Stereotypes in “The Love Guru”

A movie that I watched in high school that really supported the stereotypes on Hindus was “The Love Guru”. The first thing that I noticed when I saw this film was that Mike Myers played yellow face portraying a Southern Asian “love guru”. Throughout the movie there are several stereotypes of Hindus that are portrayed over and over again. There are some specific parts of the film that try to show that it is just satire, but this is not enough for the American audience that it was meant for.

Although yellow face has decreased in popularity due to its criticism, there are instances such as this film that use it for comical purposes. It is degrading and in this case not one bit funny. Mike Myers wears a stereotypical mustache a long beard throughout the film. He also wears what is supposed to be Indian dressing and using a slight accent. The director, Mike Myers, did not do anything to the color of his skin, which can be seen as respectful to some but to others can be seen as disrespectful to Indian actors. It shows that they did not want someone not “white” enough and that an actual Indian was not good enough for this film. What was supposed to be funny turned into an insult to people who are actually of Indian descent.

The most insulting part of this film is that it is layered with stereotypes of Hindus. They try to make them seem foreign and unable to operate in American society. One example of this is the way that Mike Myers travels around. In the airport he is riding a vibrant pillow on the ground. This reinforces the stereotype of Southern Asian and Middle Eastern people being magical and very foreign. This stereotype can also be seen in the Disney film “Aladdin”. When he finally does get to America, his choice of transportation is an elephant. It is ridiculous and can actually fool less informed viewers into thinking that Indian people only walk around on elephants as transportation. They go on and make fun of many sacred traditions and terms used in Hinduism. This ranges from the dress that is used to the music. One big stereotype that I did not like was that the movie made it seem as though all people that practice Hinduism are not good with girls and have not had sexual relations. It would take pages to really expose the many problems and stereotypes with this film, but those are some of the major ones.

Some might say that this film is really just trying to use satire, but it does not use it appropriately. A couple things that I noticed, aside from all references to Hinduism, was that they chose an African American as the hockey player and a midget as the big business man. These are two stereotypes in America that are used in many other films as well. This film degraded and lampooned Hinduism to the point where is was completely inappropriate. Thankful many critics and viewers rejected this film and the racism that was incorporated into it.

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One thought on “Stereotypes in “The Love Guru”

  1. I agree this movie was very problematic–you do a good job of addressing some of these issues. What did you think of the portrayals from a perspective of intersectionality?

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