#BornConfused15: ‘There’s a Reason we Still Turn to Dimple Lala 15 Years After its Release’


 by Sarvat Hasin

The following post is part of an ongoing series by writers/authors in celebration of the 15th anniversary of the publication of Tanuja Desai Hidier’s landmark novel Born Confused, which is considered to the first ever South Asian American young adult novel (and in part inspired the creation of Brown Girl Magazine!)… as well as the 15th real-time birthday of Born Confused and award-winning sequel Bombay Blues heroine Dimple Lala. #BornConfused15

I read Born Confused the summer I was thirteen or fourteen. I was in London. I lived on library books those summers. I hung out with my parents and sometimes their friends and sometimes their friends’ children but mostly, I read. I found Born Confused during a casual browse of the teenage section, which I strongly believed I was growing too old for. One of those Julys, the library in Ealing was closed for refurbishment so they’d set up a temporary one behind the town hall, a single room with too many sharp corners, busy and dusty. The books weren’t curated as carefully. I read Lolita that year too, thinking the young girl with the red sunglasses on the cover would mean it was written for young girls who wore red sunglasses.

And then, somewhere in the stacks, I found Dimple Lala.

[Read Related: #BornConfused15: Tanuja Desai Hidier’s ‘Dimple Lala’ Opened Doors for Young South Asian Characters]

I had only a vague idea what the book would be about. I think maybe I knew what an ABCD was supposed to be but at the time, I felt distant from the term. I was a Pakistani who lived in Pakistan. What could Dimple possibly have to say to me? I sandwiched it between Nabokov and The Big Sleep, neither of which I would truly appreciate till much later in life. At home, I was determined not to get sucked in too quickly. I resented the idea that the protagonist of this book and I would have anything in common just because we were both brown. Back then, I disappeared into every book I read. Every young female narrator who had ever felt stranger than her friends or too bookish was my reflection. I was Matilda and that girl from Daddy Long-Legs and Lyra from The Golden Compass.

Twenty pages into Born Confused is the scene where Dimple goes shopping for a new outfit for her birthday. I can’t draw outlines to explain its significance: you either get it or you don’t. If you do, you’ve probably been here—sweating in a dressing room with your mother at the other end of the curtain, you trying to squeeze your body into a too-small pair of jeans in the hopes that this will transform you into a different woman: thinner, flatter, whiter. You dream you will emerge from the cocoon with the effortless cool of the girl you most love/hate at school. In the case of Dimple, that’s her best friend Gwyn. And the most cutting sentence in a scene that involves a salesgirl mistaking Dimple’s bra for a top and informing her the sizes she needs are much bigger, and in which Dimple herself compares her body to “a home for the whole country” on account of its apparently “harpoonable” vastness, actually comes from Dimple’s mother. In an attempt to comfort her distressed teenager, she says: “Stop trying to be something you are not.”

There have been enough essays written on teenage girls and their bodies that I don’t need to fill you in on the script: in short, either it’s models on magazine covers or Scarlett O’Hara being strung into her sixteen-inch waist. But at some point in their adolescence, most young women come across the idea that to be thin is to be desirable. In fact, it smacks most of us across the face around the same time we stop being able to eat a cheeseburger without getting any plumper. So: we are given two gifts at the same time. “Thin is good,” wrapped in a layer of “thin is getting less possible.”

With Dimple, with me, there was a third wrapper to this gift: whiteness. The glory of which was unachievable through dieting or exercise.

