Asians have always aspired to get into mainstream media, particularly in TV, Radio and film. There was once a time when as a British Asian we thrived to see fellow Asians on TV and in films; we would feel so proud seeing a desi face on TV.

However there seems to be a real lack of roles for the South Asian actors and actresses who want to play a role outside of the stereotypical image. We all watch shows such as Citizen Khan and Goodness Gracious Me. Personally, I love those shows. However, they all portray Asians as the typical corner-shop roles, as seen in popular soap operas such as Coranation Street, Eastenders, etc.

We live in the twenty first century, however it would seem that there are still barriers for many Asians to get good and meaty roles in the mainstream. Often if you watch a Hollywood film you will see the Asian guys will play the ‘awkward friend’ or ‘sidekick’ role, which is pretty sad when an actor or actress works so hard and only makes it to a ‘sidelined’ role.

Even American TV seems to have progressed more than the UK. Shows such as The Mindy Project and Big Bang Theory show how Asians can actually make a great impact in successful mainstream shows, but sadly it does not appear to have crossed across the Atlantic Ocean yet.

More people are making British Asian films, which is wonderful and films such as Bend it Like Beckham, Bride and Prejudice and 4 lions do show an array of characters and people playing a vast number of roles. However, it is not the same for British films. Asian actors and actresses tend to play minor roles or ‘typically Asian’ parts which I believe is really sad, especially in this day and age.

Why is this the case?

Do you think there is an underlying issue of racism in the mainstream media?

Do you think we are happy with the way the mainstream portrays us?

These are just some of the questions we have been asking on Zee Companion today.