Bollywood has a habit of stereotyping communities into specific moulds. And when it comes to the Bengali community, bollywood always portrays it in a familiar trope. From Barfi to Meri Pyari Bindu, you always see the familiar Howrah Bridge, the yellow taxis and what not. Being a Kolkatan (or is it kolkatites now???) myself, I cannot say that these things offend me, but it just saddens me a bit that we all are subjected to weird interrogations because of these stereotypes. So here are the 5 things that bollywood always stereotypes about Kolkata.
- Howrah Bridge
Be it Shoojit Sircar’s Piku or Mani Ratnam’s Yuva, Howrah Bridge can be seen in pretty much every movie based in Kolkata. Linking the cities of Kolkata and Howrah – the Howrah Bridge, built over the Hooghly River, is the symbol of Kolkata city. But is a city simply a sum total of what you can see at first glance ?
- Yellow Taxi
This is another stereotype that bollywood shows on screen. It has become a symbol of Kolkata as well. Though we still do have yellow taxis in Kolkata, but we also have Ubers , Olas and a bunch of other taxi services as well. So making the yellow taxi a symbol of Kolkata is just weird now.
- The White Saree with Red Border
Be it “Dola re Dola” from Devdas or “The Durga Puja” ad of Wildstone, white saree with a red border is apparently a way of “recognizing” Bengali women. Even some of my friends ask me that do we really wear it for every occasion!! NO, we don’t. And neither are we obsessed with it. Yes, we may sometimes wear it for Durga Pujo or farewells, but we do love wearing our jeans, tees and churidars just as well on an everyday basis like the rest of the world!!!!
- Love for Fish
Now this is a controversial point. Some Bengalis can die for fish, while others do not like it at all, and some have mixed emotions about it, but they definitely don’t have the habit of taking evening strolls along one of the many ghats in Kolkata with raw fish in their hands, And neither do most of us have fish with every meal!!
This is one point I would agree with most of the film makers. Sweets, mainly rosogollas are something that every Bengali loves to death. But so does the north Indians or any other sweet lover. Believe me, we are blessed with very many different kinds of sweets and sweet dishes, like ‘pantua’ (Gulab Jamub). Stereotyping it as a symbol of Kolkata is a bit excessive!!
Not to mention that we all do not just meet and greet by saying “ami tomake bhalobashi”. No, we don’t. We do not love every other person we meet. And don’t you dare say that to us! Unless ofcourse, you actually do. Then you’re welcome.
Not only these above mentioned things, there are so many other things that are showed in most of the movies like emphasis on spelling with an ‘O’, hand-drawn rickshaws, Bengali weddings, and so many more things. They are not wrong, absolutely not. But again Bengalis are so much more than machh, mishti and rosogollas!