I wasn’t any more safe from it than she was, even in Karachi. Fair and Lovely [skin-whitening ]adverts glowed down at me from billboards. Paleness was the universal problem of the desi girl, so they sold whiteness to us in tubs. I might have had the great gift of growing up with other Pakistani girls, but this wasn’t sufficient protection. It seeped in like a poison without my really noticing it. Years before I read about Dimple, in games I played with my friends and cousins, I fixed myself under the cloak of imagination. Imaginary me was a mermaid or a witch but she also had green eyes, fair skin, lighter hair. My secret selves didn’t just want to slay dragons: they also wanted to be flawlessly white. There was no specific point in my life when I began wanting this. All I know is that by the time Dimple Lala came into my life—battling with her cultural identity, fretting that the boy she liked preferred her blonde, skinny friend–I already had my idea of a perfect woman and she looked far more like Dimple’s best friend Gwyn than she did like Dimple. Even if I achieved the sixteen-inch waist (spoiler alert: I never did!), I couldn’t switch out the facts about myself. The body I belonged in didn’t just need slimming and squeezing: No pair of jeans would stretch me taller or blanch me whiter. I was stuck in a body that would always be less than.

[Read Related: #BornConfused15: ‘Dimple Lala’s Search for Herself Mirrored my Experience as the Only Indian-American in my Small Town’]

All I know is that by the time Dimple Lala came into my life—battling with her cultural identity, fretting that the boy she liked preferred her blonde, skinny friend—I already had my idea of a perfect woman and she looked far more like Dimple’s best friend Gwyn than she did like Dimple. Even if I achieved the sixteen-inch waist (spoiler alert: I never did!), I couldn’t switch out the facts about myself. The body I belonged in didn’t just need slimming and squeezing: No pair of jeans would stretch me taller or blanch me whiter. I was stuck in a body that would always be less than.

Maybe it’s not surprising that I felt this way: we were fed a culture of slender pale figures. We worshipped Britney Spears, knowing the lines to every single song on Oops I Did It Again as well as we knew the Pakistani national anthem. We lapped up images of her low-slung jeans, her perfectly toned glossy body. Even the Bollywood heroines weren’t quite aligned with us, being mostly light-skinned and Caucasian looking.

And in the books I read, my summer companions, I wasn’t quite safe either. The girls were willowy, descriptions of their thinness, their milky skins, their rosebud lips abounded. Even when the main character struggled with her looks and was meant to be admired for her mind, she still fit into those parameters — just perhaps with a gentle tweak: crooked teeth or acne she could grow out of.

I’ll be honest. I thought we would, too. If you’d told me that ten years from then, that itchy feeling I had would not go away but continue to grow somewhere secret, a place where I could forget it existed until it was everything again, I don’t think I’d have believed you. Back then, I believed we would put away the skin lighteners, bleached hair, colored contacts, and desire to be mistaken for something, anything other than desi when we traveled abroad.

There have been moments of respite over the years. We have found more of our mates in literature, in movies. Mindy Kaling exists, conversations about diversity, about representation, began cropping up. But the issues are deeper rooted than that. Even where desi men take center stage, brown girls are an afterthought — a single date in Aziz Ansari’s otherwise fantastic Master of None, where only white girls are relationship material. A string of caricatures in The Big Sick, where Pakistani women in traditional clothing descend upon the lead character’s house in droves, with headshots of themselves in brown paper envelopes as if they have never heard of Facebook. These women aren’t people: they are just performances of the ethnicity he’s trying to escape.

I was hoping for a real look at what it means to date, to fall in love in a world where the standard of beauty is white. And I still think they could have achieved that without going too out of their way to disqualify brown girls as romantic prospects.

[Read Related: #BornConfused15: ‘Dimple Lala gave me the Lifeline I Needed in the Absence of Community’]

In Born Confused, Dimple’s wardrobe—her sequinned choli and lehengas, the bindis, the jewelry (all markers of a feminine identity she feels out of place with) — is plundered by her best friend. On Gwyn, these things don’t look old-fashioned. They are suddenly sexy, the way yoga is sexy when lithe white girls do it, the way doodh pati gets elevated to chai lattes, and so on. Gwyn’s body is more than just the ideal: it is transformative. It takes what is, to Dimple, hopelessly unappealing, and turns it desirable. It does (for the clothes) what Dimple was hoping the skinny jeans and hot pink militia pants would do for her body. Adds a sprinkle of fairy dust.

