The casting of a film either makes it a blockbuster or shifts it towards a troll extravaganza. Because obviously, chaos on-screen will automatically make us say, “tauba tauba saara mood kharaab kar diya.”
And when the casting is culturally incompatible, it dries up the essence of the whole film. Here are 9 times the casting of films was out of place and was criticized heavily.
1. Hrithik Roshan as a dark-skinned Bihari man in Super 30
The brown paint on Hrithik Roshan’s face as he portrayed a Bihari in Super 30 invited a lot of flak from the audience. People questioned the filmmakers and their casting choice for the film.
Was waiting for this trailer for the longest #Super30Trailer and to be very frank that Bihari accent just doesn’t feel real…— Manali Gharat (@ManaliGharat) June 4, 2019
And Hrithik’s dark skinned unrealistic makeup is another problem…
Nawazuddin would have been a better choice for this one
Not a very good trailer. The accent is what can bring critics to the bihari character anand Kumar. Being a bihari I can tell you that whole accent of Hrithik is very bad and I don’t like it at all. #Super30Trailer— विवेक सिंह | (@vksingh1990) June 4, 2019
The transformation of Hrithik Roshan’s complexion in ‘Super 30’ is puke worthy. It is as cringey as a white person playing a black in American movies. Why can’t you bloody find someone of the same complexion idiots? #Super30— Haseen Rahman (@haseenrahman) June 4, 2019
2. Priyanka Chopra as a North-Eastern woman in Mary Kom
For her role as the amateur boxer Mary Kom, Priyanka Chopra was transformed through makeup so that she looked “oriental”. Although her performance received praise, her cultural incompatibility was criticized.
Akshay Kumar playing a trans woman in Laxmi bomb— Sankul Sonawane (@Sankul333) October 14, 2020
Nawazuddin Siddiqui playing a Dalit man in Serious Men
Priyanka Chopra playing a Manipuri woman in Mary Kom
Bhumi Pednekar playing a brownface in Bala
Honestly how hard is it for Bollywood to cast minorities in our minority roles?
Why tf did Priyanka Chopra play Mary Kom? Where there no north eastern actors ???— a fucking✨ fairy✨ (lorde’s whore) (@runsscreaming) July 26, 2021
3. Bhumi Pednekar as a dark-complexioned woman in Bala
Another brown facing incident, Bhumi was roped in for the movie Bala, while her face was painted bronze for the role. The actor herself revealed that she was disappointed as she herself isn’t “that fair”.
So Bala is about a man who suffers from hair loss, who is played by Ayushman, and a dark skinned girl who gets mocked because of that. However, instead of maybe hiring a real dark skinned actress they just cast Bhumi and further darken her face. Ironic, to say the least 🤦🏻♀️ pic.twitter.com/IH9ImpPbyq— lost soul (@theClaiire) October 10, 2019
Just saw Bala trailer. Why couldn’t they just use a dark skinned actress than putting black makeup on fair skinned Bhumi?— Rabi Agrawal (@RabiAgrawal) October 10, 2019
4.Sanjay Dutt as an Afghan ruler in Panipat
People criticized the portrayal of Ahmad Shah Abdali and said how actor Sanjay Dutt didn’t fit the role or look the part.
Ahmad Shah #Abdali first invaded India when he was 25 and was 39 at the Battle of #Panipat. He was a handsome man by all accounts and died at age 50. Sanjay Dutt is 60 and looks 160. If nothing else the casting director of #panipatmovie should be fired posthaste https://t.co/cbRXrRLqF5— Mohammad Taqi (@mazdaki) November 14, 2019
It appears to me the costume designers of the movie did a simple google-image search and found the following image of Ahmad Shah Abdali and mistook the turban for some thing else. Note it is not a historical painting of Ahmad Shah Abdali, it is modern, and the artist was trying . pic.twitter.com/kEXMf3dKTJ— Barmazid برمزید (@Pashz7) November 14, 2019
5. Anushka Sharma as a Bengali woman in Chakda Xpress
In one of the more recent controversies, Anushka Sharma playing cricketer Jhulan Goswami irked people when they watched the trailer. They said that Anushka’s ‘fake Bengali accent’ and her darkened skin tone look out of place.
