Dutt had reviewed Wilkerson’s nonfiction book for an issue of Foreign Policy magazine in 2020, in which she had expressed cautious appreciation for it because even though it brilliantly frames racial hierarchies in the United States, it largely ignores the horrors of India’s caste structure.
Stating that DuVernay brings grace, deft and nuance to her work, Dutt hopes the director will give more footage to India’s caste problem in her film than the book did. She also expressed the desire that the director’s team should reach out to Dalits for a historically and sociologically sound portrayal of the topic.
Takshak, who is a member of Ambedkar International Center, a United States-based anti-caste organisation, expressed similar hope. The organisation had received a mail from Anissa Garcia, casting associate with Aisha Coley Casting, the agency that is handling casting for the film, regarding casting the actors for Ambedkar’s role.
The mail said, “We are working on an upcoming independent film based on a book, and we are seeking to cast someone to play the esteemed Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar. We were hoping to have a conversation with you about the role, how to authentically cast it, and perhaps how to explore the Indian community more deeply.”
Casting director Aisha Coley, who is handling casting for the film, has been a long-term partner of DuVernay, working on almost all her projects. DuVernay is known for working with predominantly Black crew, with equal representation of women, and her actors too are predominantly Black.
Takshak stated that DuVernay’s film will set the record straight that Dr Ambedkar is the true leader of Untouchables and needs to be seen as a parallel to Black revolutionaries, and not Mahatma Gandhi.
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