Rishi Budhrani: Dismissing Shrey Bhagarva’s Point Only Proves Him Right


Producer: So Rishi, we wanna cast you in a comedy sketch about a modern-day entrepreneur.

Me: Ok, interesting. Tell me more.

P: So, the business idea is that he sells

Me: Nuts?

P: Yea, like peanuts, groundnuts, some
Sugar-coated chickpeas etc.

Me: Ok.

P: And, he goes into the heartlands to sell these.

Me: Ok.

P: And he keeps moving from block to block selling these nuts.

Me: Keeps moving?

P: Yea, cos he sells the products out of a pushcart mah.

Me: Ok.

P: And as people go around, he calls out to them to asks them to buy his nuts.

Me: So, he sells peanuts out of a push cart, and calls out to customers to buy his peanuts?

P: Ya ya ya!

Me: Are you asking me to play a kacang putih man?

P: YAA!! It’s damn funny hor!!


The issue of minority typecasting is prevalent in showbiz all over the world.

Prevalent does not mean correct.
Is it with malicious racial intent?
Perhaps not.
Is it borne out of ignorance?
Is that an excuse? Definitely not.
Is it a reality? Most definitely.

I’ve discussed this issue openly on stage and online, and I’m sure most actors who do comedy, like Haresh Tilani from SG and Vivek Mahbubani from HK, have addressed it in some way or the other. But since it’s done through comedy, maybe people find it easier to digest these perspectives, OR maybe since it’s part of a comedy routine, they take it less seriously.

From his posts about this event, it seems like it was an epiphany for the actor, and probably an important one, that as actors, we all have a threshold and there are some roles you won’t do cos it doesn’t agree with your beliefs/principles and you feel that performing the character does more harm than good to yourself and your community. And It sounds like he has found that clarity of truth and choice, which are not just cornerstones of playing convincing characters, they are also the building blocks of being a human being.

An actor from a minority group in Singapore shared his discomfort and discontent about an audition and more importantly, if we can all pay attention, the state of affairs of minority representation in the media in Singapore.

Agree with him, or disagree with him, but please, let’s not vilify him or digress from
the issue he has raised by personally attacking him.

By doing any of those two things, we are doing nothing but proving the point- that the voice of the minority, whichever accent it may be in, will be drowned out if it’s not in agreement with the majority.


Me: Are you asking me to play a kacang putih man?

P: YAA!! It’s damn funny hor!!

Me: An Indian Kacang Putih seller as a stock character would’ve been hilarious in 1985.
But it’s not anymore. Cos it’s 2017.


Source: Rishi Budhrani

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