The culture section is the heartbeat of The Juggernaut. Here, you’ll find journalism that explores everything from how “Welcome to India” became the Brown internet’s first joke to how Black TikTok creators are paying homage to Bollywood.
We especially love digging into the intersection of South Asian stories with other non-Western cultures. Think: why Nigerians love Bollywood, how Korean dramas crash-landed on South Asian screens, and the rise of Russian literature in Sri Lanka. We've also profiled several cultural icons, from Padma Lakshmi to Amitav Ghosh to Mira Nair to Riz Ahmed.
Why it matters: Mainstream media has long failed to examine the contribution of Brown stories to global culture at large. We’re here to change that. We dig deep to answer: why are we the way we are today? Our culture reporting span the U.S., Canada, England, Australia, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, the Maldives, and many more.
Revisiting ‘Born Confused,’ 20 Years Later
A surprise pitch meeting with Scholastic landed Tanuja Desai Hidier her first book deal. Her 2002 young adult novel became a sensation.
How Anti-Asian Bias Came to U.S. Colleges
The playbook is reminiscent of 1920s anti-Semitic admissions policies. A recent Supreme Court case could not only end the practice, but also throw out affirmative action.
‘Bombay Dreams’ Was Supposed to Open Doors for South Asian Musicals
But it will be nearly 20 years before audiences will see others, such as ‘Life of Pi’ and ‘Come Fall in Love,’ grace Broadway — the biggest theater industry in the English-speaking world.
The Tragic Love of Princess Diana and Hasnat Khan
How the “people’s princess” and a British Pakistani doctor met, fell in love, and fell apart just weeks before her final days.
How the West Deemed Eating With Your Hands “Uncivilized”
And why the practice persisted in South Asia anyway.
How ‘DDLJ’ Went From Screen to Stage
The cast and crew break down what it means to change beloved elements of Aditya Chopra’s 1995 Bollywood blockbuster — but still keep its spirit alive.
Reminder: The British Still Have Our Art
The Royal Collection remains one of the largest troves of South Asian art, much of it stolen.
Nose Rings are Not Just Ornaments for the Diaspora
As nose piercings become popular in the West, South Asians in the diaspora grapple with preserving their cultural symbolism.
Why the West is Afraid of Color
The colorful (and enraging) history of how neutrals and monochrome became the preferred Western aesthetic.
‘House of the Dragon’ Director Geeta Vasant Patel Breaks Down Episode 8
The “Lord of Tides” director discusses her favorite scenes, how she got the gig, and what’s next for the epic fantasy series.
Haters Tried to Silence Maulik Pancholy. He Got Louder.
With his latest novel, ‘Nikhil Out Loud,’ the actor and author gives young readers the stories he wished he had growing up.
The Battle for the Bill
“I’ve seen people pull credit cards out of each other’s hands, yell at each other while our server is standing there, and then go home quietly. There’s no shame.”
What Happened to Zayn?
Despite being the first One Direction member to go solo and release a popular debut album, the pop star has fallen off the charts and out of the spotlight.
The Call of Niagara Falls
How did the roaring waterfalls become an essential stop in the South Asian immigrant experience?
What the Koh-i-noor Really Represents
As South Asians worldwide clamor for the diamond’s return, they risk losing something far more critical.
‘Come Fall in Love’ Review: Fun, But No ‘DDLJ’
The upbeat musical is entertaining but will leave fans of the 1995 Bollywood classic sorely disappointed.
Why More South Asians Are Rejecting Marriage
Though South Asians are among the most likely to be married, singles are increasingly ditching age-old expectations and rewriting what relationships and commitment can look like.
The Rise of South Asian Studies in U.S. Colleges
College students are increasingly tapping into their heritage not just at home but also at school. But access and resources aren’t always equal.
Does the Diaspora Novel Need an Update?
Despite diverse South Asian stories and authors, publishers keep seeking out the same narratives.
The Endless Frustration of South Asian Hair Loss
For a culture that has long revered long, thick hair, community members are finding that traditional hair care rituals and advice are falling short.
The Disappearing Sweets of Bengal
The region renowned for its sweet tooth endured multiple conflicts and divisions, losing many of its creative mishti-making traditions in the process.
The Fight to Teach Partition in the West
Despite significant South Asian populations, U.S., U.K., and Canadian schools rarely teach students about one of the largest and deadliest mass migrations in history.
How ‘Garm Hava’ Reframes the Partition Narrative
Instead of focusing on the traumatic events of Partition, the 1974 M.S. Sathyu film provides a searing look at what happened after.
How A.R. Rahman Makes Hit After Hit
The composer breaks down why chart-topping success doesn’t tell the full story of the magic behind his music.
The South Asians of OnlyFans
Thousands of South Asian creators have found sexual and economic empowerment on the X-rated platform — yet their work is shrouded in shame.
Hrithik Roshan and His Lucky Thumb
How one of the biggest Bollywood stars in the new millennium almost didn’t happen.
The Evolution of South Asian Tattoos
How henna and Sanskrit tattoos became “trendy,” and the South Asian artists reclaiming them.
Why the South Asian Diaspora Loves the Evening Walk
The sacred after-dinner tradition persists even as many South Asians rarely participate in other forms of exercise.
How ‘Ms. Marvel’ Put Partition on Screen
We spoke to the team behind the show’s episode on Partition — a historical event seminal to South Asians, yet rarely depicted in Hollywood.
How Hare Krishnas Took Over the World
The unlikely story of an Indian missionary who landed in 1960s New York City and sparked a contentious global movement.
How Puberty Ceremonies Went the Way of Indian Weddings
South Asian coming-of-age events are becoming extravagant, multi-day affairs, complete with a major — and some argue, unnecessary — price tag.
