Lin Laishram, known for films like Axone, Om Shanti Om, Rangoon, and Mary Kom, opened up about North Eastern representation in Bollywood. She added that it was 'heartbreaking' to see that someone from North East wasn't cast to play Mary Kom in her 2014 biopic.
Mary Kom features Priyanka Chopra in the lead and Lin Laishram appears in a supporting role. Lin told Bollywood Hungama that there are many great actors from the North East who the makers could've cast.
"As an actor, that self-centred egoistic actor tells me that I should have been... But it could have been anybody from the North East. We have many great actors. I want to be generous here, and say that there were many, many actors who could have done this. But the casting, and the whole team decided on someone else. It's heartbreaking, but we are coming along, and I hope that this does not happen again," she said.
"A lot of times, the casting is stereotyped, and we are stuck to a very small genre of our own. That's also stereotype, and not in the best manner. So when a script like that comes up, from our place, it would be great to be given to somebody who is more eligible and who's close to that land, because it helps."Lin Laishram, Actor
In a recent interview with Free Press Journal, Lin talked about the lack of proper North Eastern representation in Bollywood. She added that the only person from North East was Danny Denzongpa but it was difficult to relate to him since he spoke fluent Hindi.
Lin further said that North Eastern artistes had already made a name for themselves at the global stage before Bollywood discovered them. She cited the example of Aribam Syam Sharma's film Imagi Ningthem which won the Golden Montgolfiere at the Festival des 3 continents, Nantes in 1982.
“One is approached to play stereotypical roles like a spa girl, prostitute or a waiter. Not that playing these characters demeans an actor but it's how we are seen and typecast. Its little knowledge about our culture that bothers us," she told the Free Press Journal.
"When it comes to playing an achiever from the Northeast a non-North Eastern person is chosen as seen in Mary Kom. On the other hand, why not cast people from Northeast also as normal Indians in all walks of life which we are.”Lin Laishram, Actor
Further talking about the issue of casting and representation in Mary Kom, she said, "I admire Priyanka for her hard work, she really put in a lot of hours in order to look like Mary Kom but I always felt that casting is an important step in film. I believe in authenticity and inclusivity, so a girl from Manipur or the North East could have been surely cast to represent us."