For the upcoming Bollywood movie Chaar Din Ki Chandni, producer/actor Tusshar Kapoor comments on “authentically” playing a character who pretends to be a Sikh in order to win the girl:
“I was more stressed than excited, as I did not want to hurt anyone’s sentiments. Therefore, I tried to be as authentic as I could,” said the 35-year-old [Kapoor].
The only way you can authentically play the role of a Sikh is to be a Sikh.
However, perhaps the authenticity lays somewhere else. As a non-Sikh himself, he shouldn’t have had any difficulty pretending to be a character pretending to be a Sikh.
Meanwhile, his role model for playing a sardar (“chief” – a term commonly used to address turban/bearded Sikhs) characters is none other than Sunny Deol, who has made a career of taking on Sikh articles of faith for movies:
“He is the real sardar, as the machoness and personality that is needed to portray a Sikh character comes easily to him,” he added.
I wasn’t aware that the definition of a “real” Sikh character needs a specific “machoness and personality” and most Sikhs would probably disagree with this assessment. However, India’s movie industry has consistently promoted their own concept of who the Sikhs are, and quite often to our detriment.