Ammy Virk opens up on Sikh stereotyping in Bollywood: ‘They would cast non-Sikhs with no beards, turbans looked like hats’ – The Indian Express

Singer-actor Ammy Virk said that the Hindi film industry used to stereotype Sikhs, and would often not even put in the basic effort to get representation right. Instead, they’d cast non-Sikhs in Sikh roles, and put them in incorrectly tied turbans.
In an interview with Bollywood Bubble, Ammy said that with new Punjabi artists making inroads in Bollywood, things will hopefully change for future generations. He agreed that Sikhs have often been restricted to comic relief characters in Hindi movies, but they can offer so much more than just that.
He said in Hindi, “I was watching an interview of Diljit, and earlier what used to happen was that they’d get artists who didn’t even have beards and make them wear turbans in Bollywood films. But now, they prefer casting sardars as sardar characters. Even if they don’t cast sardars, at least they get a Sikh person from Punjab to tie the turban. Earlier, they turbans used to look like caps in Hindi films, and it used to feel strange, because that’s not what we look like.”
Commenting on the stereotyping of Sikhs as comic relief characters in Hindi films, he said, “Yes, we are a fun-loving people. We’re good at comedy, but that’s not all that we are.”
Ammy, who is known for the hit Nikka Zaildar and Qismat film series in Punjab. His biggest Hindi-language role came in the sports drama 83, which was released just a week before theatres were closed because of the Omicron wave of the coronavirus. Speaking about the film’s box office failure, he said, “I wasn’t disheartened, because you can’t find fault in a film like 83. Even Bhuj, nothing was wrong with the script, and yes, we experienced some difficulty while making it and could’ve been a good film. It didn’t turn out well, that’s another matter. 83 had great content, it was just released at the wrong time, but whoever has seen it has liked it.”


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