Is South Asian Bridal Makeup Too Expensive?
TikTok has been aflutter with brides sharing what they believe to be “the biggest scam” in the wedding industry.
How Bhut Jolokia, the Ghost Pepper, Took Over the West
Dubbed the hottest pepper in the world in 2007, the unique northeastern Indian chili became a tempting challenge for Western palates. But what got lost in the process?
The Return of the Unibrow
A growing movement of young South Asians is rebelling against Western beauty standards by regrowing and reclaiming their unibrows.
How Bollywood Fashion Went From DIY to Designer
Hindi films have long been a source of fashion inspo, but stylists — from Manish Malhotra and Sabyasachi to Arjun Bhasin and Anaita Shroff Adajania — have changed the game both on- and off-screen.
Why South Asians Often Have Multiple Birthdays
Sure, two birthdays means double the cake, but for some, it’s also a reminder of a turbulent past.
The Evolution of Karan Johar’s Queer Eye
What has driven the filmmaker’s increasingly nuanced portrayals of LGBTQ characters?
‘Chutney Popcorn’ Reimagines Family and Motherhood
Nisha Ganatra’s 1999 film about a lesbian artist who becomes a surrogate for her sister remains ahead of its time.
Why “Best Of” Lists Often Overlook South Asian Cuisines
But as these restaurants and chefs rack up recognition and business from ardent fans, do mainstream accolades even matter?
KK Gave Us the Soundtrack to Our Own Movies
The Indian singer gave us the ability to revisit our first heartbreaks, our first joys, our first goodbyes, just by hitting play.
You Don’t Know Jay Sean
For two decades, the British artist had a carefully curated image. Then, he got on TikTok.
How an Unusual Calendar Became a Symbol of Indian Culture
Fifty years since its inception, Kalnirnay has become an essential household tool and a point of connection for the diaspora.
Northeastern Actors are Finally Getting Their Shot at Bollywood Stardom
Streaming platforms have led to more regional cinema, diverse storytelling, and long-awaited opportunities for northeastern actors. Will mainstream Hindi cinema follow?
Dismantling the Brown “Glow-Up”
The concept of getting hotter with age — also known as “glowing up” — isn’t new, but South Asian TikTok influencers question what this trend really celebrates.
Revisiting ‘Fauji,’ the Genesis of King Khan
Thirty years since Shah Rukh Khan’s silver screen debut, we reexamine the dreadful show with a star-making performance.
Met Gala 2022: New South Asian Looks, Familiar Problems
Celebrities including Simone Ashley, Riz Ahmed, Mindy Kaling, and Prabal Gurung walked the red carpet. But industry insiders say that the annual fundraiser isn’t as glamorous as it might seem.
Kevin G. Was Ahead of His Time
‘Mean Girls’ used the mathlete and badass M.C. for comedic relief, but ultimately he gets the last laugh.
Meera Syal Refuses to Be Disappointed
The star of 'Goodness Gracious Me' and 'The Kumars at No. 42' brought audiences unapologetic portrayals of South Asian womanhood — and she's just getting started.
Irani Bakes Spread Through India. Now, They’re Disappearing.
As Parsi cafés shutter, Irani bakes that have become teatime staples — from mawa cake to nankhatai — are at risk of vanishing, too.
‘Beast’ Proves the Theatrical Timepass is Alive and Well
The hit Tamil-language film with superstar Vijay shows that Indian movies don’t need to be good to be a great time and succeed at the box office.
The “Tacky NRI Fashion” Debate is About More Than Style
Allegations that diaspora Indians wear “tacky” Indian fashion sparked internet fury on Instagram account Diet Sabya. But the root of the debate isn’t about fashion at all.
Parminder Nagra Should Have Been a Superstar
'Bend It Like Beckham' turned Keira Knightley and Jonathan Rhys Meyers into overnight celebrities — so why didn’t it do the same for its British Indian stars?
‘Roar’ Uses Outrageous Plots to Highlight Outrageous Truths
In Apple TV+’s new series, Meera Syal of ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ brings laugh-out-loud comedy to thought-provoking satire as the “woman who returned her husband.”
How 'RRR' and 'Baahubali' Raised the Bar for the Indian Blockbuster
Filmmaker S.S. Rajamouli has achieved the Hollywood blockbuster effect — using large budgets for even larger box office payoffs — by turning Indian folklore and the freedom struggle into must-see epics.
The Queer Legacy of ‘Bend It Like Beckham’
The film bent the rules so that others could break them. We examine its impact 20 years later.
Simone Ashley on Who Gets to Be Seen as Sexy and Desirable
The Bridgerton star chats about shifting narratives, *that* haldi scene, and why she keeps her Kate Sharma-inspired playlist close to her chest.
Arooj Aftab Creates Music As if it Were a Living Thing
The Grammy-nominated artist leans into intuition, experimentation, and improvisation to make music that isn’t meant to be a quick hit, but something deeper.
How Cartier Built an Empire by Claiming Indian and Islamic Art as its Own
From its Tutti Frutti collection to bejeweled cases, the French luxury jewelry house has long appropriated Eastern influences, calling it aesthetic exchange.
Bridgerton Season 2 Will Leave You Breathless and Screaming for More
Netflix’s highly anticipated Regency-era romance is back with new South Asian characters, but a familiar problem.
Meet the Indian Family Behind Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations
Since 2019, an emerald dye from Chemworld International has been a key part of one of the country’s most unique Irish traditions.
What Sarita Choudhury Wants You to Know About ‘And Just Like That’
The actor sat down to chat about her favorite scenes from the show, the Diwali episode, and how she never had a ‘Mississippi Masala’ for herself.
