Amazon Prime has had a pretty good run with some of its original Indian series like Mirzapur, Breathe, Panchayat and now Paatal Lok earning rave reviews from audience and critics alike.

However, Paatal Lok which came out on 15th May 2020 has fallen into some controversy with the Nepali Indian community taking massive offence to a racial slur used in one of its episodes.

The Gorkha community in India had spoken out about how a sexist slur used in the second episode of the show should be taken out instantly.

An online petition and legal notices have been involved in all this with some targetting the show’s producer Anushka Sharma.

What Was The Matter?

The Indian Gorkhas, who are the Nepali speaking Indian citizens have rallied against the usage of the word ‘Nepali r**di’ in the second episode of the show.

The remark comes around the 3 minute and 40-second mark in the episode when the transgender character Mary Lyngdoh (played by Mairembam Ronaldo Singh) is shown getting beaten by a female police officer for identifying as a woman.

During this scene, the female police officer calls her a ‘Nepali r**di’ in where the second word is a Hindi word for a prostitute.

An online petition was started by the Bhartiya Gorkha Yuva Parisangh, the youth wing of Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh on Monday.

They addressed it to the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry, Minister Prakash Javadekar, Amazon Prime Video and series producer Anushka Sharma stating that the slur put the women of their community in a very insulting light.

In the petition, they asked that the makers of the show put out an apology and disclaimer and for Amazon to mute the slur and remove the subtitle in an edited version of the episode.

The organisation stated that the name is a “very common surname of the Khasi community from Meghalaya,” and it only further propagated racist stereotypes against people from northeast India.

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The petition also stated how there are currently 10.5 million people who speak Nepali in India and that, “The Gorkha community is the largest Nepali speaking community and this is a direct insult to the community.” 

In a report by The Hindu, Nanda Kirati Dewan, President of the Bhartiya Gorkha Yuva Parisangh also said, “The word has been used in a filthy, regressive way… We shouldn’t and cannot consume anything that is stereotyping and targetting the community in the name of creative freedom and in pursuit of entertainment excellence.”

The group also observed how this is just piling onto the already occurring racism they have to suffer through because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They said, “We have been fighting Corona racism. To add to our woes, this web series will incite not just racial but sexual slur and rape attempts at the women of our community. We strongly condemn it in toughest terms and seek immediate removal of the scene’s subtitles and mut[ing of] the slur”.

Reports have revealed that Amazon Prime Video has not yet responded or given out any official statement regarding this matter.

But one win that the show got was casting an actual transgender for the role of Mary Lyngdoh. In a Film Companion interview, one of the casting directors, Abhishek Banerjee explained how they went to Manipur in order to get an authentic casting for the role.

In it, he said that, “We are a country of 130 crore. If we say that we don’t have such people in India to play that character then it’s a problem. The responsibility of casting directors is not to cast only people who are working, or whoever is visible, or is in your circle. Their job is to find actors. If they are not doing that, then they are running a dukaan.”

This is extremely good to hear since it kind of breaks all those lame excuses of how difficult it is to get so and so people because of which the creators of a film had to settle with some other actor. It is high time that roles went to those who can best represent their community or group.

Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: Outlook India, The Hindu

Find the blogger @chirali_08

This post is tagged under: Paatal Lok slur, paatal lok, paatal lok amazon prime show, amazon prime video, amazon prime video india, amazon prime indian show, paatal lok controversy, paatal lok casteist slur, nepali indian, paatal lok gorka indian, paatal lok nepali slur, racial, racism against north eastern Indians, gorkhas abuse, Meghalaya, Bhartiya Gorkha Yuva Parisangh

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