Dear Bollywood, stop stereotyping South Indians. Know the difference between lungi and dhoti
April is here and Salman Khan’s long-pending Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan is all set for a grand release on April 21. Ahead of the release, the makers have been dropping songs from the films. Recently, a peppy number titled Yentamma, went viral on social media. For all the wrong reasons though.
Yentamma features Salman Khan, Victory Venkatesh and Pooja Hegde with a cameo appearance by RRR star Ram Charan. Set in a South Indian carnival setting, we can see the trio (also joined by Pooja later) dancing in their veshtis. (dhoti).
The travesty of the song that is Yentamma is that it is yet another classic case of South Indian stereotyping. Right from Chennai Express, filmmakers have always been misrepresenting South Indians. The accent, over-the-top action and, not to forget, the famous ‘Lungi Dance,’ Chennai Express wasn’t a pleasant watch for the South Indians.
In Yentamma, we hear a line mentioning lungi. The irony is that no one in the song is wearing a lungi. Setting your film in South India is not a crime. But, do your research. Even during Chennai Express, there had been an uproar regarding lungi and veshti.
It looks like Bollywood and its filmmakers haven’t woken up yet. Lungi and dhoti are two different outfits. Lungi is casual wear with check patterns. Men usually wear lungis at home. Whereas veshti (Pancha in Telugu and mundu in Malayalam) is a white cloth with gold or coloured borders.
In Yentamma, Ram Charan, Venkatesh and Salman Khan are wearing a dhoti and NOT a lungi. While Salman Khan and Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan team didn’t care a hoot, Ram Charan and Venkatesh, who hail from the South, do know the difference. Yet, they paid no heed to this obvious error.
On top of this factual error, Salman Khan, Ram Charan and Venkatesh break into a groovy dance with hideous dance steps by Choreographer Jani. Pooja Hegde, who has predominantly acted in Telugu films, said, “The highlight of the song shoot was dancing in a lungi with all my heart.
I strongly feel that ‘Yentamma’ is going to be one of those dance numbers which is going to play at every wedding and party. ” Yet again, the lungi discourse needs to happen in Bollywood! The tone-deaf attitude shows the quality of research that has gone into the making of Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan.
At a time when the South is craving validation for their hard work, and rightly so, such glaring errors push them back. SS Rajamouli, at an event, revealed that RRR is a Telugu film and not a Bollywood film. While there was an uproar over SS Rajamouli’s statement, it was much needed to be said. Recently, Priyanka Chopra made a gaffe when she called RRR a Tamil film.
With the North-South divide getting diminished, it is high time filmmakers take time to do some research for their projects. This will help avoid factual errors and more importantly, people do not end up making a mockery of themselves.