In India, they can’t find wheatish or brown skinned actors, so established fair skinned actors had to do lipa-poti on their face for biopics.. so much for sincerety to the characterization.. https://t.co/K9vXx53pg9— Keh Ke Peheno 🆒☺️👕 (@coolfunnytshirt) January 6, 2022
Pathetic casting for #ChakdaXpress— Incognito (@Incognito_qfs) January 6, 2022
Anushka Sharma as Jhulan Goswami ? And even the Bengali accent is so fake. Why??
Couldn’t they find a Bengali actress to play Jhulan Goswami ?@biditabag could have played the role easily. pic.twitter.com/u5YIuiYNPn
6. Scarlett Johansson as an Asian in Ghost in the Shell
The film was criticized for whitewashing, which means casting white actors in non-white roles. While Mira, the character played by Scarlett, was Asian, the makers didn’t cast an actor of the original descent, which disappointed fans.
Nothing against Scarlett Johansson. In fact, I’m a big fan. But everything against this Whitewashing of Asian role.😒 https://t.co/VS6r6iish9— Ming-Na Wen (@MingNa) April 14, 2016
Good to see ScarJo embracing her Japanese heritage as Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost In The Shell. pic.twitter.com/iAmTFJK8E4— Tom Reagan’s Hat (@RufusTSuperfly) April 14, 2016
7. Angelina Jolie as an African woman in A Mighty Heart
In another whitewashing incident, actor Angeline Jolie was roped in to play Mariane Pearl, a French woman of Afro-Cuban descent. This was highly criticized, and people didn’t buy the idea of a white actress altering her hair and skin tone for the film when other actors culturally compatible with the role could’ve done it.
“A Mighty Heart,” 2007: Angelina Jolie played Mariane Pearl, the wife of kidnapped journalist Daniel Pearl. Pearl is a French-born woman of Afro-Cuban descent; Jolie appeared to darken her skin and alter her hair for the role. pic.twitter.com/LCl5E4urTK— I said… What I said 👀🍿 (@TonyaSaid) July 5, 2019
“A Mighty Heart” casting Angelina Jolie to play Mariane Pearl. #factcheckthat— Olivia A. Cole (@RantingOwl) January 4, 2015
It’s past time people got over who should play who! Do you know how many actors actually played characters of a different race? Liz Taylor, Rain Tree County, Natalie Woods- The West Side Story, Angelina Jolie- A mighty heart Laurence Olivier-Othelo, Yul Brinner King and I— DarlingNikki☔️👸🏾🤘🏾🐾🌊❤️💋 〽️ (@Nikilicious78) July 7, 2019
8. Emma Stone as a Chinese woman in Aloha
Emma Stone played a Chinese woman in the movie Aloha, which wasn’t well-received by audiences. People said neither did Emma look the part nor is it fit for white actors to be cast when the era has shifted and it’s no longer conservative.
Happy anniversary to this!— Liam Gareau (@liamgareau) February 28, 2021
Sandra Oh: “Crazy Rich Asians” is the first studio film with an Asian American lead since “Ghost in the Shell” and “Aloha.”
Emma Stone (from crowd): I’M SORRY! pic.twitter.com/LZcCMZfVpV
So… wait… was the exec expecting Julia Roberts to go full-on Blackface like Birth of a Nation OR just completely ignore the source material like Emma Stone in Aloha? I HAVE QUESTIONS!!! 🤯 https://t.co/q6wvH0C41y— W. Kamau Bell (@wkamaubell) November 20, 2019
9. Johnny Depp as a Native American in The Lone Ranger
Actor Johnny Depp received a lot of flak for portraying a Native American, ‘Red Indian’, in the film. People called the whole business ‘racist’ and ‘inappropriate’.
Can someone tell me whether we’re supposed to be offended by Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Tonto or not? Must know for dinner parties/twitter.— Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) June 17, 2013
it is the year 2021 and I am at a Halloween party where a white man is dressed as Johnny Depp’s Lone Ranger— haley 🌸 (@heyhaley_) October 31, 2021
Remember when we thought the Johnny Depp LONE RANGER wouldn’t age well because of the race stuff, as opposed to the cannibalism? Boy did we get got.— R.A. Bartlett (@rabartlett) January 15, 2021
It’s high time Bollywood and Hollywood filmmakers go beyond casting mainstream actors in roles that can help marginalized communities get a chance in the industry.