Racism in Indian Coke Advertisement ? Amir Khan in Yellow Face

In the late '90s when India was opening up to the world, the country saw a big leap in consumerism,  popular international brands were becoming accessible to many Indians and Indian Tv were littered with commercials, many of which have not aged very well. A case in point is the various commercials done by Coca-cola. The brand advertised its product by having Amir Khan play different stereotypical roles including a bee stung photographer who is mistaken for a Japanese tourist and a Nepali Sherpa simpleton. When playing these roles Amir Khan is seen with exaggerated facial expressions to mimic slanted eyes and high cheekbone. In his role as a Sherpa, he was dressed like a security guard ( A profession look down upon in mainland India), talked in a made-up accent, while in the bee-stung photographer role, he confessed at the end that he was not Japanese but just an Indian photographer stung by a bee. Innocent as they may be, the problem with these stereotypical portrayals is that they enforced an idea of superiority and racism towards people of Asiatic descends and that idea perpetuate by these Indian media often manifest themselves in the form of racism towards Northeastern people. The implication in the bee-stung photographer commercial was that the Asiatic slanted eyes and high cheekbones were unnatural and ugly while the Sherpa skit shows that people from the east are stupid and inferior. Northeastern people in the mainland have oftentimes being subjected to these stereotypes and they are tired of it. 

Yellowface in Bollywood and Indian commercials is not yet a subject that is being as discussed as Yellowface in Hollywood. But the issue is starting to gain little attention as Priyanka Chopra opened up her thoughts on her role as Mary Kom in the biopic Mary Kom. Mary Kom is an athlete from Manipur in Northeast India. To get the Northeastern looks, Priyanka was subjected to applying make-up so she may look Northeasterner, the star has confessed in an interview with vanity that she thought she looked nothing like her and was, in the beginning, sceptical of taking her role. Bollywood is littered with racism towards eastern people particularly the Nepalis and it is important that more people be aware of these racist projection made towards them and see how it influences prejudice and racism towards Northeast Indians 

Here is a video of Yellow Face Amir Khan 

Amir Khan as Sherpa 

Amir Khan as Bee stung Photographer 

Here is a video of racism towards Nepali people in Bolywood by Tuhin Patari 

Also Read - Why Travelling To Mizoram Is A Must and How To Truly Experience Mizo Culture
The Mizos

The Mizos is a one-man team news blog, that brings you news and stories from Mizoram, Northeast India and the rest of the World.

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