How Maggi Created a Generation of Experimental Cooks
The iconic instant noodles packet turns 40 in India, its biggest market, this year. Here’s how Maggi, despite a 2015 ban in the country, reshaped snacks and meals forever.
Are Love is Blind’s Deepti and Shake a Classic Case of Internalized Racism?
The reality show’s Indian couple has lit up the internet after professing to previously dating only blond(e)s, their attraction fizzling days after their engagement.
How South Asians Fell in Love with Tennis
Though no Grand Slam singles champion has emerged from the subcontinent, the sport has created superfans in both the diaspora and the homeland.
Lata Mangeshkar: The Voice of the Nation, In Good Times and Bad
Arguably the most decorated Indian singer of all time was also a witness to, and sometimes a participant in, the country's murky history.
Could Carrom Make it to the Olympics?
The beloved board game in India has long faced challenges in becoming an international sporting sensation. Some players and associations are trying to change that.
Shoba Narayan and Michael Maliakel Hope Aladdin’s Historic Run Doesn’t “End with Us”
We chatted with the leads about why the Broadway musical has Disney’s highest bar sales, how they influenced the choreography, and where the franchise should go next.
Hereditary Nazar and Why Pakistan Can’t Kill Me
My homeland and I have a twisted but endearing love affair.
How India Made Ice Cream a Dessert of its Own
Once the mainstay of the colonial elite, ice cream — thanks to American GIs and Indian entrepreneurs — soon became the ubiquitous and flavorful treat that it is today.
The Doyen of Kathak, Pandit Birju Maharaj
The choreographer and teacher left a mark on everything from Bollywood to classical dancing, but his legacy also faces controversy after his death.
How Falu Created Two Grammy-Nominated Children’s Albums
Answers to her son’s questions about immigrant life led to ‘Falu’s Bazaar’ and ‘A Colorful World,’ which pay homage to the singer’s Indian and American roots.
Opinion: R.K. Narayan’s Idyllic Malgudi Might Not Be Enough
The famed short story writer created a utopia that rarely mentions caste or politics. It is the place where we may want to escape, but not where we can live.
Artist, Feminist, Detective: How Shahzia Sikander Disrupts Art History
The Pakistani American artist and manuscript painting historian asks us: who gets to determine what is “tradition”?
The Urban Resurgence of Offal
Once a staple of Parsi home kitchens, animal organ dishes are showing up on urban restaurant menus — from those of Dhamaka to Bombay Canteen.
How Ghee Took Over U.S. Grocery Shelves
The recent global rise of the clarified butter — as common as salt in many South Asian and Middle Eastern kitchens — is striking for an ingredient steeped in centuries of culinary history.
The Mystique of Jai Paul
Ten years after the release of “BTSTU,” the enigmatic genre-bending British Indian artist from north London finds himself a pop star without the desire for it.
The Business of Brown Beauty
Indian-inspired and South Asian-targeted beauty and skincare brands could be the next big trend. But to go the Korean beauty route, these products still have a long road ahead.
Amrit Kaur of ‘Sex Lives’ Has Arrived, and She’s Not “Playing Around”
“I don't take it for granted that I'm lucky. But I have also worked a s*** ton.”
How India Fell In — and Out — of Love with Beauty Pageants
A 1992 Miss Universe loss would lead to over a decade of Indian domination at global beauty contests.
The Diluted Revolutionary: Bhagat Singh in Hindi Cinema
Shoojit Sircar’s “Sardar Udham” is the latest in a long line of Bollywood portrayals of the Indian freedom fighter, but the first to delve into his humanity and nuanced politics.
“The Cheetah Girls: One World,” 13 Years Later
The movie is a classic problematic fave: it used India as a mere exotic backdrop, but still gave us some of our first Indian crushes in U.S. television.
Bilal Baig's ‘Sort Of’ is a Love Letter to Brown, Queer, and Trans People
The queer, transfeminine playwright and performer is challenging the status quo with their latest CBC and HBO Max series — and not without a little bit of fear.
‘The Sex Lives of College Girls’ is Horny, Hilarious, and Heartwarming
A solid cast and smart writing drives HBO Max’s sharp-witted comedy, the latest project from Mindy Kaling.
Fabindia: How an American-Founded Brand Defined the Handcrafted Indian Aesthetic
John Bissell’s cult lifestyle brand has supported rural artisans for over 60 years. But will the company’s looming IPO put this very mission at risk?
How India Invented Zero
Ancient India’s preoccupation with the concept of nothingness — shunyata — would change mathematics, trade, and technology as we know it.
The Trendsetting Legacy of India’s VJs
Their 1990s shows on music channels like MTV and Channel V were neither Doordarshan nor Bollywood, giving rise to indipop and lending “cool” to Indian youth culture.
Why We Rarely See Bengali Restaurants Outside Bengal
Is London’s Chourangi a sign that global appetites are changing, or will Bengali food take longer to make its well overdue mark?
Danish Baig, 27, Among Ten Dead at Astroworld
The Pakistani American from Euless, Texas died while saving his fiancée, who had to be hospitalized. The two were among dozens injured or killed at the event.
‘Eternals’ Review: Come for the Action, Stay for the Humor
Kumail Nanjiani's Kingo is easily one of the highlights of the latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
How Diwali Marketing Went Mainstream in the U.S.
More brands than ever before — ranging from Target, Lego, Instacart, and Lexus to local fireworks companies — are promoting their products to Indian Americans with targeted Diwali ads.
The Rise of Sexy South Asians on Screen
Brown actors like Simone Ashley in "Sex Education," Raymond Ablack in "Maid," and Punam Patel in "Special" are finally getting the sexy storylines they deserve.
Why the Role of Ali Abdul in “Squid Game” Matters
Anupam Tripathi’s character in the massively popular Netflix series may foreshadow an exciting future for global talent in K-dramas.
