It’s 2021 and Bollywood is still following stereotypes to a T. If ‘Two States’ and ‘Chennai Express’ featuring North Indian actors putting on a South Indian accent and gajra in their hair instantly to ‘transform’ to a South Indian role wasn’t enough, there’s one more Karan Johar movie coming out following the same formulae. Actors Sanya Malhotra and Abhimanyu Dassani are teaming up for Netflix’s upcoming romantic comedy, “Meenakshi Sundareshwar”, the streamer announced on Wednesday. The film will mark the directorial debut of Vivek Soni, who had earlier made the 2012 short “Bawdi”. Soni has co-written the movie with Aarsh Vora. It will also be the digital debut of Dassani, who featured in Vasan Bala’s critically-acclaimed 2019 comedy-drama “Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota”. Set in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, the romantic comedy speaks to the trials and tribulations of a young couple, Meenakshi and Sundareshwar, a press release said. “What’s in a name? My wife Meenakshi and I can assure you – a lot. ‘Meenakshi Sundareshwar’, coming soon to Netflix,” Dassani tweeted, along with the first look of the film. Malhotra, who was recently seen in “Ludo” which premiered on the streamer, also shared the still where the duo are dressed as bride and groom. “You are cordially invited to Meenakshi and Sundareshwar’s wedding. Send gifts and long-distance relationship tips!” the “Dangal” actor wrote. The film is backed by filmmaker Karan Johar’s Dharmatic Entertainment.
The teaser, however, wasn’t met with all too much enthusiasm, with many calling out the blatant stereotyping they saw in the trailer itself.
I dont know when will bollywood understand that all Tamil's are not brahmins. All Tamil's are not veg eaters. Even brahmins wont dress and talk like this now a days. And not all tamil songs are folk songs. And stop ur obsession with our superstar!#MeenakshiSundareshwar https://t.co/oSMamGPhO1— Sandy (@dragondeenas) October 12, 2021
Insert Tamil songs, Tamil icons and Tamil culture (grossly stereotyped) to get some eyeballs, but the characters only speak in Hindi!! Chennai is just 2 hours away by flight from Bombay, one visit would have made the makers realise what an atrocity this is #MeenakshiSundareshwar https://t.co/yl4qiyG9cA— Akshita Nandagopal (@Akshita_N) October 13, 2021
Stereotyping at its best (worst)! Another bollywood film to stereotype south indians as vegetarian, folk song listening, Rajinikanth loving, pretentious English speaking people. Grow up guys!#MeenakshiSundareshwar— Vignesh Venugopal (@vvignettist) October 12, 2021
What divided a lot of fans, however, was the Rajinikanth reference, once loved and now almost seen as just another stereotype of the mega superstar.
Will the movie perpetuate stereotypes or present something ground-breaking? The movie is set to release on Netflix on November 5.