But Born Confused doesn’t leave us there. There’s a reason it’s still the book we turn to, 15 years after its initial release. Gwyn and Dimple struggle with their bodies, which are always in conversation with each other, their insecurities, their sense of self-worth. There is a boy, yes, who is the object of their desires. But more than that, there is the sprawl of the New York of the diaspora. Where the clash that Dimple feels in her identities is made physical: Bhangra nights and qawalis, where she doesn’t have to choose between kurtas and jeans. We are allowed to peer into how Dimple’s and Gwyn’s bodies translate between spaces, from their nearly all-white high school to the basement bhangra clubs. And Born Confused doesn’t tear down Gwyn’s attractiveness in order to highlight Dimple’s either. Nor does it fix either of the girl’s relationships with their bodies. It just broadens their awareness of it, of the homes they have — emotional and intellectual — that are more than their physical selves.

The stories I consumed as a teenager were aspirational. They existed to take me out of my narrow bedroom, to different cities, new lives and most painfully, a body that I could be happy to live in.

Dimple Lala was the first character who made me want to stay right here, in my own skin.


Sarvat Hasin was born in London and grew up in Karachi. She studied Politics at Royal Holloway and then Creative Writing at the University of Oxford. She is fiction editor at The Stockholm Review. Her first novel, This Wide Night, was published by Penguin Random House India and recently long-listed for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.

By Brown Girl Magazine

Brown Girl Magazine was created by and for South Asian womxn who believe in the power of storytelling as a … Read more ›

Op-Ed: An Open Letter to President Biden in Light of Prime Minister Modi’s Visit to the States

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit
The following open letter is written by Hindus for Human Rights, an organization advocating for pluralism, civil and human rights in South Asia and North America, rooted in the values of Hindu faith: shanti (peace), nyaya (justice) and satya (truth). They provide a Hindu voice of resistance to caste, Hindutva (Hindu nationalism), racism, and all forms of bigotry and oppression.

Dear President Biden,

As Indian-Americans, human rights organizations, and concerned allies, we are writing to urge you to engage publicly and meaningfully to push back against the Indian government’s escalating attacks on human rights and democracy, especially ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to the United States.

Despite objective evidence that India’s democracy is under critical attack, you have not spoken out about this crisis. In early 2023, Indian authorities conducted retaliatory raids on the BBC’s Delhi and Mumbai offices for releasing a documentary about Prime Minister Modi. The week before the Summit for Democracy, the Indian government made three successive attacks on Indian democracy. First, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party expelled Rahul Gandhi from Parliament. Second, the Indian government shut the internet down in Punjab, severely impacting the rights for Sikhs to peacefully organize and protest. And third, the Indian Supreme Court ruled that Indians can be found guilty by association for terrorism. And yet, not one representative from the Biden Administration said anything about even one of these developments. Instead, while Islamophobic violence gripped India in late March, you invited Prime Minister Modi to speak at the Summit for Democracy. Mr. Modi visits DC at a time when the state of Manipur has experienced heavy communal and anti-Christian violence after Modi’s ruling party pushed an initiative to undermine Indigenous rights in the state.

Even when confronted with questions by Indian reporters about human rights in India, your administration has only had private two-way conversations about how both of our governments can always improve. Quite frankly, we find it unacceptable to see such equivocation on Indian democracy from an administration that has been strident in its defense of American democracy and the rule of law. 

India is one of the fastest autocratizing nations in the world, mostly thanks to the current government. Freedom House has rated India as a “partly-free” country for the past three years, and has blamed Prime Minister Modi’s government for a rise in discriminatory policies, including persecution against Muslims and caste-based violence against Dalit and Adivasi communities; harassment of civil society, protestors, academia and the media, and the targeting of political opponents. It has also rated Indian-administered Kashmir as “not free,” citing violations of human, civil, and political rights after the Modi government revoked the territory’s autonomous status. In Reporters Without Borders press freedom ranking, India has dropped to 161 out of 180 countries in 2023. India has appeared in the Committee to Protect Journalists’ Impunity Indexwhich examines accountability for unsolved journalists’ murders — every year for the past 15 years and currently ranks in 11th place worldwide. According to PEN America’s Freedom to Write Index, in 2022, India was one of the top 10 countries that jailed writers globally. The Varieties of Democracy Institute characterizes India as an “electoral autocracy” and blames India’s descent into autocracy on Prime Minister Modi. And the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has said India has been one of the top 15 countries at risk for a mass atrocity event every year since 2017, which reflects the toxicity of Indian politics under Modi. 