A Border Apart: Stories of Families Divided by Partition
The effects of Partition in 1947 still linger today. Families separated by the borders between India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh tell their stories of love, heartbreak, and finding connection.
Why There Are 25 Clock Emojis but No Dosas or Samosas
A decade since the launch of the first set of 722 standardized emojis, people are still petitioning for better representation of the very cultural objects that they hold dear.
India’s Burning Hot Love for the Sizzler
The scorch-your-tongue dish grew popular in the 1960s, but few know how it came to India. Some say California, others Japan, but the real story is not so straightforward.
How Himalayan Salt Sold a Rosy Dream
This pretty pink rock has been touted as a cure for COVID and a healthy staple of wellness culture. But behind that salt lamp glow hides many falsehoods — it’s not even from the Himalayas.
How Mughals Turned Into Hindi Cinema’s Newest Villains
From “Mughal-e-Azam” to “Jodhaa Akbar,” Bollywood has long been fascinated with the stories and extravagance of the Mughal empire. But in recent years, films have reduced the Muslim rulers to caricatured villains.
The (South Asian) History of Curry Powder
Today, as much as we accuse those who use the word “curry” of painting subcontinental food with a broad brush, the history of curry powder is inherently South Asian.
Excerpt: "We're Speaking: The Life Lessons of Kamala Harris"
The forthcoming book chronicles the U.S. vice president’s ascent, with lessons about work, family, and overcoming adversity.
How Hollywood Found Hinduism
Celebrities like Julia Roberts, Madonna, and Miley Cyrus have been criticized for co-opting Hindu traditions. But it was often Indian gurus who sold them a new form of spirituality.
How “Big Brother”’s Hannah Chaddha Helped Make Show History
This season of "Big Brother" was the show's most racially diverse. But for the show to crown its first Black winner, contestants of color had to form a secret alliance.
East Indian Sugar: The Sweeter of Two Evils
The search for sugar that wasn’t produced by slave labor led the British to another faraway colony: India. But was Indian sugar ever free?
“Enjoy Enjaami”: How a Tamil Song Led to a Public Outcry About Caste
A magazine cover by Rolling Stone India and a Times Square billboard sparked public outrage over Dalit erasure.
How Food Has Sparked Protests Throughout History
Indian farmers today, who are fighting against new corporate-friendly farm bills, follow a long line of revolutionaries who used food as a means of protest.
Where are the Women in India's Labor Force?
Female workforce participation in the country has been declining since the 1990s, and fell to a record low of 15.5% last year. So, as the Indian economy has grown, why has it shut out its women?
Why Kamal Haasan's “Hey Ram” Tries — and Fails — to Rewrite History
In the daring historical drama, the actor and filmmaker poses the question, “What if a man could be dissuaded from assassinating Gandhi?”
How Ice Heated Up Trade Between India and America
This quirky blip in the history of global trade — when merchants would ship ice from Boston to Bombay — teaches us what happens when globalization and unfettered demand mix.
In Poet Natasha Rao’s "Latitude," Nature is Sublime
The debut collection — winner of the First Book Prize — is a meditation of the natural world, full of “Krishna-skin skies” and “snow that melts to milk.”
Opinion: Why I Hate Seeing Diversity on Dating Shows
Reality dating shows still feature a largely white cast who sideline contestants of color — emphasizing the racism we face while dating.
South Asians in Therapy: Challenging Norms and Taboos
As therapy becomes more mainstream and accessible, a new generation is reclaiming their mental health.
Prateek Kuhad Isn’t Obsessed With Being “Different”
We spoke to the singer-songwriter, whose fans include Barack Obama, about what hasn’t changed with fame.
How 'Made in India' Made us Thirsty Forever
We talked to Milind Soman and Ken Ghosh about how their now-iconic music video ushered in a sexual awakening for an entire generation in mid-1990s India.
The Cultural Appropriation of Dalit Music
For Dalit artists, music and performance have been tools of cultural resistance. But mainstream Indian media has glamorized and sanitized this history.
How a New Generation in India is Reclaiming Gin
Once a remnant of colonial times and consumed primarily by an older generation, gin is now enjoying a revival as cool, young, and uniquely Indian.
The Rise of Anti-Pakistan Bollywood
Patriotic movies used to evoke national unity. Today, films such as “BellBottom,” “Bhuj,” and “Shershaah” focus on settling scores with Pakistan.
The Rise and Fall (and Rebirth) of the U.K.'s Daytime Dance Parties
In the 1980s and 1990s, South Asians created a community around daytime raves in the U.K. Now, a new generation is trying to reignite that same magic.
In “Mogul Mowgli,” the Beat Breaks Down
In director Bassam Tariq’s first narrative film, Riz Ahmed’s Zed struggles with his immigrant identity and rap career while an autoimmune disease attacks his body.
The Sri Lankan Hopper is Going Global
The quintessential island snack is making its way around the world, appearing on menus from the U.K. to Australia and beyond.
The Evolution of Eyebrow Threading Salons
For years, threading salons served as an economic lifeline for immigrant women. Today, a new wave of first- and second-generation women are still looking to make it in the industry, on their terms.
“A Pained Spectator of the War”: Anuk Arudpragasam on “A Passage North”
The Sri Lankan Tamil novelist talks to us about his Booker Prize-longlisted novel, his aversion to writing dialogue, and what’s next.
Why India isn't Known For its Alcohol
France has champagne, Japan has sake, Scotland has whiskey. So, why isn't India famous for an alcohol of its own?
Art Deco: Mumbai's Architectural Tie to Miami
Despite nearly 9,000 miles separating the two cities, they are home to the largest concentration of Art Deco buildings in the world.
