Andrea Kevichusa Reveals Facing Racism; Will Northeastern Actors Be Accepted In B’wood?

women actors from northeast india in bollywood, Who is Andrea Kevichusa
When a 16-year-0ld Andrea Kevichusa told a make-up artist that she will be taking a flight back home to Nagaland and shared that she missed her family, the reply she got left her astounded at the ignorance of people. For the make-up artist replied, “Oh is it? When are you going back to your country?” Nagaland is a state in Northeast India.

Andrea Kevichusa is now a lead actor in a Hindi film titled Anek, which is directed by Anubhav Sinha and also stars Ayushmann Khurrana. The film is also set in the northeast of India and Andrea plays the role of a boxer and a rebel. Set in the conflict zone, the film talks about the language issue and the alienation of people of the northeast by mainland India and its political system.

Before this film, there was another film which focused on a group of people from the northeast, who belonged to different ethnicity and lived as a community in Delhi. The name of the film was Axone and it explored the topic of discrimination and racial violence in the country’s capital city.

Suggested Reading: Meet Lin Laishram, Manipuri Actor Who Has Questioned Bollywood’s Representation Of Northeast

In between these two films, Badhaai Do by Harshvardhan Kulkarni was released and it had a character from the northeast, which was played by Chum Darang.  It is true that Hindi cinema is finally coming up with more sensitive stories and characters from the northeast but the question still remains on whether they have been entirely accepted by the industry and its people.

What Andrea said in an interview with DNA India, still holds true. Actors and creative people from northeastern states have increased in multitudes but the awareness of the language and culture amongst other people still remains caricaturish.

Women Actors From Northeast India In Bollywood

Actors like Andrea Kevichusa, Chum Darang, Lin Laishram, Aslena Jamir, and Merenla Imsong, among many others who are leading the way for women from the northeast in the industry. Each of these people has played the role of a northeastern only in their respective films, which makes one question if an actor from Delhi can play the role of a person in Kolkata then why can they not be incorporated into the industry and characters, regardless of their geographical belonging.

In an interview with Silverscreen India, Merenla Imsong, who is an actor, writer, assistant director and YouTube Content Creator from Nagaland had said, “Massagewali (masseur), salonwali (worker at a salon), and momo seller. We get these kinds of roles frequently. We end up becoming character actors too.” She also feels that it is a problem with the script as feels that one needs to focus on the character without the constant reference to their race.

“Of course, I will talk about racism but I want to do that on my own terms, not through the words of someone who has not faced what I have faced. It has to come from deep inside when you are telling a story. It should come from experience,” she said.

In an interview with Silverscreen India, Monjuroni Dewan, who had gone to Mumbai in order to pursue her dream as an actor, told that while searching for an acting role in Mumbai, during one of her first interactions, she was told by a casting director that there is no northeast role available.

She also tried her hand at Indian television shows but was rejected as her “looks” did not match up with the characters that generally appear on mainstream television. She said, “I was appalled but not surprised by the racism.”

As more films and actors from northeast India come up in Hindi cinema, one wishes and hopes that people around them become more accepting and step out of their bubble of stereotypes.

Views expressed are the author’s own