Given the magnitude of this crisis, we ask you to engage directly with Indian-American and human rights civil society leaders to explore solutions to address India’s human rights crisis. We also ask you to employ the tools at your disposal to ensure that the Indian government cannot attack Indians’ human rights with impunity. As the 2022 Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor report details, several government individuals have committed human rights violations that, under U.S. law, would qualify them to be sanctioned under the Global Magnitsky Act. Indian security forces that have engaged in human rights violations should have security assistance rescinded, under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. 

Finally, we urge you to publicly call on the Indian government to honor its commitments to human rights, including calling on Prime Minister Modi and his cabinet to halt the use of anti-terror laws to arbitrarily detain political critics. You can publicly denounce the rising numbers of political prisoners and the weaponization of the rule of law in India to shut down criticism. Even if you are not willing to personally criticize the Prime Minister, you have ample opportunity to criticize the Indian government’s misuse of public trust and public institutions to consolidate power and undermine the will of the Indian people.

As President of the United States of America, you hold a unique position to lead the fight against authoritarianism. Prime Minister Modi will listen to you when you speak. But he and his allies will only change if you take a stand publicly. We urge you to listen to those of us who care about India and ensure that one man cannot steal the futures and the rights of our loved ones in India.

— Signed by countless organizations and individuals leading the charge (linked here).

‘Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani’: A Perfect K Jo Showcase Celebrating the Filmmaker’s 25 Years in Cinema

Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani

It’s always a flamboyant affair of colour, emotions and grandeur when Karan Johar directs a film, and his latest blockbuster “Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani” is as K Jo as it gets. After recently being recognised at the British House of Parliament for 25 years as a filmmaker, Johar is back to doing what he does best — bringing together families and star-crossed lovers, but this time with a modern touch. He makes a decent attempt at showcasing progressive ideals and feminist issues while taking us on this family-friendly ride.

“Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani” is a larger-than-life film revolving around the love story of a boisterous Rocky (Ranveer Singh) from a wealthy Delhi family, and Rani (Alia Bhatt), a sharp journalist from a progressive Bengali household. And of course, despite belonging to completely different backgrounds and lives, our protagonists, in true Bollywood fashion, fall hopelessly in love through a string of slow-motion gazes, warm embraces and some truly breath-taking song sequences in Kashmir’s snowy mountains. They are then forced to face their opposing families which brings along the family drama in the second half of the film.

The plot is not the film’s strongest point — there’s no real surprise about what’s going to happen next, and yet the film doesn’t fail to keep audiences engaged and pack an emotional punch. This is down to its strong acting, witty dialogues and K Jo’s classic, beautiful cinematography.

K Jo

Ranveer Singh sinks into the skin of his character with ease – not only does he make the hall burst into laughter with the help of perfectly-timed gags but he pulls off those dreamy gazes ,expected in K Jo’s heroes, to evoke that typical, fuzzy-feeling kind of Bollywood romance. Alia Bhatt’s intelligent and undefeated character is no less a pleasure to watch on screen — not only does she look breath-taking in every shot but her feminist dialogues earn claps and cheers from the audience as she brings a progressive touch to this family drama.

[Read Related: ‘The Romantics’: Revisiting the Legacy and Grandeur of Yash Chopra With Filmmaker Smriti Mundhra]

Albeit, while Bhatt’s dialogues do their best to steer this film to the reformist drama it hopes to be, some of Singh’s gags and monologues on cancel culture bring out bumps in the road. The film could have done better to reinforce its points on feminism and racism without using the groups it tries to support as the butt of jokes.

