‘Ms. Marvel’ On-Point With Brown Representation
A writer who categorically misfits as 'Words are better than…
‘Ms. Marvel’ is the latest entry to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The first six episodes premiered on June 8th on Disney+ and it sure has us impressed.
With a non-conventional premise of a Muslim superhero Kamala Khan (Imam Vellani), the series already had high expectations pinned on it since the trailer. What makes it rather commendable is the on-point representation it brings to the big screens. It is a coming-of-age story but for a superhero obsession. When the character Kamala Khan mouths the dialogue, “It’s not really the brown girls from Jersey City who save the world,” it does highlight the skewed approach of the superhero tag reserved for the white male actors.
Kamala Khan the protagonist as a Pakistani-American teen not just represents her culture and religion on screen and also the internal conflicts she faces. ‘Ms. Marvel’ adds a perfect blend of diversity to MCU and appeals to thousands of South Asian and Muslim female fans who find a strongly relatable character. Even the subtle usage of Urdu phrases and words like Ammi, and Abbu in dialogues made us skip a beat way of incorporating culture into the story.
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The life of Kamala as a teenager and an immigrant Muslim gets well blended into the plot. Be it her obsession with Captain Marvel or living by the rules set by her overprotective parents, it touches upon the conflicts of normal teenagers. It also highlights the nuance of her religion holding her back and her struggle of breaking free from it, an extremely relatable point for many brown girls. Her superpowers are embedded into her family heritage. The way she finds it within the bangles of her grandmother will surely leave you with a smile and remind you of all the similar foraging you did as a kid.
Another feel-good factor that ‘Ms. Marvel’ gets right is through its music. The series has songs from AR Rahman, Coke Studio, Ritviz to ‘Jalebi Baby’ in the first few episodes itself. Special mention of ‘Ko Ko Korina’ a song from a Pakistani movie is played during the nuptials of Kamala’s brother Aamir. It is a 1966 song by Ahmed Rushdi and its original rendition has been used in the scene. There are references to Shah Rukh Khan as “No such thing as a bad Shah Rukh Khan movie,” and every desi would definitely jump in agreement. Also, with a cameo from Farhan Akhtar and Fawad Khan, Marvel Studios is really getting it right.
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For all the decades of misrepresentation and mistakes that Hollywood has made regarding South Asians while watching ‘Ms. Marvel’ we forgive them all.
We wouldn’t be exaggerating if we say ‘Ms. Marvel’ is here to represent. She is here to make brown teen girls believe. She is here to reiterate that they are not the only ones with the conflicts. And she is here to embrace the authentic.
A writer who categorically misfits as 'Words are better than actions'. Spilling thoughts on travel, food, and lifestyle to everything in between.