On Thursday, Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma announced that she is making a comeback to acting after three years. Her next project is a sports biopic film. Titled Chakda Xpress, the film that is produced by Clean Slate Filmz is set to arrive on Netflix. The plot will revolve around the life and career of former cricket captain Jhulan Goswami, a decorated sportsperson in India. The announcement was met with a lot of excitement but fans couldn’t help but notice the casting misfire. They’re now questioning the decision of getting a light-skinned actress with brownface makeup to play a dusky-skinned Bengali woman.
In the teaser video of Chakda Xpress, Sharma appears significantly darker than she is. Donning a cricket jersey, she says a couple of lines in Bengali. In her announcement, the actress also shared the inspiration behind the biopic film and the significance of telling Jhulan Goswami’s story. And while the concept of the film is great by itself, fans aren’t impressed with the star’s look and accent.
It is a really special film because it is essentially a story of tremendous sacrifice. Chakda Xpress is inspired by the life and times of former Indian captain Jhulan Goswami and it will be an eye-opener into the world of women’s cricket. pic.twitter.com/eRCl6tLvEu
— Anushka Sharma (@AnushkaSharma) January 6, 2022
Netizens immediately stated the obvious.
— Hriday Shetty (@HridayShetty6) January 6, 2022
Anushka Sharma as Jhulan Goswami ? And even the Bengali accent is so fake. Why??
— Incognito (@Incognito_qfs) January 6, 2022
Nothing against Anushka, but casting her as Jhulan does injustice to the great lady. Jhulan’s tall, strong and imposing features make her stand out as a proper fast bowler. The laboured Bengali accent to make up for the lack of resemblance is painful to watch. https://t.co/GUGYnUAL7W
— cricBC (@cricBC) January 6, 2022
Given that Chakda Xpress is already in production, its unlikely that the makers will take note of the erroneous casting, although they should. This isn’t the first time an actress attempted brownface makeup to resemble Goswami, Aahana Kumra has shared a tribute on social media in which she appeared significantly darker. You can blame that on Bollywood normalising brownface over the decades. Here’s what went down and why we should learn from such incidents:
Cover image: Netflix, Twitter