Lin Laishram, a model and actor from Manipur has spoken out about discrimination in the Bollywood.
Lin claims that when it came to Bollywood, the North Easterners had little to relate with the few exceptions dressed in weird tribal garb and speaking gibberish.
She said that Bollywood needs to be more inclusive and normalise the presence of North Easterners in the film industry, not just as a ornamental or geographical representation, but as Indians.
“Danny Denzongpa was the only person from the North East,” she added, “but we couldn’t relate to him either since he spoke fluent Hindi, which most of us didn’t.”
Laishram has spoken out about discrimination in the casting of the 2014 film Mary Kom.
Though Priyanka Chopra Jonas, who played the protagonist put in a lot of effort for the film, Lin believes that a girl from the Northeast or Manipur might have been cast to represent us.
“The Family Man 2 is the latest example of tremendous inclusivity. People from Tamil Nadu are cast in the play and speak Tamil, expressing their local culture and ethnicity and it has received a lot of positive feedback. So, if South Indian culture can be recognised, why can’t North Eastern culture be as well?”, Lin said.
Thousands of North Easterners were subjected to racism as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Laishram recounts of her most terrifying incident to date Lin said,“When I returned home after dropping off my parents at the airport and I was pursued by two men who called me ‘coronavirus’ to the point of physical violence”. It was extremely frightening.
“I felt helpless and enraged since many people in the North East were suffering in many ways. They were denied groceries, some girls were spat upon on the street and students were ejected from their PGs and hostels. It made me sick to think that we would be treated like this in our own nation”, she added.
Lin Laishram has captured hearts with her onscreen charm and charisma in popular Bollywood films such as Om Shanti Om, Mary Kom, Axone and Rangoon.