How Mani Ratnam’s Terrorism Trilogy Stoked 1990s Nationalism
Though critically acclaimed, the director’s “Roja,” “Bombay,” and “Dil Se...” pushed jingoistic narratives that persist in Bollywood today.
How the Brown Mom Became a Diaspora Comedy Favorite
As South Asian entertainers — from Lilly Singh to Poorna Jagannathan and Pinky Patel — pay homage to Brown moms, can they overhaul cultural stereotypes without reinforcing them?
Opinion: The Audacity of Culinary Caucacity
Gene Weingarten’s Washington Post article isn’t the first time mainstream media has tried to pass off racist commentary as satire, humor, or harmless.
How Nighties Became a Wardrobe Staple for South Asian Women
In a culture where women’s bodies are so heavily policed, the shapeless nighttime garment has become a daywear favorite and a symbol of freedom.
Thuggee: “The Cunningest Robbers in the World”
In the 1800s, the British claimed to have vanquished a secret cult of Kali-worshipping murderers in India. But did they ever exist?
Opinion: As Afghanistan Falls, What Happens to its Artists?
A musician remembers an Afghanistan brimming with creativity and energy. Now, he fears what might be extinguished.
Memories of Partition, from Our Readers
We asked The Juggernaut readers to share their family’s memories of Partition. These are their stories, in their words.
Controversial Sabyasachi H&M Collection Sells Out — What Gives?
The luxury Indian designer garnered criticism for partnering with the Swedish fast fashion label. His ready-to-wear collection sold out anyway.
Our Stories on Afghanistan
As we work to center Afghan voices and commission pieces with their words, revisit our stories from our archives.
How “Harold & Kumar” Sold a Way Chiller American Dream
The stoner buddy comedy starring John Cho and Kal Penn changed the way Hollywood looked at “model minorities.”
Disney Channel’s “Spin” Makes Culture Clash a Thing of the Past
The network’s first TV movie to feature an Indian American lead says that it’s OK to be unapologetically cool.
India’s Siddis and the Olympic Dream
India has won only 33 Olympic medals since 1900 — none in track and field. Now, new local sports programs are working with Siddi athletes to produce Olympic glory.
The Enduring Love of Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu
The Bollywood superstars remained devoted to each other over five decades despite personal tragedy, jealousy, and a secret second marriage.
In "The Green Knight," a Star is Reborn
The sweeping Arthurian epic sees Dev Patel going on his own coming-of-age quest to become a new kind of leading man.
The Ordinary Charm of the Extraordinary Hrishikesh Mukherjee
The pioneer of playful films that spotlighted India’s emerging middle-class passed away before he could see a resurgence of the very genre he had mastered.
How the Amul Girl Became India’s Conscience
The iconic butter brand’s take defined how Indians consumed news. But with less room for political dissent, the Amul girl has been holding her tongue.
How Bollywood Failed Kashmir
Hindi cinema has long viewed Kashmir through a glossy lens, erasing its people, their agency, and their political histories.
Why Sri Lanka Loves Russian Literature
The Soviet Union translated Russian books in local languages as a propaganda tool. Decades later, those books still hold influence in Sri Lanka.
Why “Delhi Belly” Remains Bollywood’s Best Slacker Comedy
Ten years ago, Bollywood made a runaway hit about that period in your 20s when life goes to shit. No film has since come close to replicating it.
“Welcome to India”: The Internet’s Earliest Diaspora Inside Joke
The 2002 parody song by Ludakrishna and MC Vikram spoke to many of the anxieties of the Indian diaspora and created a mutual shorthand for millions.
The Powerful Lens of Danish Siddiqui
The Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, who died amid Taliban crossfire, vividly humanized his subjects — a gaze that didn’t look down on people, but right at them.
How Assamese Pithas are Going Mainstream
A new crop of entrepreneurs are serving up these traditional rice flour-based delicacies at scale — and, in turn, bringing them from the kitchen to homes outside Assam.
The Case of Serial Killer Javed Iqbal
In 1999, a Pakistani man confessed to killing 100 children. But it would take over 20 years and hundreds more deaths for Pakistan to pass its first child abuse law.
Opinion: Kumail Nanjiani and the Hollywood Gaze
Nanjiani is the latest to go through a physical transformation that seems like a requirement for Brown men in Hollywood to get mainstream roles.
Never Have I Ever Season 2 Lets Itself Down
The show’s second season struggles to shine as bright as its first. The writing does a disservice to the actors’ hard work.
The Rise of South Asian Rental Startups
Several startups are competing to be the Rent the Runway of South Asian fashion. But does the market exist for them?
“An Icon, A Star, A Diva”: How Priyanka Made Drag History
We talked to the reigning queen of “Canada's Drag Race” about her drag, coming out to her dad via the show, sharing gowns with Priyanka Chopra, chicken nuggets, and changing the world.
How India Loved, Lost, and Returned to Coca-Cola
In India, a bottle of Coca-Cola is synonymous with celebration. But the country's love affair with the soda wasn't always smooth sailing — Coke was banned in India for nearly 20 years.
Tamarind: India’s Quintessential Candy Flavor
Although tamarind has always been a large part of savory South Asian cooking, its sourness also has a sweet side.
Why India Loves ‘Friends’
How a 1994 show set in New York became — and remains — a beloved comfort watch on the other side of the world.
How a Portuguese Technique Led to a Bengali Sondesh Explosion
Nearly 500 years ago, the Portuguese popularized milk curdling in Bengal. Bengalis would add sweetness and create a rich delicacy.
‘Lagaan’: The Blockbuster That Almost Didn’t Happen
This year marks 20 years since Ashutosh Gowariker and Aamir Khan’s iconic film took the world by storm, and changed Bollywood forever.
