Bridgerton 2: What The Show Got Wrong About India – And What It Got Right

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Bridgerton 2 introduced two Indian characters – Kate and Edwina Sharma.

Season two of Bridgerton dropped amid much hype and anticipation last week and introduced two new characters – sisters Kate and Edwina Sharma, newly arrived in London from Bombay. Set as it is in an alternate historical universe where society was racially integrated, viewers were not surprised to see two desi women as society debutantes in Regency-era England. What did surprise many was the lack of research that the Netflix show put in before introducing two Indian characters. 

Between playing the ‘maruli’ (an instrument that does not exist), reading Ghalib (who was not yet writing at the time period the show is set in), and speaking ‘Hindustani’ – desi viewers found much to critique in the show. On Twitter, opinion varied as to what the worst offence was. 

“It’s difficult to pick a favourite clumsy Indian reference on Bridgerton2, but mine’s gotta be Edwina asking Anthony if he has read ‘Guhleeeb'” one Twitter user wrote.

The Ghalib reference, in fact, annoyed many. Author Shiv Ramdas pointed out that the renowned poet, who was born in 1797, would have been just 16 at the time period in which the show is set.

People also took issue with the pronunciation of Ghalib.

In the show, while espousing the many virtues of her sister Edwina, Kate says that she is fluent in both “Marathi and Hindustani” – another point that created a storm online. Given that Hindustani is not a term used colloquially, many viewers felt the show would have been better off avoiding it.

In the same scene, Kate says her sister plays an instrument called maruli. Viewers wondered if the showmakers meant to say “murali” or flute

There were many other inaccuracies that irked viewers

But some things the show did get right – fans were delighted to note Kate brewed her tea with elaichi (cardamom), the Haldi ceremony and more. The bonus, of course, was iconic Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham music playing in the background. 

Bridgerton, produced by Shonda Rhimes, is a period drama based on novels by Julia Quinn. The second season of the hugely popular show debuted on Netflix on March 25. It has reportedly been renewed for a third and fourth season. 

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