CHENNAI: Remember when Shah Rukh Khan added dollops of curd to his bowl of noodles, ‘as all Tamilians do’, in the movie Ra.One? And Deepika Padukone’s force-fit Tamil accent in Chennai Express? Absurd stereotypes about our city and its people have often been righteously portrayed as the ultimate truth. Chennaiites tell us...
Ashok Kumar, COO,
Chennai City Football Club
Stereotype: Why is the moustache and lungi always associated with Chennai?
Smashed: A lot of Maharashtrians sport a moustache and for them — thicker, the better. Likewise, men in Myanmar wear lungis that cost upto Rs 15,000. It’s their national attire.
Stereotype: All Tamilians living in Chennai are dark skinned.
Smashed: Not all of us are dark-skinned, and for those of us who are, we are not ashamed of it. Every community or race has its own traits, and so do we.
Boban M, Entrepreneur
Stereotype: The city is not safe for women.
Smashed: Compared to other metros, Chennai has the best police force. The public involvement in social emergencies is far better than other cities, where people might not even offer a helping hand.
Entrepreneur and film buff
Stereotype: The cuisine is restricted to idli-sambar, and that this is an unfriendly city.
Smashed: Chennai accommodates anyone from anywhere, absorbs their culture and cuisine into itself, and celebrates them as it does its own.
Shalini Visakan, Fashion designer
Stereotype: People think that Chennai lacks fashion sense.
Smashed: I want to promote inclusive fashion modelling and break the stereotype. Fashion is for everyone — all types of skin, body, age and gender. I would also like to break the cliché of size zero, and the so-called ‘perfect body’.
Vijay Kapoor, Founder, Derby
Stereotype: Chennai isn’t fashion forward.
Smashed: We are culturally rooted, but also add a dash of fashion and style in whatever we do. I have been working relentlessly to put Chennai on the fashion map of the world.
Kunga Tsering, Student
Stereotype: The locals are rude and uneducated.
Smashed: Everyone here is kindhearted and warm. The actions of one or two people should not lead us to stereotype the city as a whole.
Venkatesh Ramakrishnan, Author-historian
Stereotype: Madras is a TamBrahm town. People think our city is populated with
‘madisar’-wearing, carnatic-music singing mamis and mamas.
Smashed: We saw the real cross-section of the city during the jallikattu gatherings, didn’t we? Earlier, almost half of Tamil movies would be TamBrahm tales, but thankfully that’s not the case anymore.
Rohita Sivaramakrishnan,College student
Stereotype: People are not welcoming, and are narrow minded. Our Hindi accent is weird.
Smashed: From my personal experience of travelling to many other places, Chennai has been extremely positive. Traditional and rooted, yes, but we’re broadminded as well. There are many locals who speak Hindi without the ‘supposed accent’.
Githin Geo, Engineer
Stereotype: We follow only cricket and not any other sport.
Smashed: Most people don’t realise that there is a futsal court at almost every 10 km radius of the city. Yes, we are crazy about cricket, but we are also equally crazy about other sports.
Stereotype: Rajinikanth is the only Tamil actor. And that we only live off curd rice and sambar rice.
Smashed: We have many award-winning actors too. And no, we love eating north Indian and foreign cuisines. We have plenty of non-south Indian food-serving restaurants.
Ambika Ankit Agarwal,
The A-Cube Project
Stereotype: Chennai is devoid of anything interesting enough for a metropolitan.
Smashed: Chennai is the only metropolitan in India that boasts beautiful beaches, and is the only city without a nightlife curfew, and parties hard till 6-7 am. The city has the perfect pace, it’s safe, and people here are culturally inclined, too. Give namma Chennai a chance, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Sanobar Sultana, RJ
Stereotype: Every one is studious and that is why we have so many colleges, and end up studying all the time.
Smashed: We do know how to celebrate and live life. We do party, and have fun.
Phani Kumar, DJ, hip-hop teacher
Stereotype: Chennai is the hub of classical music and dance.
Smashed: There’s more to the music and dance scene here. We have different festivals that celebrate culture, art, and theatre. People should keep their eyes and ears open for these kind of fests and experience them.
Inputs by: aarthi murali, roshne balasubramanian, thushara ann mathew