In an industry that prides itself of its plurality, one is yet to see a Northeast Indian being cast in a project as a protagonist or in any substantial supporting role in Bollywood. What could be the reason behind such conspicuous data of the missing faces of the Northeastern Bollywood aspirants?
The general perception is that that the prototype mongoloid faces can’t make 100 crores in the box-office. How will we ever come to accept the theory if these prototype faces doesn’t ever gets cast in the mainstream movies.
With the exception of Danny Denzongpa, who usually played villain, no mongoloid features Indians have been able to hit the silver screen of Bollywood in a big or in a mildly substantial way. The casting of Priyanka Chopra as the protagonist in the movie Mary Kom tells us that Bollywood is racist in all its possible form.
It also says that it is scared to try out new ideas and wishes to cocoon themselves in tried and tested formula. They don’t think beyond the minds and boundaries their predecessors have conquered. The problem isn’t, thus, so much with the prototype faces but with the thought process of the people who have the money and the machines to influence how a mass chunk of people think.
Of course, producers and Bollywood as an entity could counter argue that how would we risk and depend multi-crore projects on a person that hasn’t been pre-tested. But the argument remains that how will these faces ever gets tested if you don’t cast them atleast in substantial supporting roles in the first place. It is true not to blame Bollywood for all the wrongs done by an entire national media. But being at the centre of a cosmopolitan Mumbai, the initiative should well begin with Bollywood.
Whether it is financial non-viability or implicit racism, the fact of the matter remains that this non-presence of the prototype faces is a stark reality that bemoans the idea that is India. The case of implicit racism played out by Bollywood is an unfortunate one yet very little have been written and said to garner sensitivity and public support.
As long as this continues, mainstream India will keep asking Northeast Indians “Where is their Country”? This vision of putting Northeast Indians on the Bollywood map would help in bringing the peripheral region to the mainstream and help unite the country in senses nobody had envisioned. Thus, this vision will truly serve the very idea that India stands for i.e. “Celebrating Diversity”.