There is also a case to be made about how long these Punjabi and Bengali stereotypes can go on with often gawkish displays of Ranveer’s ‘dilwala-from-Delhi’ character among the overly-polished English from Rani’s Bengali family. But it is with the expertise of the supporting cast, that the film is able to get away with it. Jaya Bachchan in particular is as classy as ever on screen; the stern Dadi Ji holds her ground between the two lovers, while Dada Ji Dharmendra,  and Thakuma Shabana Azmi, tug at our heartstrings showing that love truly is for all ages.

K Jo Rocky aur Rani

Saving the best to last, it is the film’s cinematography that makes the strongest case for audiences to flock to the cinema. The soul-stirring songs steal the show with their extravagant sets and powerful dance performances that treat the audiences to the much-awaited cinematic experience of a K Jo film. While audiences may already be familiar with the viral songs, “What Jhumka?” and “Tum Kya Mile“, it was the family-defying fight for love in “Dhindhora Baje Re” that really gave me goosebumps.

Overall, the film does exactly what it says on the tin and is a family entertainer with something for everyone. It will make you laugh, cry, and cringe at times, but nothing leaves you feeling as romantic as some old school Bollywood with a mix of new school humour, in true K Jo form.

Stills Courtesy of Media Global House



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By Anushka Suharu

Anushka Suharu is a British Indian journalist, with a Masters in Interactive Journalism (City, University of London) and a BA … Read more ›

Meet Fashion Blogger and Media Star Dolly Singh

Dolly Singh
Dolly Singh

Dolly Singh is a content creator who is from South Delhi. She earned a bachelor’s in political science from Delhi University. Singh then attended The National Institute of Fashion and Technology. She even had her own blog called “Spill the Sass.” Fashion is a true passion for Singh as she made her outfit of the day debut on Netflix’s Bhaag Beanie Bhaagon. She has even appeared on Modern Love Mumbai Edition! Singh was awarded Cosmopolitan Blogger Award in 2021 and IWM Social Media Star in 2022. Continue to learn more about Dolly Singh’s journey!

[Read Related: Fashion Influencer Ritvi Shah on how to Nail Content Creation]


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What parts of your childhood pushed you into the world of content creation?

I have always been an introverted-extrovert kind of person. During my early teens I wouldn’t speak much at home but in school I was quite the talkative showgirl. When I look back it seems so paradoxical, almost as if I suffer from a split personality. Somehow my earliest childhood memories are of my loving to be on stage. I remember when I was in the 12th grade, I cajoled my teacher to include me in a singing competition since I had never ever sung live on stage and I was persistent in my effort for over 4-5 years and eventually she gave up and she said ‘okay its your last year why don’t you go do it ‘and of course in the process I realized what a bad singer I was. But just the sheer joy of being on stage, performing to a live audience and entertaining people is what stirred me at a deeper level. I think on the other hand my reserved side allows me to study people and their nuances and store all those observations in my memory data bank which helps me create great content. I wouldn’t speak much at home, but you know when I did, it was just 2 punch lines and everybody would either laugh or get awkward. I think I always knew that I was born to entertain, and it was my destiny’s calling. I would always get jealous seeing child actors on newspapers and television and I was like ‘oh my God, I am a child, and I could be an actor, living my dream life but I’m still stuck here’.

Do you feel what you do can inspire and impact the world? Please elaborate.

Of course, I think anybody with a decent following on social media has the potential to positively impact the community. Content creators enjoy a certain reach and it’s so important to handle that responsibility meticulously and the kind of message that you’re putting out needs to be respectful of certain socially expected parameters and mindful of the basic laws of the universe. It’s better to say nothing, then to say something stupid something that is going to just bring out the worst in people or send out misleading signals. I feel like the amount of content that audiences are consuming these days can trigger positive change if it’s done in the right manner. I feel strongly about a lot of topics, and I make sure that my platform is a reflection of that in some way. With content creators as opposed to film stars and celebrities, there is a direct engagement with audiences and a more one-on-one connection and hence content creators stand at a more leveraged position to influence audiences positively. I love body positivity as a topic.

