While the character’s Indian background isn’t the center of her college experience, she says South Asian women can pick up on the story behind her motivations.
But with a generation of first-generation South Asian Americans becoming adults, characters like Bela might represent a turning point in how communities treat sexuality.Movies and shows in which South Asian characters are normal and desirable are slowly beginning to emerge, but it’s an area in which Hollywood has historically had a problem. Singh points to movies like "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," in which the only nonwhite women are oppressed under the violence of evil, monkey-brain-eating Indians, and “the only woman that’s allowed to be beautiful is the white woman.”In the Harry Potter movies, coy and irritating Parvati and Padma slink in the vicinity of the main characters, hoping to be noticed by them but ultimately being cast aside and ignored. Kaling’s last project, “Never Have I Ever,” marked a change — an open door for South Asian American main characters, Singh said
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