On January 4, Richa Chadha launched the poster of her new movie titled Madam Chief Minister. Slated for launch on January 22, the film has already met with a lot controversy on-line owing to its poster. This notorious poster includes layers of misappropriation and controversial symbols. With one more caste-based, tone-deaf film releasing in Bollywood, one should marvel if the movie fraternity is even listening to its viewers.
To start with, the poster portrays a short-haired Richa Chadha, bedraggled and bruised, sporting a brush in her hand which has, for a few years, been symbolic of Dalit oppression. Having Chadha, a Savarna, upper-class lady enjoying the position of somebody subtitled “Untouchable, Unstoppable” cements the truth that for Bollywood, caste-based violence and points are solely a cog within the money-making wheel. These films perpetuate stereotypes, as a substitute of making consciousness about social points.
Whereas the film doesn’t immediately check with the previous Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati, the allusions to her character are discernible. The title of the film coupled with the blue ink stains on the font do sufficient to solidify the picture. Mayawati, who was born right into a Dalit household of the Chamar Caste, was a college-educated lawyer and trainer earlier than she made her foray into the world of politics. The poster depiction of her character – nonetheless loosely based mostly on her life – is a blatant instance of stereotyping whereby anybody belonging to the Dalit neighborhood is depicted as darkish, dishevelled, awry, and employed in bodily and/or handbook labour.
With films being the preferred and most simply consumed media within the nation, illustration is of utmost significance.
This isn’t the primary time that Bollywood has delved into this blatant stereotyping or employed an upper-class, upper-caste protagonist to be the “saviour”. In 2019, Anubhav Sinha’s Article 15 additionally obtained legitimate criticism for a similar. Casting Savarna actors to play the heroes and even embody the character itself of somebody from the Dalit, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Different Backward Class communities is akin to casting Hollywood’s practise of “whitewashing”, the place White actors play roles that may solely be justified by Black individuals. It’s not merely sufficient to create a platform for the deprived communities to get entry to alternatives, however it is usually crucial to go the mic to them to have the ability to inform their very own tales.
With films being the preferred and most simply consumed media within the nation, illustration is of utmost significance. The story is as essential because the people who find themselves telling it. By continuously placing Savarna actors within the forefront, it takes away the chance from lower-class and lower-caste individuals to place forth their very own narratives. What can these filmmakers say about caste issues that somebody from the neighborhood can’t enrich? The inventive tasks for illustration are lastly incumbent upon those that refuse to occupy the positions that don’t rightfully belong to them.
Twitter has been replete with arguments and feedback from individuals enraged by this poster. In the meantime, Richa Chadha is preoccupied with thanking the identical Bollywood posse of actors and administrators for supporting her movie and paying no heed to her main customers. As a substitute of navigating the slew of criticism, Chadha is seen sharing not-so-sly articles on open debate and subtweeting about individuals leaping to conclusions. With the trailer of the movie awaited, it prompts the query whether or not filmmakers ought to recant their problematic artworks retrospectively, or not less than course-correct after being rightfully criticised. In any case, how for much longer will Bollywood delight itself in being a watchful saviour of the oppressed?