“Fire”: An Inextinguishable Part of Queer Brown Cinema
The 1996 film was the first in India to portray two women in love. Some called it revolutionary. Others called it a war against Indian culture.
Edwina and Nehru: Love in the Shadow of Empire
The last vicereine of the British Raj and the first prime minister of India shared a profound connection that still captures imaginations today.
The Love, Life, and Legacy of Filmmakers Ismail Merchant and James Ivory
With “Maurice,” the duo changed how films depicted gay romance. Their production company would go on to win six Oscars, but their own love story remained a secret for 45 years.
Opinion: Your Nostalgia Doesn’t Cancel Out Enid Blyton’s Racism
The late author’s books contain incredibly anti-Black content and imagery. Why, then, do Indians give Blyton a pass?
The Second Globalization of Turmeric
For centuries, turmeric has categorically been the South Asian spice. But, in recent years, it has exploded throughout the West, from face masks to lattes and beyond.
Neena Gupta’s Time in the Sun
For decades, Bollywood relegated Neena Gupta’s talent to only supporting roles. Now, at 62, she’s finally getting her shot at stardom.
Ma Anand Sheela: Mother of all Problematic Faves
You did not — and do not — want to mess with her. But part of you is oddly obsessed with her.
How America’s Patel Brothers Won the Indian Grocery Game
For many new immigrants, the store was a saving grace in a world full of Wonder Bread and Ruffles. But for their children, is the supermarket still a necessity or simply nostalgic?
Why India Still Loves Its Multi-Cuisine Restaurants
The Indian “multi-cuisine” — which emerged over 50 years ago — is what happens when your dad wants masala dosa, your grandparents want Hyderabadi biryani, and your sibling wants fettuccine Alfredo.
Captured in Cape Town: The Murder of Anni Dewani
Her husband was a key suspect. But the investigation’s focus on his bisexuality may have hindered justice.
Vir Das Blazed the Trail for Indian Stand-up Comedy — Now, He’s Going Global
The comedian — who stars in Judd Apatow's "The Bubble," out later this year — forged an industry for Indian comics.
How Princess Diana’s 1995 Interview Could Royally Damage the BBC
Twenty-six years after journalist Martin Bashir’s controversial interview with Lady Di, both the Crown and the BBC are once again under scrutiny.
Know Your Muses: The Queer Camp of Sridevi
The Brown queer community found camaraderie in Sridevi’s fun-loving but rebellious characters.
“Femininity with a Bite”: Why Prabal Gurung Gets Political
The Nepali American fashion designer sat down to chat about dressing everyone from Kamala Harris to Deepika Padukone, why strong women inspire him, and the enduring fashion of 'Rangeela.'
Horror in Hounslow: The Chohan Family Case
In 2003, a family of five vanished from their London home; what followed was a shoddy police investigation.
How BAPS Built a Global Brand of Hinduism — and Brought Its Practices Stateside
The group, over a 100 years old, has recently come under scrutiny for casteist labor practices in New Jersey, but has long been known for temple building around the world.
The Devolution of Journalism in Hindi Film
Bollywood’s ethical journalists are increasingly disappearing from the screen.
“One Day There Will Be Hundreds of Us”: How Dalit Literature Breaks Barriers
A new wave of Dalit writers and publishers are shaping the literary landscape of India and beyond.
The New Wave of Kabul Entrepreneurs
From steakhouses to bowling alleys, founders are building ambitious, homegrown businesses — by Afghans, for Afghans.
Screen Time with Aneesh Chaganty
The director of “Searching” and “Run” talks about diversity in Hollywood, producing “Searching 2,” and his love for Christopher Nolan and Hrithik Roshan.
How Matchboxes Became a Stand-in for Indian Visual Culture
The aesthetics of Indian matchbox covers have seen a resurgence as contemporary artists celebrate the work of designers who still remain largely unknown.
Americans Shouldn’t Need Yoga or Chai to Care about India Right Now
What’s the most effective way to convince people to give when a country is in crisis?
The Visual Language of Satyajit Ray
On his 100th birth anniversary, a look back on how the filmmaker redefined Indian graphic design long before he changed how the world looked at cinema.
Reenvisioning How U.S. Textbooks Tell South Asian Stories
A new ethnic studies curriculum for California’s public schools was poised to become a national blueprint; instead, it is now a mere recommendation.
“Be Careful”: WhatsApp Forwards Spread Fear and Misinformation
Messages intended to increase awareness of potential COVID transmission among South Asian Americans, but the impact has been more alarming.
“Your Silence Will Be Remembered”
Why Indian celebrities are mum about the politics of India’s COVID-19 crisis.
Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
This May, a roundup of 15 stories from our archives that celebrate Asian American life, love, culture, and history.
The Rooh Afza Renaissance
The ubiquitous, cooling drink known for its permanent spot on the iftar spread is also indelibly linked with the history of Partition.
Zohra Segal: Begum Ballerina
A dancer, actor, and revolution all packed into one, Segal embodied carefree womanhood on and off screen.
"Swades" and the NRI Burden
The 2004 Shah Rukh Khan-starrer doesn’t show a glamorous diaspora, but rather, the political responsibility of returning home.
The Shifting Tides of India’s Seafood Traditions
Though plentiful and sustainable, shellfish such as clams, mussels, oysters, and snails barely make an appearance in popular accounts of Indian seafood.
How Filmmaker Neeraj Ghaywan Weaves Nuance into Marginalized Identities
Whether it’s caste, gender, class, or sexual orientation, the director behind "Masaan" and "Geeli Pucchi" dissects every theme with refreshing sensitivity.
How Trader Joe’s Became Known for Its Indian Food
The American grocery chain inadvertently built a line of products — from lamb vindaloo to spicy chakri mix — that appeal to South Asians and non-South Asians alike.
