Enough With the Ms Braganzas & Mr Iyers. Where are the Biharis in Bollywood?

Bollywood

Enough With the Ms Braganzas & Mr Iyers. Where are the Biharis in Bollywood?

Illustration: Ahmed Sikander

I

n the college hostel that I live in, I can usually be found discussing useless Bollywood trivia with my peers. For instance, did you know that Raju Hirani named Rustam Pavari in Munnabhai after a friend? You’ll find many a Rustam in Hindi cinema: Sometimes in the form of an overweight, cherubic boy named Kaizad, blinking behind his rimmed spectacles. You’ll see him as the loudmouth Farhad who asks aunties their cup sizes for a living. The point is, you see Rustam or Farhad or Kaizad and you immediately know their cultural identities.

Similarly, there will always be a Miss Braganza in her pink pencil skirt, toting a bag from Causeway, and addressing everyone as “darling” almost by default. Miss Braganza’s neighbour in the cooperative housing society will be a Mr Iyer, who works with the electricity board to support his family of four. Their landlords in Andheri are of course, a Deshpande family which looks like a Deshpande family. Don’t even get me started on the Kapoors, Khannas, and oh, the Raichands who almost always live in a Delhi kothi, which could be in Janakpuri or Vasant Vihar, depending on what the movie is trying to say. They always have grand businesses and a grander sense of themselves.

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