Kal Penn Exposes Indian Stereotyping he faced in Hollywood

Hollywood actor Kal Penn posts a series of tweet exposing the Indian stereotyping issues in the industry, showing TV scripts of his early-day roles.

Kal Penn Exposes Indian Stereotyping he faced in Hollywood

"Tried to convince them to let me speak without an accent & make it funny on the merits (was told no)."

Acclaimed Hollywood actor, Kal Penn has tweeted about Indian stereotyping in Hollywood. His tweets involved the scripts of the TV shows where he became cast in a stereotypical Indian role.

The roles involved heavily exaggerating an accent and having stereotypical names. And some of the shows mentioned may surprise you!

Kal’s tweets began after he unearthed an archive of old scripts of several performances he was given. The tweet included images of the scripts, which all highlighted a worrying trend.

Many recognise Penn for his role in the hit movie series Harold and Kumar. He also starred in the popular comedy show How I Met Your Mother.

However, in the beginning, he was a struggling young actor, who faced the extra difficulty of being typecast. His roles often involved him having to put on an accent, where perhaps none was required.

The acting roles also required him to speak with Indian stereotyping broken English. Along with requests to lay his accent on thick. For example, he made a jab at one Indian stereotyping role by comparing it to Apu from The Simpsons.

Kal went on to highlight some of the other offending shows. These included Sabrina The Teenage Witch and King of Queens. He highlighted the Indian stereotyping names or even the lack of a name!

The Hollywood actor also pointed out his requests to change some of these Indian stereotyping issues. But they were denied. He said: “Tried to convince them to let me speak without an accent & make it funny on the merits (was told no).”

He also highlighted some scripts where the stereotypical name acted as part of the joke. For example, in a script for King of Queens, he played a character called ‘Sanjib’. Yet the other characters appear confused with the name and question it with “Sinbad” and “Sandjob”.

Kal finally ended the series of exposing scripts by saying:

“There are too many in this stack to tweet. I’ll be here all day.”

Since the Twitter thread, other actors have come out in agreement with the Hollywood star. Pakistani-American actor Kumail Nanjiani revealed similar experiences.

He said: “I remember seeing these kinds of things when I was starting. We still have a long way to go but we have come so very far.”

These series of tweets highlighted a startling issue in Hollywood, where racial stereotyping threatens the craft of acting. Now Kal Penn has revealed his old scripts, perhaps more will discuss on this issue.

Vivek is a sociology graduate, with a passion for history, cricket and politics. A music lover, he likes rock and roll with a guilty liking for Bollywood soundtracks. His motto is “It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over,” from Rocky.

Images courtesy of Kal Penn's Twitter page.

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