Valarie Kaur: “Grieve with Us, Stand with Us, Reach Out to Us”
The civil rights lawyer, filmmaker, and Sikh American activist speaks out about the recent Indianapolis shooting, which killed four Sikh Americans.
Beyond Indianapolis: The Enduring Trauma of Anti-Sikh Violence in America
“I have been spat at and asked to go back, just because of our clothing, just because of our skin color, just because of our articles of faith.”
How the Mrs. Sri Lanka Incident Stirred the Pageant Pot
The uncrowning and recrowning of Pushpika De Silva is causing many to question why one’s marital status — and beauty pageants — matter in the first place.
Why You Can’t Help But Love Strings
What set the Pakistani pop rock group — which disbanded after 33 years — apart was a fortuitous blend of timing and talent.
The Weight of Parsi Toddy
How an ancient tradition cemented itself in Parsi kitchens, and why it is now fading away.
How India Made Chess and its Champions
The country that invented the ancient game is now producing some of the world’s biggest chess champions.
Why Memories of Burma Live On in Chennai
Wealth faded, political rifts widened, but the Indian-Burmese connection lives on.
How a Nepali Drama Deconstructs Male Ego
Filmmaker Khyentse Norbu’s latest, “Looking for a Lady with Fangs and a Moustache,” captures a man’s journey through the chaotic rift between the spiritual and the modern.
How Posto Became Bengal’s Comfort Food
The rise of poppy in Bengali cuisine went hand in hand with the British love for tea.
Charles Sobhraj: The Serpent Who Charmed India
The BBC-Netflix co-production shows the serial killer for what he is: a cold-blooded escape artist and convicted international criminal.
A Year into Lockdown, South Asian New Yorkers Share their Stories
Six South Asians — the Asian subgroup with the highest number of positive cases and hospitalizations — lay bare their pandemic experiences.
How Sanjena Sathian of “Gold Diggers” Creates Magic
The writer reveals how her debut novel uses the unreal and ineffable to answer questions about identity, ambition, and our place in history.
Jhumpa Lahiri and the Rite of Diasporic Fiction
In her latest novel, "Whereabouts," Lahiri writes her first fiction in Italian — about themes beyond the Indian immigrant experience.
The Accidental Feminist Side-Effects of 2000s Hindi Remixes
The naughty genre served as an unintentional glimpse into a world where young women could just have fun.
How a 1990 Satyajit Ray Film Predicted the Future
Amid the coronavirus pandemic and increasing politicization of society, "Ganashatru" is loudly prescient.
Haseena Moin’s Wonderful World of Women
The screenwriter elevated the ordinary to capture the dream of millions of Pakistani women: freedom to be themselves.
Opinion: It’s Too Easy to Criticize Rupi Kaur
Twitterati recently ridiculed a viral video of everyone’s favorite Instagram poet, but her politics deserve a chance.
Community Cookbooks, A Window Into a Bygone Era
A generation of Marathi cookbooks highlight unusual ingredients, old cooking techniques, and absurdly high expectations of women.
Why Bollywood Loved — and Lost — Fawad Khan
This year marks almost five years since fans have seen the iconic Pakistani actor in Hindi cinema.
Noor Jehan: The Light of the Closet
How the singer born in pre-Independence Punjab became a contemporary icon for sex workers, dissenters, and queer people.
Opinion: How the BJP Took Away My Childhood Idols
What do you do when celebrities who once inspired you trade grace and morality for relevance?
Why Everyone’s Talking About the Oxford Student Union Case
Rashmi Samant made history as the first Indian woman to be elected student body president, when controversial social media posts emerged.
A History of Bhang, India’s Most Accessible Cannabis
From Holi celebrations to paan shops, bhang has been consumed for thousands of years in India.
What Recipes Leave Off the Page
Recipes, family legacies, and lore are passed down in the kitchen, not the written word.
Helen, the Glittering Mehbooba of Bollywood
Draped in lace, rhinestones, and fur, Helen claimed and rebranded the archetype of a vamp.
People Have a Lot to Say About the Meghan-Harry Interview
From racism to female-upheld misogyny, Oprah’s interview brought up familiar themes for Brown viewers everywhere.
How Pakistani Mangoes Became Maoist Propaganda
The regifting of a fruit sparked a political frenzy in a country where they were little-known.
Why Bollywood Queens Start in the South
For decades, Hindi cinema has been sourcing its leading ladies from the Southern film industries of India.
Nearly 50 Years After their Expulsion, Asian Ugandans Still Remember Home
Younger generations are grappling with not only the trauma of leaving their homes, but also their community’s colonial complicity.
“Bhaji on the Beach” and the Magic of Communal Unlearning
Against the symbolic backdrop of the beach, Gurinder Chadha and Meera Syal’s film captures what a single fleeting day of freedom can do for Brown women.
How Soya Nuggets Became a Household Ingredient in India
A strange twist of history made this plant-based protein a feature of Indian cuisine.
Why Brown Moms Love Princess Diana
The South Asian women who came of age in the 1980s viewed Lady Di as both a contemporary and a cautionary tale.
Black Women, Indian Hair
For decades, Indian temples have been selling hair to Black women around the world as part of the $58 million human hair export industry.
In “Namaste Wahala,” the Villains Drive the Story
The rare depiction of Black and Brown love left us craving more romance.
Excerpt: "The Three Mothers"
In honor of Black History Month, an excerpt from a book celebrating the untold stories of the mothers who raised and influenced Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin.
Rekha, Amitabh, Jaya: A Silsila of Deprivation
Decades later, Bollywood’s most infamous love triangle seems even more tragic than we first thought.
