My nieces love watching ‘Tarak Mehta Ka ooltah Chashma’. More often than not I end up watching it with them.To say the least I am appalled at the offensive nature of stereotyping they do against specific groups of people, targeting their physical, cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
To begin with there is a character called ‘Dr Hathi’. Yes,THAT is his character’s real name. Dr Hansraj Hathi,if I am not mistaken. Of Course, He is overweight. So is his family.
Like its not like something they call him behind his back or in anger not that it would be any less offensive but well in real anger we can become unabashed and prejudicial and make no sense … but when you decide to name a character in a play/show by the size of their body it actually shows how disgustedly parochial your mind is. Oh and the clincher…every time he comes on screen there is a trumpet sample played. Disgusting.
Then there is a South Indian character with a heavy dark makeup and as some sort of a in your face(pun intended) racist joke,he has a contrasting ‘fair’ skinned wife with fake blonde hair. The sound sample when HE speaks is a pinched out ‘ aiyaiyo’. Are you serious. The only sound sample I hear constantly when MY South Indian Tam Bhram friends speak is “Dude,I need a beer”.
Oh,There is a Loud Punjabi Sardar who comes with his own ‘burrah’ sound sample whenever he speaks.He has a parsi wife who doesn’t get much to say because well this guy is Punjabi and a Sardar so he is supposed to overpower everything when he speaks. And I am sure there is nothing quiet like telling me I am speaking to a Sardar, unless I hear Bhangra Drums play in the background and see him make bhangra gestured at a drop of a hat. ‘Burrrrrrrrrrah’.
The show also promotes unhealthy patriarchy. The intentionally stupid portrayal of this character called ‘daya bhabi’ who speaks as if she is on a botox overdose, gets shouted at and dominated by her spouse constantly…who in turn is always shouted at by his father is a strong evidence of this. The ‘son’ in the family gets away with shit most of the times. He has a bunch of anarchist friends called the ‘Tappu Sena’. Ok am overreacting. Wait maybe not.
It is also unnerving to say that the show inspite of representing and promoting ‘unity in diversity’,does not have a single Muslim character. And the only time I saw Muslims on that show,was when portrayed as Pakistanis or maybe its just that I am wearing my ‘Chashma Ulta’.