Who were your fashion icons growing up?

Any fashion events that you envisage yourself at in the future to represent the brown renaissance? I think a lot of my inspiration came from the indie pop movement of the 1900s and the 2000’s. I started watching Hollywood movies and a lot of my inspiration started coming from the Bollywood Hollywood section in glossies and I made cutouts of the media, the models, the people. Then came Disney Channel and FTV and I used to watch those when my mom was away at work. I would love to represent India at the Paris, New York and London runways and walk for Indian designers who are using sustainable fabrics and indigenous designs and helping skilled artisans make a living in India. I love Madhu Sapre, Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Cindy Crawford.

As you started a style blog in college, what were some of your favorite pieces of clothing in your early years?

Yeah, it was called Spill The Sass. I love blogging on T-shirts because there are so many ways that you could style a basic white T-shirt. Another blog I enjoyed back in the day was 5 ways to style maxi skirts. If I had to choose two pieces of clothing it would be a T-shirt and jeans!

How has your style evolved over the years?

It’s evolved from minimalistic and pocket friendly to being experimental and qualitative. The more I visited fashion weeks and events, the greater I experimented with outfit ideas that I curated personally. Over the years, I’ve started leaning more towards keeping it classy, chic and comfortable.

Tell us about your favorite online character since you make a bunch of them?

My favorite online character of mine would be Raju Ki Mummy because it’s based on my own mother.

If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

I would love to collaborate with Jenna Marbles. I love her to death. I discovered her few years ago and I would love to meet her in person. I mean she’s just a person who if I meet, I will just start sobbing like a child.

[Read Related: Malvika Sitlani on Content Creation, Entrepreneurship and Womanhood]


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Have you faced adversity in your field? How have you risen from it?

Adversities are just an everyday fact of life but I like to believe my dreams and goals are bigger than my fears and setbacks. I know at the end of the day I want to be something; I want to give back and quitting isn’t the solution. Every time I face a creative block, I just tell myself this ‘get up and get to work, there are many who look up to you, you can’t disappoint them’. Also, the support from family, friends is nothing less than therapeutic especially when you’re having that typical bad day. I run towards therapy when I hit rock bottom, which happens quite often. We often feel burnt out, exhausted, tired, and just sad. I’ve been taking therapy for the last two years. It’s been beneficial. I’m not saying all my problems have vanished; that’s not how it works. It’s a continuous journey and a continuous process, but I think therapy is my mantra.

You recently turned into an entrepreneur with your own line of candles. Tell us more on what drove this decision and are there any other lifestyle products you will be launching?

As a creator I think it’s just natural to want to extend your brand trajectory to newer realms and not be stagnant in your growth path. It’s hard to gauge the shelf life of any creator considering there is stiff competition and there will be a sense of redundancy that seeps into the algorithm at some point. It’s always beneficial to expand your forte and explore multiple revenue streams is what I’ve gathered from so many interactions I’ve had with my industry peers over the past few years. There were many opportunities where people wanted to create merchandise of mine or partner on a fashion and accessory line but I wasn’t very mentally ready given my hectic schedules. I was a customer of Rad Living and after the pandemic I went into this zone of binge buying so much self-care stuff and you know candles was one of them. So when this came about I think I was ready to experiment and expand and was looking for an avenue to invest my energies on something enjoyable. I had already made a content piece on candles before this offer came my way so I had a list of quirky candle names, taglines for fragrances, matching the fragrance notes with the names. I think with this inning the whole ‘Creator’ part to me really came to use here as well and that’s what was exciting about this and it was funny because it was such ‘a life comes to a full circle’ moment for me. My mom was into candle making because Nainital at that point was known for its candles and she used to make such variety of candles, 100s of types of candles and all my life I mean the first 16-17 years of my life I’ve just seen my mom make candles at home and our house were full of wax and everything was just candles. My father used to sell candles and it was my family business. Let’s just say that I’m taking forward the family legacy and I’m very excited to go home and to my father’s shop in Nainital and put my candles there and sell them!