Sri Lanka’s Little-Known Memoni Cuisine
For years, Memoni food remained absent from mainstream Sri Lankan cuisine, but women from the community are changing that.
Nisha Ganatra and the Whole Picture
The director behind 'Late Night' and 'Chutney Popcorn' forges masterpieces by centering the full lives of her diverse characters, not just their identities.
Why Nigeria Loves Bollywood
With its emphasis on family values and forbidden love, Bollywood has long been popular in Nigeria, influencing the country’s prolific movie industry.
How K-Dramas Crash Landed on South Asian TV Screens
The genre’s swoon-worthy romance, side-splitting comedy, treacherous villainy, and thrilling fight sequences are some of the many reasons Brown viewers are helping fuel the Korean drama craze.
Why Tillotama Shome Views Her Career as “Slow Cooking,” Not “Instant Noodles”
From playing the quiet Alice in “Monsoon Wedding” to the vibrant Ratna in “Sir,” the veteran actor has come into her own.
The Horny Sophistication of “Choli Ke Peeche”
Let’s take a walk down mammary lane and dissect the scandal and power that surrounded one of Bollywood’s most tastefully titillating songs to date.
Jinnfluencers: Inside the World of Internet Exorcisms
The internet is making faith healers more popular than ever. Is this deterring people from seeking professional mental health treatment?
The Lost History of Bengali Harlem
The stories of working-class South Asians in New York City point to a history beyond the narrative of assimilation.
Baul Dada Sings of the American Dream
The singing street food vendor brought jhalmuri to New York City, then got caught in immigration purgatory.
Black TikTok, Brown Culture
With perfect pronunciation and killer Bhangra moves, Black TikTokers are going viral taking on South Asian music.
The Biting Familiarity of 'The Great Indian Kitchen'
The Malayalam film from director Jeo Baby pulls stark cinematic beauty from the grim reality of one woman’s domestic life.
Reincarnating the East India Company
Indian businessmen are buying back colonial-era British brands. But can these acquisitions rewrite history?
How Riz Ahmed Stretches Culture
Fifteen years in, the multi-hyphenate actor and musician consistently produces the deep cuts when it comes to Brown culture and history — and, now, he’s creating for himself.
Pakistan’s Trans TikTok Stars
Trans women are trading the sidelines for the spotlight, with TikTok giving them a space to showcase their humor, talent, and joy.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s Pilgrimage to India
History still sees the legacies of the civil rights activist and independence leader Mahatma Gandhi as deeply intertwined.
Pursuing Happiness with Ravi Patel
We interviewed the comedic actor to find out how entertainment became a Patel family affair.
The Fabulous and Boring Lives of Bollywood Wives
The reality show offers neither a salacious escape nor an anthropological window into people we care about.
Kamala Harris Vogue Cover Sparks Controversy
Vogue’s decision to portray Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as “approachable,” rather than powerful, draws criticism and demands for more diversity.
Hrishikesh Hirway, a Masterclass in the Interview
We interviewed the interviewer, asking the brains behind “Song Exploder,” “Home Cooking,” and “The West Wing Weekly” what makes him so good.
How Chili Peppers Spiced Up the South Asian Palate
Whether fresh, dried, tempered, roasted, fried, powdered, stuffed, or pickled, the not-so-native fruit has become deeply enmeshed in regional cuisines.
The Sexpert Uncle of India
Dr. Mahinder Watsa — who died on December 30, 2020 — became famous for answering his country's most taboo questions, from female pleasure to bestiality.
Music and Moonlight
In a culture where romance too often must be conducted in secrecy, the moon has come to symbolize the sole companion to love.
Kabul’s Lost Cinemas
The importance of preserving a movie theater, once a hub of Bollywood showings, goes far beyond just saving a building.
The Incredible Roar of 'The White Tiger'
Netflix's powerful and unflinching film lives up to its title — and Aravind Adiga's award-winning book.
How Lijjat Became a Global Papad Brand
The story of a women-owned cooperative that turned 80 rupees into a business worth millions of dollars.
The Best Books We Read in 2020
The Juggernaut team brings you our favorite reads of the year.
How Pandemic Pets are Helping Brown Families Cope
As pet ownership rates go up amid lockdowns, fuzzy friends are turning frowns upside down in even the most reluctant of Brown households.
The Best South Asian Films of 2020
In a year without theaters, films from the subcontinent and its diaspora still thrived.
A Year After CAA, India Doubles Down on Dissent
December 12, 2020, marked the one-year anniversary of the enactment of CAA. A global pandemic hasn’t stopped India from going after its own citizens.
Ten of our Favorite Drinks for the Holidays
Sweet and milky, warm and spicy, or berry-licious and boozy — we have all your holiday drink needs covered.
The Next Wave of Brown Voters
The 2020 presidential elections give us new insights into the politics of Brown Gen Z voters.
All Punch, No Pay: The Story of Pakistan's Female Boxers
Once lauded internationally, Pakistan’s best female boxers are fighting to make ends meet.
Sex, War, and Saadat Hasan Manto
A writer who sought both justice and pleasure, Manto told the truth but didn’t preach it.
Our Favorite Skincare Products in 2020
We asked our team for the best skincare products they used this year — here’s what they said.
Finally: Hamza Haq, a Brown Doctor in a Lead Role
The Pakistani Canadian actor tells us what it’s like to star in medical drama "Transplant," NBC’s sleeper hit.
India’s ‘Love Jihad Law' Explained
A new law promises to protect women being tricked into conversion. We explain what this law does, and why it’s being passed now.
Gulzar and the Anatomy of Heartbreak
The lyricist elevates themes of loss, grief, and isolation by metaphorizing the familiar and mundane, plucking at heartstrings in an extraordinary way.