Bridgerton's South Asian Details Are Giving Us All The Feels

Gold jewellery, a tel malish (head massage) and the sound track to Khabi Kushi Khabi Gham? Yes, please.
People are loving the Sharma family
People are loving the Sharma family

Bridgerton’s great return to Netflix was met with much excitement and anticipation – season two promised two new faces, specifically two South Asian faces, to the regency drama.

The introduction of sisters Kate Sharma, played by Simone Ashley of Sex Education fame, and Edwina played by Charitha Chandran, was met with much applause, as we’re seldom exposed to Indian representation on mainstream TV.

And the level of detail afforded to their characters hasn’t gone unnoticed by audiences.

We’ve been treated to Hindi terminology including ‘didi’ meaning sister, a tel malish whereby an elder lovingly massages oil onto the hair, a haldi ceremony (where turmeric mixed in oil and water is applied to the bride), and plenty of gold jewellery and embroidery on dresses, reflective of attire popular among South Asian communities.

And who can forget the dulcet acoustics of the Khabhi Kushi Khabi Gham soundtrack – one of the highest grossing Indian movies of all time?

Though some have pointed out the flattening of many Indian cultures into one (referring to a father as appa wouldn’t be common across many Hindi-speaking families, for example), others have pointed out how refreshing it is to see some representation.

The fact that Kate and Edwina are two dark-skinned Indian women, which even Bollywood fails to employ, also won much praise, especially as their identities aren’t used as a point of conflict.

Seeing them as beautiful, desirable leads is certainly refreshing to many.

This representation also means a lot to Chandni Sembhi, a producer, 24, from Slough.

She tells HuffPost UK: “While the representation wasn’t perfect (I’d have loved to see Edwina with some bridal henna), I do think we have come a long way with South Asian representation.

“Seeing Kate massage oil into Edwina’s hair was something I would not have imagined seeing in Western media even a few years ago. Aside from those really touching references to South Asian culture, it was such a refreshing and welcomed change to see a darker-skinned South Asian woman being portrayed as a desirable character – especially when Bollywood still has so far to come in addressing colourism.”

Sempbhi also appreciates that these roles are not identity-conflicted.

“Kate’s conflict in the series didn’t come from the colour of her skin, which can be a trope for a lot of non-white characters in Western media, and it was really lovely seeing a South Asian woman get to have a storyline where race wasn’t her entire personality.”

Let’s hope we see more of it.