Indian comedian Kapil Sharma’s, Kapil Sharma Show S2, recently hosted the cast of Anek. Anubhav Sinha's Anek is a political action thriller in which Joshua (Ayushmann Khurrana), a courageous undercover agent, is sent to the Northeast to bring the country together. The cast also includes Andrea Kevichüsa, an actress from Nagaland, who is debuting with this film.
While greeting Andrea, Kapil used his all-time famous joke about being a Punjabi, not knowing English and flirting. He said, "I am from Punjab. Mu mein na naam phas raha hain (I am not able to pronounce your name). Can I just call you beautiful?"
Andrea, however, did not enjoy the comment and said, "No, I don’t think it's appropriate." Kapil Sharma realised his blunder after her response, and he handled the problem quickly by complimenting her name.
This is, however, not the first time celebs from the Northeast have been vocal about causal racism that exists in Bollywood.
Here is a list of five celebrities from the Northeast who called out racism:
1. Ankita Konwar: Fitness enthusiast, influencer and Milind Soman’s wife, Ankita Konwar, in an interview talked about how Northeastern people have to prove their citizenship time and again.
She said, "If you’re from Northeast (sic), you are an Indian only when you win a medal for the country." She also took to Twitter to speak out against racist slurs like, 'Chinki', 'Nepali', 'Chinese', or 'Corona', often used against her.
If you’re from Northeast India, you can become an Indian ONLY when you win a medal for the country.Otherwise we are known as “chinky” “Chinese” “Nepali” or a new addition “corona”.India is not just infested with casteism but racism too.Speaking from my experience. #Hypocrites— Ankita Konwar (@5Earthy) July 27, 2021
2. Adil Hussain: National film award winner from Assam, Hussain has been a part of Bollywood since 2002. During an interview with The Citizen, Hussain spoke about how Bollywood is guilty of racism.
He said, "It’s extremely disappointing to say the least. It’s sad, heart-wrenching to see when people from different parts of the country… quite a lot of people and incidents of discrimination against people from Northeast (sic)." He also opened up about how the Northeast hasn’t been represented well in mainstream cinema.
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3. Lin Laishram: Model turned actor from Nicholas Kharkongor's Netflix original movie Axone shared her own experience of how she faced racism throughout her career.
In an interview, she said, "I was in the compound and a middle-aged man walked past me and called me Coronavirus and kept chanting it till I left."
4. Rima Das: The director of the Oscar-nominated film Village Rockstars. Rima Das, who hails from Assam, acknowledged that "stereotypes exist because stories are created by people who are unfamiliar with the culture".
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5. Mary Kom: Finally, the famed Indian boxer Mary Kom has always spoken about the hatred directed at Northeastern people. During the first wave of Covid-19 when incidents of racism were increasing against Northeastern people, she shared her thoughts on how the situation is "very unfortunate".
Mary Kom. Photo: @mcmary.kom/Instagram