Ms. Marvel, trying to start a conversation that most of us from the subcontinent can empathize with.
Let me start by confessing that I have recently become wary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If one of my favorite pop culture characters is killed (Ironman) is not enough, so the increasingly monochromatic narrative around America’s hegemony, and how it continues to need to be rescued is tedious. The whole, the salvation of the world, is equal to rescue in America the plotline becomes extremely lackluster and detrimental.
Therefore, I will accept the fact that the new stream of Marvel shows and movies is not for me. However, the idea of the first Muslim, South Asian female superhero of MCU, is interesting, and even more fascinating is the passionate discourse about Shahrukh Khan. The scene where there is a discussion if Baazigar o Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge is the better SRK movie, keeps coming out everywhere, quite compelling me to try the show, even with the reservations I have. After all, if there’s one thing that doesn’t get trite, then it’s the love our subcontinent holds for man.
However, like I said, I was worried, and not without reason, after all, every other show with South Asian characters, like I have never experienced, o Bridgerton Season 2, is firmly centered on both hackneyed elements of spicy food, captivating brown parents, flashy dresses, and wedding dances. The detachment from the socio-political history of the subcontinent, or its modern landscape, makes the representation more superficial, and less inclusive. In many ways, it also fails to have relatability, or connect with the audience it is trying to portray, making the borderline depiction tokenistic.
On the other hand, unlike its predecessors, Ms. Marvel is organic and groundbreaking in its representation. The show could easily have focused only on the sacred and rather nonsensical details of the subcontinent, but instead of doing so, it decided to push the envelope and look at the more complex aspects as well. From exploring the Partition, and all that is left of it, to knowing the discourses of hijab and identity, as well as the racism associated with being not just an immigrant but a Muslim immigrant, Ms. Marvel, trying to start a conversation that most of us from the subcontinent can empathize with.
In doing so, the show not only becomes more engaging but also makes the trauma experienced by both countries more accessible to the world, and the newer generations who may or may not have forgotten this history. Art can’t change the world, but it can change your perspective on how you look at it. One show will not erase decades of grief and suffering, but to the extent that it, if not others, will spread awareness of what has happened, and what can happen, therefore allowing bloodshed. of the subcontinent, confused identities, and ancestral bruises to be felt. identified.
When the show flashbacks to Karachi, there is no romanticization in brown-ness, it sticks to its natural colors and tones. From AR Rahman Tere Bina, to Abida Parveen Tu Jhoom, at Bon Jovi’s Livin In A Prayer, The Iman Vellani starrer, wholeheartedly sings to everyone, because it subtly promotes multiculturalism. Shahrukh Khan’s name comes up in more conversations than one, and not in a weird way, but in a fairly familiar style-much like how you talk about him. Unfortunately, the fact that Fawad Khan is also part of the show in small ways, is a cherry on the cake, because honestly, there is no greater point of mutual affection between India and Pakistan, than Zindagi Gulzar Hai star, who is loved and cherished in equal measure by both countries.
It does not attempt to capitalize or dramatize the race and ethnicity of the Khan family but it does both, presenting them as a normal Muslim family living in the States, as well as one with a deep heritage that cannot be remove. It refines the balance between generational trauma and the simple things that Indians and Pakistanis want, like Shahrukh Khan, Bhangra, Fawad Khan, and beautiful celebrations, in this case of Eid. At one time, Muslims on a show in America, were not terrorists, but normal people like thousands around the world, had their own faith and skills.
Ms. Marvel is a lovely show that represents the South Asian subcontinent, a feeling that is very well translated, in small detail and in the research put in place. While it may be far from perfect, the truth is sometimes, it’s worth the effort more than the result, and in this case, the effort is not to get some awakening point, but rather to say a little more. inclusive and comprehensive story. It gives us a kind moment, to rejoice to see, to celebrate and alas, to be represented, which sets a decent precedent for anything to come.
Takshi Mehta is a freelance journalist and writer. He strongly believes that we are what we stand for, and so you will always see him holding a pen.
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