The Bollywood caste

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It’s nice to see BP so active – I completely failed in my goal to take up AnAn’s suggestion and do a compendium of recent posts but I shall indulge with some observations.

We seem to spend a lot of time on BP talking on caste origins.

The more interesting castes are Bollywood; where most of the acting families are linked and intermarry with the industrialist and cricketing caste (the Sharma-Kohli wedding was presaged by Malik-Mirza match).

The Bollywood caste is Punjabi & Muslim men (Ranveer Singh dropped his Sindhi name – who would watch Ranveer Bhavnani) with women stemming from other parts of the Subcontinent.

I’m surprised by the lack of Sikhs in Bollywood; Arijit Singh (who is a cut Sikh) and Ranbir’s mother + Saif’s first wife are Sikh. Where and who are the Sikh men?

I think people forget India is undergoing a breathtaking pace of modernisation. However because of Bollywood; this modernisation isn’t necessarily Westernisation. Bollywood takes a nod from the West and translates it in Hindustani culture, language & values which then influences the whole nation (Pakistan is undergoing the same process but is far more immunised from Westoxication; we are generation to half a generation behind in liberalism).

LV was showing me the new trailer for Veere de Wedding (Kareena Kapoor & Sonam Kapoor) and I was remembering what Kangana Ranaut was saying about nepotism in Bollywood.

Also Vidhi pointed out to me that a lot of the “Punjabis” are in fact half-Sindhi (KJo, RSingh, Kareena Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor).

One of the most shocking juxtapositions in the Subcontinent is just how cosmopolitan and glamorous Sindhi Hindus are whereas Sindhi Muslims have such a staid reputation (landowners, wadheras).

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18 Replies to “The Bollywood caste”

  1. “I’m surprised by the lack of Sikhs in Bollywood”
    Amitabh Bacchan’s mother is Sikh. Dharmendra of yesteryears is a Sikh and his progeny are actors.

    1. Yes but compared to Hindu Punjabis; who are disproportionately represented. Also among Punjabis in India; Sikhs and Hindus are at parity?

  2. Although i never noticed this Caste but here is a whole discussion about it. I guess that does tell something about uses & abuses of the term ‘Caste’

    1. The caste system is a constantly evolving one.. its sort of like race in the US; almost embedded into the national dna (the equivalent would be creed in Pak)..

      1. If not race, it is ethnicity in the U.S. At least the caste in India is an open thing. The division of society by ethnicity is invisible to the casual observer but real.

      2. Why not call all sort of groupings as Tribalism ? All these divisions are to confuse the masses while Elites first used them to establish themselves at top {Historically only few people enjoyed the elite status} & now they are using those same divisions in the name of historicity to pit middle & lower classes against each other while enjoying the results of their handy work which they fit in the frames of ideologies & theories of social movements & emancipation theories.

        Discrimination, indifference, apathy & various other divisions will always remain in society what changes are their descriptions & their uses. Even in individualistic terms people will show these behaviors knowingly or unknowingly hence these social theories are simply inadequate to explain these social phenomenons.

        1. Hollywood is not as enmeshed as Bollywood is. Far more Bollywood stars marry in industry than Hollywood do.

          1. But if you look at the matches in terms of class {monetary value} you will most probably find parity among couples in both industries, i am just digressing here though.

            // Far more Bollywood stars marry in industry than Hollywood do. //

            Any source for this claim ?

  3. Zach, if there is a Bollywood caste, and if it is has continuing or even increasing relevance to the system, would that make you bearish or bullish on the industry?

    1. I love Bollywood – i do think some dynasties fail in producing top stars and there is some nepotism erc

          1. No it’s not but it seems to be the case because of poverty in sight unlike the West where the fruits of colonization & the advantages industrial revolution worked for some 50-80 yrs but now the situation is again going back to the kind of inequality that has always prevailed in most of the world.

            Check this book –
            The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century (Princeton Economic History of the Western World)

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