Nonetheless, she’s still recognized as one of India’s top global icons, with some of her most awe-inspiring moments being her charming and composed responses to the sexist questions of David Letterman on his show which you can read about here.
But then came the era of problems in the late 2000’s.
We were blessed with the Goddess of phony accents and terrible acting, Priyanka Chopra.
Taking nothing away from Piggy Chops in her position as one of our country’s global icons, let’s take a look at her career graph which was going spectacularly well in Hindi cinema and she had established herself as a top actress in the country.
The problem came to the forefront when she joined the cast of the American show called “Quantico” and tried her hand at “singing”.
Well, that was.. hmm.. I’m at a genuine loss of words.
Her terrible songs found the attention of washed up American artists like will.i.am and Pitbull with her cheesy, mushy and amateur lyrics about feeling “EXHAAAUUUTIC” (normal people pronounce it as “exotic”) and another song called “In My City” being openly criticized by the musicians’ community.
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During the same time, in an era where making popular sitcoms is the general norm, Kunal Nayyar had been (and still is) playing the role of Rajesh Koothrapalli in The Big Bang Theory.
A shy Indian boy with a terribly thick American accent who had weird brown parents with the same terribly thick accent and the catch of his character was that he becomes a typical douche bag (often referred to as “being more open with women”) after consuming alcohol.
Well, and then you wonder why the society mocks Indian men world over.
These 2 dangerous celebrities with their dangerous accents have created a mock-worthy representation of Indians and Priyanka Chopra herself can’t salvage it, no matter how many chicken wings she eats with Jimmy Fallon.
The dumb youth may idolize them and view them as harmless, but till what extent?
The gags on Nayyar’s show barely pass as tolerable (they are terribly racist and cringe-worthy, let me assure you) about his Indian ethnicity (with the worst part being that they are sometimes self-deprecating and not in a funny way).
And people are still trying to recover from Priyanka Chopra’s ghastly performance as a villain with her… ding ding ding! You got it! Her ridiculous accent in the 2017 film Baywatch.
No doubt it comes across as an exasperating farrago of.. I’m sorry, Shashi Tharoor, You do it best.
Anyway, it’s disgusting to see this but there is still hope because every dark cloud has a pretty little silver lining and we’re gonna look at ours:
History is witness that it’s the job of Indians to be inclined towards stupidity and under-appreciate real talent.
And then some.
Enter two offbeat, unpredictable gentlemen with a pinch of realism and unquestionable talent in terms of acting who are potentially and realistically better global icons for our country: Irrfan Khan (now called Irrfan) and more notably, Anil Kapoor.
We’ve had these two in the scene for quite a while as fine Indian actors but Irrfan has gone on from being a mere cameo act to landing a meaty role in the movie “Inferno”. The best thing about Irrfan, as compared to the likes of Nayyar, Piggy Chops and even Anupam Kher from Silver Linings Playbook: He has a perfectly crisp and natural accent.
And let’s take a look at Anil Kapoor: After establishing himself in Indian cinema, he played a dramatic role in Slumdog Millionaire. Although, the movie is overrated as a whole but Anil Kapoor’s role often goes underappreciated. Crisp dialogue delivery, no showboating on public platforms and no racist dialogues (thank God).
But what needs to be recognized is his stellar performance of US television in the 8th season of the TV series titled “24”. Absolutely splendid performance from Mr. Kapoor which is a reality check to our so-called action heroes in our own country.
Some might call this a Priyanka-bashing article and why not? Her contribution to our global reach is immense but all for the wrong reasons and on the other side, we have stars like Anil Kapoor who are putting on or have put on a credible show, only to go under-appreciated.
To the world, I say this: Open your eyes and see. Differentiate between bullshit and credible stardom. We are already a mocked community and we need to change our idols.
Appreciate good cinema and appreciate good actors. Simple.
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