The Big Bang Theory vs Madhuri Dixit. What really happened?

'The Big Bang Theory' vs Madhuri Dixit. What really happened?

‘The Big Bang Theory’, an extremely popular Emmy award winning American comedy sitcom, which aired its final episode on May 2019, is making waves in India once again. Though, for all the wrong reasons and for not being even remotely funny as the comedy show is known for.

Instead, the show has landed in a controversy for a “derogatory” remark, made in one of its episodes aired many years ago, against Bollywood diva Madhuri Dixit. The 12 seasons of this show is currently streaming on Netflix.

A fan dashes off a legal notice

The row started when a political analyst, Mithun Vijay Kumar, (not Madhuri Dixit as reported in some newspapers) dashed off a legal notice to streaming giant Netflix asking them to remove an episode in the series aired in 2008, in which Madhuri Dixit is being referred to as a ‘leprous prostitute’.

In the legal notice, Vijay Kumar, had asked Netflix to remove the first episode of Season 2 of ‘The Big Bang Theory’. It is in this episode that one of the characters, Raj Koothrapalli played by Kunal Nayyar, a British actor of Indian descent and another character, the socially awkward Sheldon Cooper, who is played by Jim Parson discuss Bollywood films.

During the conversation, they end up comparing Aishwarya Rai with Madhuri Dixit.

In the scene, Sheldon Cooper calls Aishwarya Rai a poor man’s Madhuri Dixit. In a quick comeback, Raj Koothrapalli responds saying, “Aishwarya Rai is a goddess, by comparison, Madhuri Dixit is a leprous prostitute”.

Also read: Legal notice sent to Netflix for Big Bang Theory episode on Madhuri Dixit

Vijay Kumar, who apparently saw this episode recently, shot off a legal notice to Netflix. He slammed the character in ‘The Big Bang Theory’ for a “highly offensive and derogatory” term to refer to a legendary Bollywood actress. “As a fan of Madhuri Dixit since childhood, I was deeply disturbed by the dialogue,” he tweeted, and later in his letter to Netflix said that it was “deeply hurtful” and also showed a lack of regard for her dignity”.

The “insensitive” comment also promotes sexism and misogyny, he wrote, which is unacceptable in any form.

“It is important to hold companies like Netflix accountable for their actions and to ensure that they are sensitive to the cultural values and sentiments of the communities they serve,” he added.

Why now?

One Twitter user criticised Kumar for sending a legal notice to Netflix. “So, Mr. Mithun Vijay Kumar, it’s okay that you took 15 years to notice this derogatory comment, but the question here is that the Production House should be held liable as it is not a Netflix Original series. Why send a legal notice now and that too to Netflix?,” the user asked.

Also the user questioned him why an actress of the stature of Ms. Madhuri Dixit has not taken any action despite of the comment being made on her.

“Why is it that a political analyst has now woken up to send a notice? These are all rational and logical questions which anyone would have,” said the user.

‘The Big Bang Theory’, a CBS sitcom was created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady and premiered in 2007. The show focused on socially awkward friends Leonard, Sheldon, Howard, and Raj, whose lives are impacted, when a free-spirited actress Penny moves into an apartment across their hall.

The show was a big success for its acerbic wit and clever one-liners but it also had a fair amount of sexual innuendo and stereotyping of geeky men and dumb blondes.

Jaya Bachchan calls actor insane and foul-mouthed

Meanwhile, actor and MP Jaya Bachchan too has turned her ire on the actor (not on the makers of the series) Kunal Nayyar calling him “insane” and said that he has a “badi gandi zubaan hai (he is foul-mouthed). She also added that Nayyar needs “to be sent to mental asylum,” and his family should be asked what they think of his comment. Meanwhile, neither Netflix nor Madhuri Dixit have made a comment on the issue.

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