Swetha Regunathan

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Beyond What?

Beyond What?

Look around you, the exhibit seems to say, and you’ll find an Indian-American.

A display case of bejeweled slippers and loafers, signifiers of South Asian domestic propriety, sits at the entrance to the Smithsonian’s exhibit, “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation.” Despite the exhibit title, the gulping tabla and trill of Bollywood oldies insinuates itself into every corner of the entrance hall, as I browse photos that Indians have sent in—jocund families spread out on beige living room carpets, equally comfortable in jeans and salwar.