Hari Kondabalu’s Apu Documentary Highlights Racial Stereotyping

Hari Kondabolu ’04. Photo by Karsten Moran ’05.

A documentary film by comedian Hari Kondabul ’04 explores how one of the world’s most popular television shows has helped stereotype south Asian people. The Problem With Apu premieres on truTV on November 19, 2017, and it examines Kondablu’s relationship with Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the store-owning Indian-American character on The Simpsons.

Kondabalu told The Guardian he IS a big fan of the show—”“There are a billion reasons to love The Simpsons and Apu was one of them.” But, by the time he was in high school, he said Apu, with his over-the-top accent, had become “a tool for kids to go after [him],” causing Kondabalu to be mocked because of his ethnicity.

Talking to NBC News, Kondabalu said while he doesn’t find Apu’s character offensive, he does find him insulting. “It’s insulting to my parents,” adding, “when that’s the only depiction you have, that’s how the world sees you.”

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