The diversely talented Indian actress Priyanka Chopra is now being cited by fans as the actress who should play Marvel’s brand-new upcoming female lead, Kamala Khan.
Kamala Khan is a character inspired by Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) who made her debut in 2013 as a fan of the latter. Later she starred in her very own comic book; she is a Pakistani-Muslim superhero who took on the name “Ms. Marvel” after discovering her polymorphic superpower.
Requests for the casting of Priyanka Chopra for this role started pouring in not long after Marvel announced Ms. Marvel would be getting her own film soon:
The response was almost unanimous:
Almost, but not quite…
Some people thought the wrong Indian actress was being put forward:
Many others had a problem with the significant disparity between the superhero’s age in the comics and Priyanka Chopra’s age:
A lot of people, unsurprisingly, had an issue with how an Indian non-Muslim is being lauded as the perfect candidate to play a Pakistani Muslim’s role, instead of someone who actually is a Pakistani and/or a Muslim.
While both put forth a good point, the decision is a confusing one. Lately there have been a lot of examples of Indians playing Pakistanis and vice versa, for example, Katrina Kaif’s role in ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ as a Pakistani spy; however, this became quite a controversy and screening of the movie in Pakistan was banned altogether.
It is undeniable that wherever Pakistan and India are concerned, opinions vary far and wide.
It is also an undeniable fact that perhaps because of the bad blood between the two countries, debaters may take such issues too seriously, ignoring the fact that interchangeability during the casting process is quite common:
As for the Muslim aspect, naturally, we will always have to see a healthy dose of prejudice from an unenlightened participant eager to get his or her uniquely banal view across:
Well, good luck to Priyanka Chopra! What with her role in a show like Quantico, the movie Baywatch, and many diverse roles in various Indian films, a lot of people have piled some heavy expectations on her abilities to act out any sort of role, even as a Marvel superhero lead.
All in all, with the demands for cultural and religious authenticity for Ms. Marvel’s character, this might be a weighty casting decision for Marvel.