Deepika Padukone mistaken for Matthew McConaughey’s wife; Jimmy Kimmel calls RRR a Bollywood film
It is not the first time that a Bollywood star has been misidentified on a Hollywood platform. Call it a lack of awareness in the West about Indian cinema or a myopic vision where everything brown is seen under the same lens.
But recently, when Indian films and especially regional Indian cinema and independent documentaries were making unprecedented history on the Oscar stage, the stark irony that Hollywood still needs some schooling on the largest producer of films in the world did not seem to go down very well with Indians across the world.
Read: RRR’s Naatu Naatu makes Oscar history for India (January 24, 2023)
While everyone was soaking in the Oscar fun with representation seeming to be much more obvious than in previous years, what stuck out as a sore thumb was when some international agencies began miscaptioning Indian actor Deepika Padukone as Camila Alves McConaughey, a Brazilian model and wife of Hollywood star Matthew McConaughey.
Soon, it wasn’t one but a few agencies that seemed to have towed the same line. While the similarities between the two can be termed striking, the mix-up simply showed that one of highest paid actresses in India who has also done some work in Hollywood is after all not that well-known in Hollywood circles.
It is not the first time that Deepika has been mistaken in the US. A few years ago she was snapped by the US paparazzi at the airport who kept on calling her Priyanka, thinking of her as Priyanka Chopra.
If one mix-up was not enough, the other one came from a rather unexpected quarter. Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel introduced RRR as a Bollywood movie – a slip that upset lovers of regional Indian cinema.
While until a few years ago, one may have thought of this slip as something that can happen considering the lack of regional cinema showcase in the West, today in the times of film festivals and global screenings this is hardly the case.
Both the director of the movie SS Rajamouli and the lead actors Ram Charan and Jr NTR have extensively travelled around the world promoting their Telugu film and enlightening the global audience about Telugu cinema.
Interestingly, the US has been one of the biggest markets for Telugu cinema. According to estimates, RRR grossed $150 million worldwide and some estimates say that 75% of overseas collections for Telugu cinema comes from the US.
Read: Oscars won, Indian cinema poised for greater glory (March 14, 2023)
Only 0.12% of the US population speaks Telugu at home. Another upcoming Telugu film Dasara will be released in more than 600 locations across the US. With statistics such as these, it is obvious that the regional Indian cinema is on a never before high curve in the US.
While the majority of audience of regional and often Bollywood movies remains Indian and South Asian expats, the Oscar wins show that Indian cinema both regional and independent is posing to be a happy disruptor in the classic Hollywood awards scene, it may be about time for Hollywood to brush up their basics on Indian film industry.