The Indian representation is one of the obvious reasons Bridgerton Season 2 is such a hit right now. The Netflix original Bridgerton series, despite taking place in Regency-era England, promotes racial (and cultural) inclusion without being colorblind.
With prominent black characters like Simon Bassett, Queen Charlotte, Lady Danbury, and Marina Thompson in season 1, the trend got started. By introducing Kate and Edwina Sharma to the imagined world of the Bridgertons, the second season of the show accomplishes the same goal. Is the season’s depiction of culture and history fictional as well, though? Find out now!
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What Went Wrong
The Startling Baap Re
When Kate Sharma and Anthony Bridgerton engaged in an impromptu horse race, Kate Sharma’s season-opening line was “Baap Re!” The exclamatory Hindi expression “oh father” is part of contemporary Indian slang. Given the manner in which people spoke at the time, it is impossible that the phrase was used in the middle of the 1800s. It is also unrealistic and unsettling to see a sophisticated woman like Kate Sharma using such slang.
The Ethnic Origins
The Sharma sisters from Bombay, who speak the Indian languages of Marathi and Hindustani, are introduced in season two. These specifics suggest that the family is Marathi, which confounds the distinctly North Indian name Sharma. The sisters call their late father by the term “appa,” which is common in South Indian languages. Additionally, Kate frequently refers to her younger sister as bon, which is Bengali for sister. Even worse, when introducing her sister’s skills in a scene, Kate pronounces the musical instrument murali as maruli!
These facts suggest that the series’ creators either created a fictional ethnicity to exploit the ignorance of western consumers or were frantic to include a component from every region of India. The season, however, was unable to withstand the critical scrutiny of the Indian public, which takes seriously how it is represented.
The Standard Indian Tea
While the show features a number of afternoon teas, Kate makes it clear that she abhors English tea. She may also be seen savouring her masala chai—a traditional Indian tea—that is flavoured with cardamom, cloves, peppercorns, and milk. There is a flaw that the series ignores, despite the fact that it perfectly represents modern India’s love of tea.
Around the middle of the 1830s, British tea estates first appeared on the Indian subcontinent, but masala chai didn’t enter popular culture until much later. Since the official Regency era ended in 1820, the introduction of tea to India does not fit with the date of the television series. It was impossible for Kate or any Indian of the era to even pretend to be knowledgeable about British tea!
What Went Right
The Medical Practices
Mr. Dorset mentions Indian medicinal procedures in Season 2 Episode 5 and how the west can learn a lot from them. India is the origin of surgery and has a lengthy Ayurvedic medical tradition (an alternative medicine system). In this instance, the series’ creators did a good job of capturing the nation’s origins.
The Haldi Ceremony
Indian followers have been ecstatic to see the Haldi ceremony in the series since the Season 2 trailer was released. Most Indian weddings follow the well-known pre-wedding tradition of the haldi ceremony. A ceremonial turmeric paste is used as a beauty treatment on the bride during this occasion. On the traditional version of Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, Kate and Mary in the series celebrate Edwina’s Haldi ceremony before her wedding to the Viscount.
The Brass Accents And Jewelry
The Sharma family fully embraces British culture in the Bridgerton universe. Consequently, their clothing follows the high society fashions of Regency century London. However, the designers include aspects of their Indian heritage into some of their jewellery. The Sharma sisters frequently don delicate jhumkas (bell-shaped earrings). The ethnic bangles that Kate’s mother wears play a big part in the narrative. The shining brass accents and antiques are notable components that exhibit Indian aesthetics in addition to the jewellery.
The Bollywood-Esque Wedding Drama: (Major Spoilers)
There are further Indian elements in Bridgerton Season 2 besides just the language, culture, and aesthetics. Perhaps the most visible and relatable element that brings to mind a classic Shahrukh Khan movie is the Bollywood-style wedding drama. Kate and Anthony exchange passionate eyes with one another during Edwina’s wedding. The vows are broken as Kate fidgets nervously with her bracelets, causing a sudden drop.
Bollywood movies from the early 2000s frequently used dramatic cinematography. The fleeing bride, which also occurs later in the play, was a popular touchstone before the iconic bangle-drop took its place. You could find yourself mentally playing the Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham soundtrack because the Bollywood influence is so strong. Though very entertaining, these theatrical elements are excellent for amusing the Indian audience.
The Bridgerton series deserves praise for delivering a pleasing narrative, direction, acting, and visuals while including a variety of hues and ethnicities. Season 2’s cultural depiction gave the impression that it was being given by non-resident Indians, which projected an unreliable picture. To keep the series’ magical tone without being too realistic, it makes sense why the creators chose not to discuss British colonisation in India at the time. However, it would have been intriguing if the show had managed to bring up the subject, just as it had done so gently with respect to racism in season one. However, it’s fascinating to watch Shondaland’s attempts to include Indian representation and how they envision the culture during the Regency era. Despite everything, Season Two of Bridgerton is a visual treat and a must-watch!
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