Disney Pixar’s animated film ‘Turning Red’ has dropped its official trailer and it has blown away the minds of Twitterati. The presence of a Sikh character, complete with a blue turban and a ‘kada’ apart from the Pixar-esque cuteness, has left many Sikhs across the globe feeling warm over the much-needed representation.
A Twitter user wrote, “it’s so exciting to think of all the little Sikh kids who get to see this Sardar on screen and feel included," and their opinion is being echoed all over by other users of the social media platform.
growing up, I never could have imagined seeing an observant Sikh in a Pixar movie. it’s so exciting to think of all the little Sikh kids who get to see this Sardar on screen and feel included🥺 more of this pls! https://t.co/0WRHqLJSZV— Simrin Singh (@_simrinsingh_) July 14, 2021
nah bro, its just that growing up, I never could have imagined seeing an observant Sikh in a Pixar movie. It’s so exciting to think of all the little Sikh kids (you) who get to see this guy on the screen and feel included!— Faaris (@FaarisM1R) July 14, 2021
Many users are taking this as a major step forward for representation of the Sikh community in mainstream culture outside of India. One user went as far as to write that the character of the Sikh security guard being shown in a movie of this stature means people would be made aware that they are “strong and capable contributors to society".
The movie #TurningRed features a #Sikh character wearing a turban. @disney has now taken the initiative to showcase us in an #animated #film to make people aware that we are strong and capable contributors to society. Releasing worldwide in Spring 2022#disney #movies #sikhs pic.twitter.com/75ydFQXihJ— RJRamanUK (@RJRamanUK1) July 15, 2021
The attention to detail in making the character is also being applauded on many fronts.
@Pixar has a Sikh character in its new feature film "Turning Red". Look how much detail they've put into him, he even has his own "Kara". Beautiful! He's a guard of the school. Smiling face with heart-shaped eyes.#TurningRed#Pixar#DisneyPlus pic.twitter.com/H3qFqYiRc3— The Sikh Beard (@sikhbeard) July 14, 2021
However, one user started a pertinent discussion regarding South Asian representation in films, opining that such characters are often relegated to minor roles.
Some are seeing this as a win but tbh it just makes me sad. How many Pixar films have their been with no South Asian representation? Only to finally have a Sikh man as a minor security guard?The Ofcom stats for SA rep are bad in the UK. I imagine they’re worse in Hollywood. pic.twitter.com/6F8Jvv7VaV
— Adeel Amini (@adeelamini) July 14, 2021
Another user pointed to where it all may have potentially started.
The fact that the director, Domee Shi, chose Toronto as the backdrop for the film was also appreciated.
There will be a Sikh depiction in the new Disney Pixar movie Turning Red. 🎥 🍿 Director Domee Shi chose her hometown of Toronto as the backdrop for her new feature film which brings in so much diversity and inclusion. 🧡@disney @pixar #Sikhism pic.twitter.com/HJzrlg3chQ
— ਅਮਨਪ੍ਰੀਤ ਸਿੰਘ (Aman) (@ammy_singh9299) July 14, 2021
Some opinions were slightly controversial, with one user dragging Bollywood.
When Pixar an American companies make a better looking Sikh Punjabi person in their movies. But Bollywood till this day can’t….— wave laden (@WaveLaden) July 14, 2021
The fact that the animated character will be seen wearing a turban, which is important to the culture, has many netizens excited too.
ok for those that don’t know i’m sikh and turbans are a big thing in my religion so seeing a man with a turban in a pixar movie is cool we are being represented— prav (@pravypatty) July 13, 2021
The question of representation in Disney movies has long been a point of discussion for many minority communities. In fact, there have been instances when Disney’s dealing of Asian characters veered into murky territory and the creators were embroiled in controversy. Last year, for instance, Disney’s “Mulan" remake faced boycott calls after it emerged some of the blockbuster’s scenes were filmed in China’s Xinjiang, where widespread rights abuses against the region’s Muslim population have been widely documented.
The director of Turning Red, Chinese-Canadian Domee Shi, however, has been known and previously applauded for her work. ‘Bao’, a short film directed by her, received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short. “You’re just seeing this gradual shift in the industry because, before, animation was predominantly white and male," Shi had told NPR in an interview. Hopes riding on ‘Turning Red’ are hence understandably high.