How could someone with surname Anwar play Margaret Tudor? How could Denis Anthony La Fontaine have been Indian Air Chief Marshall? It’s almost as though names needn’t correspond to one’s image of how someone with that name should look.
Because Anwar looks incredibly white and India has Christians who have Christian names.
Anwar was picked because she looked white enough. La Fontaine is an Air Chief Marshall and his ethnicity is not of importance. In fact he is probably like me… A Tamil. Some of us are very fair (Tamils normally have darker skin. Some of us are “black” some of us are “brown” and some of us are “white”. If i stay out of the sun for enough time I can be confused with italian or greek. My mother looks white)
However. You must remember that Indian actors in western cinema are only making it big recently. Until recently Indians didn’t get much portrayal and those that did didn’t portray Indians in a positive light. For a LONG time Apu from the Simpsons was the most positive image Indians had in American Culture. The UK had a better portrayal of Asians too. We are con men, spies, doctors in addition to shop keepers and taxi drivers.
Khan was one of the first Indian characters on TV or Cinema where he wasn’t a gigantic stereotype. They had to get a mexican to play him because there were no Indian actors at the time. Now we don’t have that excuse.
If you made Uhura white or Chekov not Russian or Sulu white or had Scotty speaking with a Czech accent, people would have been pissed off.
Part of Khan was that he bucked the trend of Indians being poor, snivelling shop keepers or taxi drivers or terrorist no 3. Which is why it would be nice if Khan actually stuck to the original design where he was “Indian” or at least LOOKED like one. I don’t know what’s more insulting.
The Browning up of Ricardo Montalban (I can atleast see why they did it) or the simple casting of a white guy to play the “Indian Superman”. It wasn’t commentary about Indians and their fascination for “Whiteness” it was a thoughtless casting choice that made it seem that the ideal Indian is white. It’s not malice.
Just ignorance and thoughtlessness.