Peter Dinklage vs Disney Snow White row: Should the classics be politicised?

Let not the clamour for political correctness dwarf the sanctity of the classics.

Subhash K Jha January 27, 2022 16:28:34 IST
Peter Dinklage vs Disney Snow White row: Should the classics be politicised?

Peter Dinklage, winner of the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series award for 'Game of Thrones,' poses in the press room during the 71st Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

'Tum hi mere mandir tum hi mere pooja tum hi devta ho…This is one of the most beloved melodies from Lata Mangeshkar, hummed and sung by millions of Indians for 6 decades now.

The timeless composition by Ravi Sharma from the 1960s’ film Khandaan won the lyricist Rajinder Krishan a Filmfare award for best lyricist. If this song were to be evaluated in a contemporary context it would be considered monstrously improper for in the film the leading lady Nutan sings the song to her husband Sunil Dutt.

But wouldn’t it be preposterous to judge this song or any work of art, out of its socio-cultural, political context?

Peter Dinklage, so wonderful in Cyrano recently, suffers from a form of dwarfism, achondroplasia.

But now Dinklage thinks making a movie version of Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs is “backward.”

In Dinklage’s opinion, “You're progressive in one way, but then you're still making that backward story about seven dwarfs living in a cave together, what are you doing, man? Have I done nothing to advance the cause from my soapbox?... I guess I'm not loud enough. I don't know which studio that is, but they were so proud of it. All love and respect to the actress and all the people who thought they were doing the right thing. But I'm just like, what are you doing?”

It is evident from the above harangue that Dinklage wants to be the voice of the vertically challenged community, and more power to him. However, I am not very sure of what he finds objectionable in the proposed new Disney version of Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs. Is it the casting? Because Dinklage also harangues against Rachel Zegler (the stunner from Steven Spielberg’s Westside Story) being cast in the title role.

Does Dinklage object to the word ‘dwarf’ or to a classic story on vertically challenged people being perpetuated? If the latter, then I am afraid it’s a grim future for the Brothers Grimm. Think of how the activists would rip into Cinderella where the titular heroine is openly abused by her stepmother and stepsisters and where an economically empowered royal prince rescues Cinderella from drudgery. How patronizing is that! Why does Cinderella need a man to be redeemed? And what’s with those glass shoes? Isn’t that a symbol of all the fragility that has shackled womankind to dainty activities since time immemorial?

Meanwhile, Disney has asked the “dwarfism community” to look into the matter. My best wishes to them. Let not the clamour for political correctness dwarf the sanctity of the classics.

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