How Ayushmann’s ‘Dream Girl’ Stereotypes Muslims for a Few Laughs
The comedy perpetuates stereotypes and Twitterati is reacting to it.
Ayushmann Khurrana’s Dream Girl, which released on 13 September, had a big weekend at the box office (Rs 44 crore in three days), and the film has already turned out to be the actor's sixth hit in a row. Dream Girl is hilarious for the most part, but it is also equally true that many of the jokes and punches thrown at you by writer-director of the film, Raaj Shaandilyaa, are problematic and stereotypical.
Apart from portraying a lesbian or bisexual character as a man-hater, and as someone who has only fallen in love with a girl only because she is disillusioned by men, Dream Girl also stereotypes Muslims in an attempt to generate laughs.
When Anu Kapoor, who plays Ayushmann’s father, Jagjit, finds out that the girl Pooja, whom he is in love with (actually a fake identity taken on by his own son) is Muslim, he is heartbroken. Jagjit is a devout Hindu living in Gokul, who is seen with a teeka on his forehead, a mala in his hand and puja ki thali in his hand through the film. But then he suddenly takes on Islamic traditions overnight just so he can marry this Muslim girl. And that’s where the jokes start getting stereotypical and problematic.
Here’s how Ayushamnn’s comedy perpetuates Muslim stereotypes, something which several movie goers have brought up on Twitter as well.
The entire premise of this sequence is that one has to convert to Islam if you marry a Muslim woman, giving up on your own religion and lifestyle, and that’s a highly problematic mindset, even if it is meted out in the form of a comedy.
So, the first step towards embracing Islam: turn to green! One of the first things Anu’s character does is paint his house green and change his decor to suit his new Muslim life. Ayushmann’s comment on that: Clean Mathura ko green Mathura bana diya aapne (You converted clean Mathura into green Mathura).
The Long Name
Anu Kapoor is in love with Pooja, who is actually his own son (played by Ayushmann). So to throw his father off, Ayushmann meets him wearing a burkha and pretends to be a Muslim girl named Sakina. And one of the first things he does is rattle off a long name because that’s generally how Muslims introduce themselves, don’t they?
In order to dissuade his father from being hung up on Pooja, Ayushmann plays on his Islamophobia and tells him all the things he will have to go through if he marries a Muslim woman. One of them, of course, had to be giving birth to 8-9 kids!
Next, Anu makes all the arrangements for Bakri Eid and decides to devour goat meat from now on. So, he erects a pole where the goat can be tied. A lifelong vegetarian needs to first of all instantly turn into a meat-eater to please his Muslim wife, doesn’t he?
The final step is getting the look right by dyeing your hair red with mehndi (henna) so that Ayushmann can crack the joke “Aap Jagjit Singh se Mehdi Hassan ban gaye? (You’ve turned from Jagjit Singh into Mehdi Hassan?)”
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