• Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Column

Greatness of brown women breaking ground

By: Priya Mulji

IT IS HARD to escape the brown, female faces dominating our screens. Isn’t it the most wonderful thing ever? Those who are older rarely saw brown faces on TV growing up and those who did pop up were in smaller stereotypical roles, like shopkeepers.

Things have majorly changed in recent years, largely thanks to path-breaking women, who have included major Hollywood game-changers.

Mindy Kaling has led the way as a forward-thinking writer, producer, actor and unstoppable creative force. Her shows like Never Have I Ever, The Mindy Project and Sex Lives of College Girls have shown different dimensions to Asian females. Kaling has shown Asian women and girls, who do well, but also get into trouble, have sex, drink and deal with everyday problems. She has brought relatable brown faces into spaces where they were missing, including showing it’s okay for an Asian widow to date again in Never Have I Ever. Poorna Jagannathan plays that role brilliantly, while also taking on characters like a hilarious Russian mafia don in Netflix series The Outlaws.

A personal favourite has been Sarita Choudhury in the role of Seema Patel in the Sex and the City spin-off And Just Like That. The style icon powered by boldness, grace and power has broken the mould in so many ways.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas has helped build a bridge between Bollywood and Hollywood. Lilly Singh has gone from YouTube sensation to TV stardom and the presence of Simone Ashley on Bridgerton has been path-breaking in so many ways.

There have been many more amazing Asian women breaking new ground on screen like Archie Panjabi, Ritu Arya, Amrit Kaur and Hannah Simone, along with creative forces behind the scenes like writer/director Nida Manzoor.

We can learn great life lessons from these wonderful women about determination, overcoming challenges, achieving the most impossible dreams and making it big in male dominated domains. They have quite comprehensively demonstrated the power of possibility and to aim for the sky.

Write that book (ok, that’s a note to myself), apply for that job even if you only meet 75 per cent of the requirements and pursue that passion. Be brave enough to tell your family you don’t want to get married or that you want to become an actress, writer, or anything else, instead of a doctor or lawyer. There are similar role models in other fields, who were not there before. Use them as inspiration and fuel to drive you towards achieving your heart’s desire.

I will leave you with a quote from Mindy Kaling, “Girls face so many challenges – people are constantly telling them they can’t do things, they can’t be funny, they can’t run the companies, but my advice is just not to focus on anyone telling you that you can’t do anything”

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