Will there be any lifestyle products you’ll be launching?

I was so nervous about this candle launch as I never wanted to mislead my audiences and have them indulge in something that’s mediocre. I really invested my heart and soul in this venture, and thankfully the response has been beyond phenomenal. Courtesy all the good word of mouth publicity, I’m thinking of maybe launching my own beauty and fashion line in about 2 years!

What have been your favorite content pieces that have you worked on this far?

I love most of my content pieces as I’m very particular about each one of them so it’s hard to pick a favorite. One of them is a mini film called Aunty Prem Hai and it’s about an orthodox lady finding out that her nephew is queer from his ex-boyfriend, and this is a first time reveal since the nephew has never come out of the closet. There’s also this series called How Aunties Talk About Sex, and I’ve given a twist to how old-timer desi Indians broach the topic of sex based on how I’ve seen my mother interact with her friends, post dinner conversations amongst relatives, and how it’s more like a taboo.

What are your favorite social media trends?

Anything that emits positivity and gratitude. It’s important that social media trends invoke a sense of intellectual enhancement. Anything that kind of teaches you something that enriches your existence or makes you want to live life more wholesomely. I also enjoy throwback trends, something to do with special memories and nostalgia, because I feel old school is always timeless.

Do you feel people are so trapped in social media that they forget about the world around them outside of their laptops, phones, and tablets?

Yes. Personally it’s been a task for me to get detached from technology and balance the real and the reel. In the last couple of years, I have consciously cut down on my screen time, even though it’s all work and no play for me. Social media is so omnipresent and it’s sometimes scary to see this crazy social media obsession where people forget there’s a real world out there with real people and you need to forge real connections that are deeply rooted in authentic exchanges. It’s scarier to see how social media trends have now become rules to live by for a more meaningful existence for many when on the contrary that shouldn’t be the case.

[Read Related: Filmi Nights: A Love Letter to Vintage Bollywood]

How do you feel about the term content creator?

It’s a word that invokes a sense of pride in me because for me it’s all about being innovative, authentic and self-made. Influencer on the other hand is something that doesn’t resonate with me because there’s no real job description. I’ve always maintained my stand of not being an influencer as I create content and make a living out of being creative and curating an audience for myself over the years.

As you’ve worked with Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Aayushmann Khurrana, and others do you hope to be more involved in Bollywood? Tell us about your acting projects.

Of course, I would love to be more involved in the film industry not just in India but globally too. I think there is so much scope for the South Asian community to make a mark in world cinema and it’s time we pick up more Oscars and Grammy’s in the coming times. Anyone who is a creator is also a film star at heart. 90% of creators who make sketches and skits are facing the camera 24×7, making original content, improvising on scripts and all of that stems from that innate ability to be great performers who can keep an audience engaged. I would love to someday have my own podcast where I interview film personalities and get into their skin. I love the dance and song sequences in Bollywood films, and I think I’d be great doing that as well! I’d love to see how I can get out of my comfort zone and do something that doesn’t directly relate to my online alias in the future. I got a lot of offers during the lockdown and shot for a film in 2022 which sees me in a leading role and I’m excited for it to launch later this year. I’m working on some writing projects as I would love to script a documentary or a short film.

Lastly, what do you hope to take away from this interview with Brown Girl Magazine?

I think the questions have been great. The questions have been answered in a way that I feel so confident about myself right now, and I feel so proud about myself and that says a lot. I would like to thank Brown Girl Magazine for taking time out to interview me. I hope this inspires the brown community across the world!

Photo Courtesy of Dolly Singh

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By Brown Girl Magazine

Born out of the lack of minority representation in mainstream media, Brown Girl Magazine was created by and for South … Read more ›