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Sikh Character in Disney Pixar's 'Turning Red' Has Twitter Excited For Representation

The Sikh character in 'Turning Red' trailer. Credit: Screengrab from YouTube/Pixar

The Sikh character in 'Turning Red' trailer. Credit: Screengrab from YouTube/Pixar

The question of representation in Disney movies has long been a point of discussion for many minority communities and thus, the presence of a Sikh character has left Sikhs across the globe feeling excited about the representation.

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.

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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 attention to detail in making the character is also being applauded on many fronts.

However, one user started a pertinent discussion regarding South Asian representation in films, opining that such characters are often relegated to minor roles.

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.

Some opinions were slightly controversial, with one user dragging Bollywood.

The fact that the animated character will be seen wearing a turban, which is important to the culture, has many netizens excited too.

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.

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first published:July 16, 2021, 13:02 IST