Cool her down, she’s feeling so exotic. Actress Priyanka Chopra, who lends her husky vocals to the character of Ishani (a “sexy Asian champion plane” — cringe!) in Disney’s upcoming animated flick, Planes, told stateside reporters that she had no problem being labeled “exotic” while simultaneously expressing the need for “keeping it real.” Pick a side, darlin’. [The New York Daily News]
Unfair and lovely. India’s centuries-old obsession with skin-lightening — most recently endorsed by King Khan — is not exactly a secret. So we applaud actress Nandita Das for launching an overdue “Dark is Beautiful” campaign and salute writer Elizabeth Segran for her nuanced take (warts and all!) on the Subcontinent’s perplexing relationship with “fairness.” [The Atlantic]
Bombay or Bushwick? “Why is it that anywhere you travel in the world these days, you’ll still find you’re in Brooklyn?” claims the latest edition of New York magazine’s Approval Matrix. They might as well have been referencing Mumbai, epicenter of the “desi hipster” phenomenon. We love this tongue-in-cheek guide to Indian counter-culture, with suggestions that include everything from “be born into privilege” to “play the didgeridoo.” [Mumbai Boss]
Lady in black. Burka Avenger, a groundbreaking Pakistani cartoon that’s grabbed the attention of everyone from NPR to Fox News (Sidenote: trust India to feel left out and publish this list of mediocre counterparts) is also garnering its fair share of critics who claim the show is “oppressive” for its super-heroine’s disguise of choice: a veil. We can’t help but echo Faiza S. Khan, an editor at Random House, India, when she says, “no one, as far as I know, applies a similar level of scrutiny to Pakistani children watching Wile E. Coyote to extrapolate that they’re being inspired to plant explosives.” [The Daily Beast]
Never forget. It’s been a year since the gut-wrenching gurudwara shootings in Oak Creek, Wisconsin but filmmaker Valarie Kaur is determined not to let the tragedy fade from our national consciousness. The exceedingly articulate storyteller and advocate (who was even given a recent Facebook shout-out from the Big B himself!) created Oak Creek: In Memoriam, a poignant short film, to commemorate the somber occasion. A must-watch. [Upworthy]
Aarti Virani is an arts and culture writer based in Hoboken, New Jersey. She has written for publications including Vogue India, The Wall Street Journal and Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @aartivirani.